The pandemic experience, while incredibly challenging for leaders and teams, also provided important learnings. We came to recognize the greater impact and influence of such attributes as resilience, agility, humility, curiosity, self-care, compassion and caring and attention to growing self-awareness as central to the leader role in guiding teams and ensuring that organization priorities are realized. These are foundational and increasingly expected of the most effective leaders.
Project management (PM) and organizational change management (OCM) serve as a bridge between where an organization is today, and where it wants to be in the future. Increasingly, there is recognition of the critical role that OCM plays in a project environment. Human factors affecting the successful implementation of a project include speed of adoption, utilization and proficiency.
Imagine that you are in a conversation when you suddenly realize that you have had this exact same disagreement with a co-worker, or a family member, many times before. In the moment, you can predict what you will say and do and what the other person will too. You feel compelled to act in a certain way, even when you know that what you will say or do next is unwise or unproductive. You cannot seem to help yourself. Or the other person! After the conversation has gone from bad to worse, you may find yourself attributing it to the other person’s incompetence, character flaws, or bad motive.
George was sitting quietly at the back of the room when he suddenly came to life. “But you don’t understand. All this talk about getting ‘sponsors’ on board is all well and good, but what do you do when your sponsor is basically invisible?” A roomful of participants nodded in agreement as George continued. “We can’t get sponsors to show up at meetings, they won’t make decisions that affect the project, they don’t allocate the resources we need. They might as well be ghosts!”
The 2015 Don Wood Lecture was delivered by Peter Edwards, Vice-President Human Resources and Labour Relations at Canadian Pacific. In the lecture, Peter spoke about the future of work, including the changes that are taking place in organizations as new technology emerges, how these changes affect workers and how the HR and labour relations processes, like collective bargaining, need to evolve.
This free e-book walks you through the change management process, from start to finish. It's based on more than 20 years of Dr. Carol A. Beatty’s research, and identifies not only the easy and hard work in change management, but also the tough work that is often neglected by change leaders, who place too much emphasis on high-level change planning and not enough emphasis on implementation.
Creating energy, engagement, and commitment to change initiatives is one of many challenges we face as change agents. Increasingly, organizations, managers, and change practitioners espouse a belief that involving people in the change initiative is important. Many of us would agree in principle with this philosophy: Participation is essential to successful change implementation. However, the practical dimension of how to actually accomplish employee participation in change initiatives poses a challenge to change implementers.
Getting the news out about an upcoming restructuring, merger or acquisition, layoff, or other major organizational change can be a challenge. No one wants to experience having their name ‘pop up’ in a new organization chart that is widely distributed online before receiving any direct personal communication from their boss.
When Hunter Harrison joined the recently-privatized Canadian National Railway (CNR) in 1998 as Chief Operating Officer, the company was generally acknowledged as one of the worst railroads in North America, highly indebted, perpetually in the red, and losing market share to the more efficient, flexible and newly deregulated U.S. railway and trucking industries.
Can you recall a time when you experienced a major change in your organization? Perhaps like others around you, you experienced a roller coaster of emotions: excitement that at long last something was going to happen to change the status quo, confusion about the specifics of the intended changes, and anxiety about what it could mean for you, your team, and even your family. Change can be disruptive, both professionally and personally.
Working in the telecommunications industry, people assume that we are ahead of the curve in terms of change initiatives and communication practises. But similar to other companies, we are challenged to come up with our own change management processes within our organization. Our industry is changing rapidly, and that means we need to change too. In this article, I will share how Cogeco developed a new change model quite quickly to respond rapidly and succinctly to the transformational trends in our industry.
Most experts would agree that communication is a vital ingredient in successful change initiatives, and there is much research to support this assertion. My own research revealed a very high correlation between change success and communications efforts (Pearson correlation r = 0.567, significant at the 0.01 level). Furthermore, it has also been shown that ineffective internal communication is a major contributor to the failure of change initiatives.
Dealing with resistance is tough work, but avoiding this work only makes change more difficult. When facing major change, management tends to view the new direction as an opportunity, while employees face the change with feelings of uncertainty, fear and disruption. Furthermore, most change leaders underestimate the amount of resistance they will face. However, as this case shows, external conditions, trust in the organization, and skillful handling of resistance can all contribute to lessening resistance and increasing support for a change initiative.
After you know who will lead a change initiative, why the change is necessary and what future you are trying to create, you come to the “how”—the activities you must plan to implement the change successfully. This is tough work because of the countless details that must be thought through and included in a change rollout plan. Forget something crucial here, and your change may be in jeopardy, as is highlighted in the following case study.
Most experts advocate creating a vision as a necessary step in any change initiative. But managers have a tough time following this advice. Change vision statements are often too long, too confusing or too generic to motivate action in the direction of the change. It's tough to condense the vision into a couple of sentences or paragraphs that sing, but it is worthwhile to try. A clear vision is important for change leaders to think through because it forces you to identify exactly what you are aiming for instead of some vague, fuzzy or rosy picture of the future.
The statistics about the implementation of change in organizations are dismal. For decades now, business writers from all walks of life have been bemoaning the large failure rate of change projects. For example, one study reported that 70 percent of critical change efforts fail to achieve their intended results. Additionally, more executives are fired for mismanaging change than other reasons, such as ignoring customers.
The literature on change management contains a lot of advice about formulating a change idea and planning it at a high level but much less on how to implement the idea once it has been created. For example, although strategy implementation is viewed as an integral part of the strategic management process, little has been written or researched on it. Likewise, in the public sector there is a great deal of advice on how to formulate public policy, and many academic courses teach this.
Two groups are crucial to any change project: planners and implementers. The planners, typically more senior than the implementers, must answer some important questions before they hand over the initiative for implementation. When these questions are not dealt with adequately, the initiative can get off to a shaky start. In this paper, I will give you those key questions and also advice for overcoming what I call the "iron curtain between planning and implementation."
The first thing people want to know when a change is proposed is why this change is necessary. If you don't have a very good answer, then they will not buy into your change initiative. Statistics show that having a good percentage of supporters at the outset of a change initiative is strongly associated with success. This paper addresses how to create the felt need for change and a sense of urgency for the change throughout the organization.
Over the past two years Humber College has undergone significant change towards being strategically positioned as the leader in Polytechnic education in Ontario. In September 2013 Humber launched a revitalized brand to support student success. In supporting Humber’s value of innovation, HR Services over the next year and a half, will undertake a transformational change initiative to our HR systems most notably with the design and implementation of a new HRMS technology business platform for managing our HR processes. This paper represents the first in a series of papers that will follow this case study throughout its project lifecycle and describe the College’s journey in implementing a major change initiative.
Are you the leader of a change effort and stuck in the weeds? Have you read the latest Change Management book, but no one seems to be following you? Are you frustrated that your team or your organization seem to have forgotten that you shared your vision with them already? It could be that you have a sense of your vision but you haven’t defined it in detail. It could be that your vision doesn’t captivate your team. It could be that you are focusing your efforts on creating the perfect plan.
Today's business environment is dynamic and highly uncertain. To become and remain successful, organizations must successfully respond to constantly changing conditions. This paper will provide a brief overview of the various perspectives that have guided the field of organization development and change management, with sections that will describe practical application of change management intervention methods for targets of change, and understanding organizational change resistance.
The purpose of this paper is to form a rich and integrated understanding of the phenomena of organizational change within a project environment, exploring the frameworks upon which classical change theory is developed. I discuss the role of research and the application of research findings in this area of study, based on one Canadian utility company's performance with change initiatives.
Projects are often the means by which much change is instituted within organizations. As such, the literature and concern with project management are also increasing. There does not seem to be the attention in the literature that specifically looks at the impact when a change in project leadership occurs during the life-cycle of a project.