Change FAQs Part 2: Leading change
Updated: Mar 14
Last week, we partnered with General Assembly to host the "Introduction to Change Management" webinar on Wednesday 24 June. Designed for people curious about Change Management and how to get into the profession, it was a lunch & learn, which meant we squeezed 2 hours of content into just 45 min! We had so many amazing questions, we couldn't get to them all on the session. So we're answering them in 3 parts on our blog. If you missed Part 1 on Getting into Change, Contracts and Pay, and Certifications, take a back track and then scoot on back to this one - Part 2.
1. Getting into Change (see Part 1)
2. Contracts & pay (see Part 1)
3. Certifications (see Part 1)
4. Leading change (this one!)
5. Change challenges & learnings (coming soon - see Part 3)
6. Impacts of COVID on Change (coming soon - see Part 3)
4. LEADING CHANGE
Q. How do you deal with fear of being rejected or meeting with obstacles/hurdles when you are trying to implement change?
Answered this one on the webinar, but I'm often scatterbrained on live Q&A so enjoy a more thoughtful response. Two things are happening here -
First, build engagement and trust with stakeholders. Create champions and advocates in leaders and influencers in the team or organisation, and those people will help clear the path for success, both technically and culturally. Remember - no one ever changed because they were asked to. They changed because they wanted to.
Second (which is ACTUALLY the first), your confidence. You have to believe in what you do and the value you bring, which is why I suggested to screenshot the slide with all the stats. You need to build your confidence to lead and believe in Change, and then... your energy will be infectious!
Q. I am not as outspoken as you are, Lata; quite introvert by comparison. Will that hinder my potential in working as a Change Management professional?
Answered this one on the webinar, but I'm often scatterbrained on live Q&A so enjoy a more thoughtful response (again!). I actually run a webinar on Understanding Personality Types for Influence. And in that, I explain that any personality type, introvert or extrovert, can be an amazing leader. It's all about surrounding yourself with partners and teams that help to bridge your personality gaps OR growing comfortable with stepping into other personality types, if and when it's essential. An example - you might want to partner up with a great extroverted facilitator to open and close a workshop, and run icebreakers. While you, yourself, run the more technical side of the change workshop. You still lead, you still present, but you leverage the energy of that other person, too.
Q. Is it fair to say the bulk of the work in Change Management is in projects and programmes? After the project/programme has defined the metrics, then maintaining the changes, tracking their success become BAU teams' responsibility?
Yes, the majority of Change Management work relates to projects and programmes, that hand over to the business and part of the handover should be the mechanisms for the business to keep tracking success long-term. How are they going to keep an eye on it? Employee pulse surveys? 6 monthly audits? Ongoing number of tech tickets raised? However, as the value of Change is felt and experienced by more and more teams and leaders, we are finding that sometimes business teams are hiring "Change Advisors", or something similarly-titled, which sits in the business teams and helps provide a Change lens to more operational or team-based pieces of work or initiatives (that are not full-blown projects or programmes).
Q. Where do you see the main difference between Project Management generally and Change Management specifically?
Q. How does the Change Manager work with the Project Manager? Project Managers don't always understand what change initiatives are.
Q. How would you distinguish between a Project Manager versus Change Manager, please?
There are so many synergies and in fact, I run webinars and speak at the conferences of the Australian Institute of Project Management (AIPM) because Project Management and Change Management go hand in hand. While both engage stakeholders and plan what needs to happen for success, Project Management has a bigger role to play on the technical side and Change Management on the people side. But they should be part of each other's conversations and help inform each other's strategy and delivery.
The Project Manager is ultimately accountable for delivering the whole project and thus owns the scope, budget, resourcing, timeline, delivery, and implementation, as well as the relationship with the Business Owner or Sponsor (who is ultimately responsible). Change, on the other hand - can help inform these things, if and when they are going to impact the people experience, the effectiveness of the change, the business readiness to launch, or the stickiness of the change into the future. Which is why you want to have great relationships with your Project Managers - there's needs to be that trust, respect and willingness to share information and open up the conversations, or the project can steam ahead and Change is left running behind, frantically trying to map the route for the passengers and those getting on at the next stop!
Personally, as a Change Manager, I've never had my own budget. I often borrow resources, such as a Comms or Training Specialist. I like to think of it - the Project Manager has authority, the Change Manager only ever has influence. This makes it both more difficult and also creates a beautiful space to play in. As Change - you are not the business, you are not the Project, you are there for the people. You are the unelected official of the populace and you help keep things true for them.
Q. What are the warranty sessions?
Also called "hypercare" (I'm sure there's other names too!), these are like daily or bi-daily short meetings at launch and in the 2-4 weeks post, that bring together key project stakeholders to resolve any urgent issues that could impact the business adopting the change. They can be led and facilitated by anyone. Sometimes, it is Change.
Q. When it comes to managing digital change, is there a difference between Digitisation, Digitalisation and Digital Transformation? Or do these terms all refer to the same thing?
This is a pretty weighty question and I think different people would have different answers! For me, and changes I've worked on, they would be sort of a scale thing:
Digitisation / Digitalisation - I see these as the same, and it's pretty much taking anything that is manual or paper-based or in the physical world and turning it into a digital process, product, or tool. Example - I have been providing paper-based agreements to clients for YEARS and I loathe getting paper-based forms myself, so I turned mine into a digital form. That's digitisation. It can relate to one single process change, or a bundle of them.
Digital Transformation - Much, much bigger, often completely changing (transforming) the way a whole team or even a whole business does something - it could be the whole tech infrastructure and architecture, or a customer strategy that will harness new tech, or complete operating model changes with the introduction of automation and AI of processes and operations. We're thinking technology change, structural change, process change, culture change - and it is often many projects rolled up to one Transformation project.
Q. What kind of projects do you usually work on?
Everything - I've done a new customer product and all the tech and processes that go with it, tech upgrades, new work management apps, enterprise agreements, operating model changes, workforce planning projects. So much variety - I love it. Most projects do have a tech component, nowadays.
Lata Hamilton is the Founder & CEO of Passion Pioneers, and as well as being a practising Change Manager, she's also an Executive Coach. If you missed Part 1 on "Getting into Change, Contracts and Pay, and Certifications", you can read it here. Then stay tuned for Part 3 next week on "Change challenges & learnings" and "Impacts of COVID on Change". Get in touch if you'd like any help with making your career change. And if you loved the webinar, pass the feedback on to General Assembly!