Zahara looked through her communications plan. As Project Manager for this key project, she was running point on bringing the legal entities together on the Vendor Management platform. She wondered, how would she know if the communications was sufficient. She thought about her employees and the reaction to a mail in the inbox and sat back. I need something more than a communication plan, she thought to herself.
Prosci’s Best Practice Survey, 2018 clearly shows that the most popular tool for an integrated CM-PM team is the Communications plan. And we have struggled more often with poor communications than not. But then, as Zahara, asked, what else do we have?
Prosci’s change management methodology has 5 levels with which to scale and execute change plans. When created/modified/customised in sync with the needs of the project, these plans move employees through individual change processes – thereby driving business outcomes. (TL;DR: 5 customized plans help employees embrace change).
How do we customize them?
We run assessments that help us understand the characteristics of change (Large and disruptive vs small na incremental) as well as the readiness of the organization to accept change (any change).
The results of these assessments help us customize the plan. [A change plan addressing a team of 10 employees could be much thinner than a plan that addresses a 10,000-strong global enterprise]. So what levers are these?
1. Communications Lever
The communications plan is the most utilized of the five levers of change management. Without an appreciation of CM, the plans could easily become “town-hall” addresses or company-wide emails. A Prosci methodology based communications plan goes to where your employees are rather than being a one-size-fits-all. If you have a blue-collar demographic that is concerned with the pay-hike and elections, then that should be taken into account when taking a reorganization message to them. The plan takes into account which messages need which senders. My plant needs my Plant Head to call out the business reasons fro the change (vs Mail from HQ). A communications plan governed by change management aims to answer the questions that employees have, rather than tell them what the project team has been doing.
2. Sponsor Road-map Lever
Over the last ten studies (across two decades of research) the number one overall contributor to success has been active and visible involvement by senior leaders. Senior leaders bring legitimacy to the change. Employees look for an authority for change to lead them into the change and bring them out successful.
The sponsor road-map outlines (and often lists/calendarises) specific actions that leaders need to execute during a change. These steps may include coaching the leaders themselves on the change management as well as providing them clear directions/scripts to work with.
3. Coaching Lever
Managers and Supervisors are a key link in the chain that connects the sponsor (who articulates and rolls-out the change) and the front-line employees who need to embrace and adopt the change. The coaching plan in the Prosci 3-Phase Change Management Process enables the Managers to understand and adapt to the change themselves, as well as lead their teams into the change.
4. Training Lever
Change management provides the context to support effective training. While training is an organisational strength in most cases, in the absence of structured change management, employees are left wondering why the skill was necessary or how to demonstrate it.
5. Resistance Management Lever
Resistance is a natural human reaction to change. Managing this resistance is critical to ensure employees are able to articulate challenges with the change, and the organisation, is able to groom leaders that are able to coach employees through the challenges.
The resistance management plan in the Prosci 3-Phase Change Management Process helps teams be proactive in mitigating resistance as well as have a means to address it as it arises. It addresses identifying resistance, aligning on reacting to it, how to escalate it and how to minimize its impact on a project.
So Zahara, there is more that can be done to make you project a success with employees adopting the system faster and using it better with Prosci’s Change Management methodology.