Change Management - why do we do what we do? by Ron Leeman

As Change Managers we have a tough job to do … as if you didn’t already know that!

Why?

Because we are always caught between a rock and a hard place … we work for the ‘C’ Suite and report into their nominated Steering Board who are the powers that are in control of the change (well they think they are) but we also work for the business, that is, those people who are going to be impacted by what we are doing.

One of the most unnerving things that we face when we start any change initiative is that we tend to immediately be put on a pedestal as the person who is going to solve all our problems and make the initiative successful. This tends to come from both sides of the house … the ‘C’ Suite and the impacted business stakeholders

Are we, I recall someone suggesting ... "change superheroes"? 

Not sure about that ... I definitely don't class myself in that category. Having said that we do sometimes have to scale seemingly unscalable mountains, are the answer to everyone’s prayers, can deliver divine intervention, turn grey skies blue, halt the incoming tide, pull a rabbit out of a hat and all the other superlatives (hey there’s that word “super”) you can think of. 

To bring home the point, if you look at some of the articles on the subject of what a good Change Manager is supposed to do or what skills they should have, while we aren't quite "superheroes" we need to possess a lot of critical skills and key competencies!

Here's a few extracts from selected articles I picked up on ...

From Prosci … “THE 4 C'S OF A WORLD-CLASS CHANGE MANAGER”

1. COMMITMENT

A world-class change manager is committed to their role and the value they bring to projects and change initiatives and thinks in terms of the people impacted by them.

2. CONNECTIONS

A world-class change manager thinks in terms of connections: people, projects, processes and outcomes.

3. COMMUNICATION

A world-class change manager communicates in an open, honest and authentic way.

4. CREATIVITY

A world-class change manager is creative, tapping their imagination and others’ in the organization.

From TechRepublic … “4 things successful change managers practice daily”

1. Staying on top of the organization's direction

Top change managers are more likely to be involved in leadership planning sessions to prepare for what's coming and help functional areas prepare and successfully adjust. Without having a clear sense of where an organization is headed well in advance, change managers are at a disadvantage.

2. Understanding what is transforming the business

Regardless of the actual driver, top change managers make sure to know what the drivers are, how it impacts the business, and when. Change management experts also strive to keep on top of the mechanisms to help them better prepare companies as a whole for future changes.3. Listening to the chatter

3. Listening to the chatter

By listening to the chatter, change management experts are in a more open state of mind, that allows them to take in more information and captures informal data that can be used to make better decisions and preparations.

4. Tuned-in to internal and external culture

A strong change manager understands this and strives to stay tuned-in to the overall tempo and temperature of the organization's internal and external culture including the employees, full-time, part-time, and contract, as well as vendors, customers, and other stakeholders.

From WalkMe … “7 Must-Have Skills for Change Management Positions”

1. Communication

The ability to communicate is essential to many jobs. However, it’s absolutely critical for change managers. Communication skills help:

2. Leadership

Leadership is essential for driving change programs forward.

3. Vision

Vision is the ability to see a program’s “after” state.

4. Strategic Analysis and Planning

At the enterprise level, change managers must create a strategy to achieve their vision.

5. Knowing Change Management Principles and Best Practices

Another core skill for change management positions is simply knowing their discipline.

6. Other Soft Skills

Communication is perhaps the most important soft skill for change managers.

7. Digital Literacy

Today, digital literacy has become essential for every position, including change management positions.

Wow maybe I should think again about the title “SUPERHERO” ... LOL

But these are, what I would call, aspirations, just words and idle musings of self-styled “experts” or “influencers” (in my world no one is an "expert" and I hate the word "influencer") with an opinion (just my view ... no criticism intended).

Looking at all these skills and competencies … are they a realistic reflection of what we Change Managers should have or indeed need? I'm sure even the most experienced and senior practitioners in the profession wouldn't, or even couldn't, possess them all.

Isn't it more about when we enjoy what we're doing we perform well and deliver!

So just if I refer back to the title of this article "Why Do We Do What We Do" what I would like is to get a view, from a practitioner perspective, which aspect of Change Management you enjoy doing the most and which aspect you enjoy doing the least?

So guess what? Yep, I've have created a survey … oh no not another one ... yes, sorry, another one ... I like surveys! If you want to participate just follow the link below ...

I will, of course, publish the results as a separate LinkedIn post once I have had enough responses to make the sample representative.

 

Since the original release of this article the results have published and can be viewed here.

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I started work for the UK’s MoD and after completing intensive training at the Royal Military College of Science, Shrivenham (now the UK’s Defence Academy) I worked for them as a Work Study Practitioner, and Organisation and Methods Officer which involved observing people working, making changes to ways of working and then measuring them to determine efficiencies. I call this the forerunner of Change Management. Following the MoD I had a stint with Abbey National BS/Abbey as a Business Analyst, Productivity Consultant and Senior Business Consultant. After Abbey, I started as an Independent Change Management Consultant and worked in many industry sectors but all involving change in some way, shape, or form. I now live in Thailand where I continue my change work such as researching matters of interest concerning change, coaching & mentoring for change management and authoring consulting frameworks and business templates. I still do the odd project in the Region just to keep “my hand in”. In 2012 I was recognised as a Change Leader by the World HRD Congress.