Last week I attended a 3-day Prosci Change Practitioner course in London. The course was excellent; it opened my eyes to the importance of Change Management and provided me with the tools to implement a change management strategy. It was a jam-packed three days, with lots of helpful information and tips, but here are my top 4 learnings:
1. Change is hard
Change is hard. It\’s human nature to resist change because of perceived risk or fear. Nevertheless, change is something we also desire and strive for. Whether the change involves abandoning a bad habit, developing a new skill, or making a significant life change, we have all experienced the desire to make a change in our lives.
Managing change in a business setting is no different. Employees, managers and even business leaders resist change. Most projects that we do involve people changing how they do their job. This means that change management is highly crucial to achieving success.
2. Sponsors with the most authority are not always the best.
Managing change begins with executive sponsorship and senior leadership. By giving the change credibility, authorising funding and resources, and performing critical employee-facing tasks, they play a crucial role in the success of the change.
A sponsor is someone who will be active and visible throughout the project, help communicate the change to employees and is someone who will commit time to participate in activities such as training and workshops. You want someone influential, but not necessarily at the top of the org chart. A sponsor can make or break a change project, so choosing the right person is essential. Look at who the sponsor influences, their connections in the organisation, and their commitment and stake in the project\’s success.
3. You\’ll rely on your people managers more than you think.
In most cases, change also impacts how people managers carry out their work. How can we expect a people manager to support a change if they aren\’t on board?
People managers are going to be involved consistently throughout any change management project. They will help communicate the change, encourage their teams to go to training, help manage resistance, and provide feedback to the project team.
Don\’t overlook people managers; get them on board, and you\’ll have a much more successful change project.
4. Change Management should be part of any change project – not just technology change.
One of the biggest takeaways from the course was that change management should be part of any change, not just technology change. As someone in IT, most projects are about tech and getting people to use technology. In the course, there were people from all roles and backgrounds. Their projects included new systems but also projects like moving office locations, remote working, and a change in mindset or change in the process.
Change should be planned and managed in any project that requires some change to ensure the project\’s success.
The Prosci change management course was excellent, and I highly recommend it to anyone looking to embark on a change project. You get a considerable amount of resources and interactive lessons and can share the experience with people from different backgrounds and industries.