Ability to change…

Author: Fay MacDonald

How can I change the world when I can’t change myself - Dido


The changes are great, but I’ll just stick to MY thing

If I had £1 for every time I have heard that within business change projects or IT projects I would be a billionaire….I’m not yet – only because I didn’t ask for it at the time.

It seems that many people think that change for the better is good. They can buy into ideas of change, the outcomes and benefits for others.

Actually changing individually the way we do things, however is where the pain seems to come in.

Managing peoples ability to change

So many projects and programmes wrongly focus only on the IT systems and the mechanics or business process flows. Little discussion and sometimes no discussion is held with people who will be impacted by the change and who may need to change the way they work.

This is the toughest part of the project to make successful. Mostly people just need a hand to get through the change period; a bit of encouragement from someone who has done it before, can explain the changes and can re-assure that the outcome will be ok.

Many times people agree to changes in the way things are to be done in open forum, but resist quietly on their own and continue to do things the old way, thinking that if they just work around the new systems it will be ok, cos everyone else will be following the new way. I’m sure we can all find examples of this kind of behaviour…whether it’s at work, on a project or the new years’ resolution ” I will go to the gym more often!”.

A little bit of encouragement goes a long way. Mostly people don’t own up to being anxious about changes; especially in the workplace. It is often deemed to be a taboo to ask for help if none is offered.  Salva Mea by Faithless (see it on YouTube by clicking here)
Note – the lyrics in the extended version of this track regarding the use of various state altering substances are not a recommended mechanism for coping with change.

Hold hands and jump

There is a saying which I often hear…and use in projects “it must be time to hold hands and jump”. This is often used following a long period of gestation, preparation, configuration and testing…and we ponder on whether it is time to switch over to the new systems. It is typically within the core project team of people who have worked shoulder-to-shoulder for a number of months and maybe even years.

This intimate knowledge of the system and trust in its new workings needs to be disseminated to the wider user-community.

It is necessary to foster a team spirit which includes the end-users of the new IT systems and processes.

The project team needs to get out and about, talking to people and making sure that the ones who will be the most impacted by the project are being looked after.

This will make a massive difference to the smoothness (or lumpiness if it’s not done well) of the transition from old to new ways of working. This is what in the world of projects we refer to as Change Management.

The best way to do that… the 3 Cs:

  • communicate,
  • communicate,
  • communicate.
T w i t t e r