Change Whisperer – Gail Severini, Symphini Change Management Inc.

The missing link – the third element for leveraging sustainable change

It is very common for discussions about Program or Project change to line up on 2 fairly mature perspectives. And furthermore, speakers tend to line up on one OR the other (for various legitimate reasons).  This is not, however, the full picture. 

The first 2 are Change Leadership and Change Management:

  1.  Change Leadership (read C-Suite, Sponsor, etc).  There are many terrific programs that train leaders and sponsors on the classic processes, their role inside of projects and requirements for success.  And external consultants are always happy to support Leadership.
  2. Project implementation  (within Project Management).  In fact, there is a growing trend to retain Directors (of ‘Change Management’, ‘Transformation’, even ‘Acceleration’) within projects.

Consider a national organization with a 5-year Strategic Plan that involves significant transformational change – let’s say new product launches, 2 or 3 re-orgs, 2 or 3 cross-functional systems implementations, i.e. multiple on-going Programs (encompassing multiple Projects and Workstreams). And, to make it interesting, let’s say that an acquisition is under consideration.

The third dimension is strategic – tying all of the change initiatives together reflecting the organization’s 5-yr plan and organizational capability. Sure the Human Resources Department, Project Management Office and occasionally a communications specialist from Marketing have roles but often they come together on specific projects only.

My own bias is that for change management to really be effective, for the investments to be fully realized, and to be taken more seriously as a discipline, we need to encompass all three (in the same way that the Finance Department manages financing, financials  & budgets)  – and always speak of them in relation to each other.

To put it another way: when we do focus on either Change Leadership or Management are we assuming that someone else is integrating the whole and building organizational capability? Are we assuming it is outside our scope (even tho our efforts affect it)? Who would do this – the HR Department? If so, are they engaged in developing the Change Strategy?

How can the people change components of this initiative be leveraged back into the organization – connected with overarching organizational development – for great value, traction and sustainability?

This conversation, undertaken at the right level in the organization, presents a meaningful opportunity for the organization to fully leverage individual project and training investments for more sustainable value.

Do you agree that these are the 3 elements? Vote here