So, from the previous post, we discussed how if Leaders aren’t visibly supporting your project, you need Change Management. People take their ques from leaders to figure out what’s important and what’s not. But what else signals the need for Change Management activities?
Sign number 2 is when Employees don’t have a clue about what’s going to change. Good communication takes strategy and planning. It takes organization, consistency and a continuous improvement mindset. Sound easy? Most organizations don’t do it. They underestimate what it takes to communicate effectively. Although it takes effort, effective communication is worth it…and is a key element to successful organizational change.
The Change Manager drives a proactive, communication strategy aligned with the project and organization’s vision. This strategy considers messages and vehicles for large audiences as well as specific, targeted strategies for the different stakeholder communities. Often, different stakeholder groups have different needs for information. Vehicle effectiveness varies by audience as well. A change manager has the experience to understand how to communicate during change which is different from communicating during times of status quo.
Sign #3? When people talk about the project, you think, “Why are they saying THAT?” For change to be possible, people have to believe that the change is worth doing. The idea of change can be a hard sell if the people believe everything is great just as it is. Perception is reality.
In this situation, the employees’ perceptions must be changed before their actions will change. To create this change, the current situation must be reframed in a way that gets the employees’ attention. This reframing will get people unstuck, get them to pay attention and, most importantly, get them to care about new ideas. Reframing also helps employees recognize there is room for improvement and change is a top priority. To change their perceptions, employees need new information, new cues and new messages.
A Change Manager knows how to reframe the situation, help create a sense of urgency and develop a case for change that resonates with the audience.
If you are on a project, where, leaders aren’t visibly and consistently supporting the effort, if you are on a project where stakeholders don’t understand the change and/or don’t think there is a need for the change, you need to add a member to your team with Change Management skills.
We’ve all seen projects fail. Recognizing these red flags and adding change management activities to the project plan, will absolutely increase the chances of project success. Stay tuned for signals 4 and 5 coming soon…