To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often. — Winston Churchill
While many of us may agree with Churchill’s view of change when it concerns personal growth, we may not feel the same when it comes to organizational change in the workplace. Unless we were the ones responsible for generating the new idea, we most likely view change with skepticism. We may be under the impression that change causes more harm than good, or possibly we feel all too comfortable with the status quo. But, realistically speaking, change is essential for any organization wishing to keep pace with the rapid advances in technology today. And the management of organizational change is equally as important as determining the best bid or building the best project management team when it comes to ensuring a successful project delivery.
The Value of Transition Planning
So when your institution is hurdling down the path of organizational change caused by the implementation of a major project, what do you do? The key to managing change is through true transition. Transition moves the ownership of the vision from the project leadership to the business owners and then to the individual. Starting with the Executive Sponsors and cascading through the project working teams to the business owners, a roadmap of activities should be planned to facilitate change. Among these activities are communication and training.
The Role of Group Champions
Group champions are another essential aspect of effective change management. Identifying these special stakeholders can make the transition planning easier. Generally, these “go to” people in the organization help conduct training and serve as a spoke in the communication wheel. Champions show their support by rallying the team and encouraging staff to adopt the changes and make them their own.
The Need for Protection
A successful project delivery needs committed support for change from the most senior levels that desire to break down siloes and ensure that all levels of the organization are involved in institutionalizing the transition. Thinking that change is the concern only of the “change management group” invites failure. Only when the key players exhibit support and protect the efforts of Group Champions can the change be accepted.
Change + Planning = Success
The truth is no one likes change. Quoting another Englishman, Arnold Bennett, “Any change, even a change for the better, is always accompanied by drawbacks and discomforts.” Minimizing organizational discomfort involves the thoughtful execution of a transitional plan involving all levels of the organization.