Change Whisperer – Gail Severini, Symphini Change Management Inc.


“How related are Project Management and Change Management?”

This question was posed on the LinkedIn Group “Chaotic Change” by Joe Rafter,  AVP, Change Management at Yellowbook  and since it was such a good one I thought it warranted re-publishing here.

“Project “thinking” and change “thinking” are related in many ways from the tactical skills to the leadership skills. For more click to this discussion http://bit.ly/3MgIaa .”

My response?

Agreed 100% – with 3 caveats:

1.  Not every initiative requires Change Management (e.g. a technology hardware implementation that has no visible or systemic impact on users).  However, the greater the magnitude of change the more relevant Change Management becomes, i.e. when speed of adoption, proficiency and ultimate utilization (Prosci terms) are key success factors then Change Management best practices can tangibly improve results.

2.  I see “Change Management” as a combination of 3 characteristics:

  • Change Management Program Practices (example would be Prosci’s methodology, but there are many others as well)
  • Transformational leadership style “Change Savvy” (as described by Herold and Fedor below)
  • Organizational capacity and capability for change

3.  Would also like to suggest that Change Management, while symbiotic, is a very different discipline to Project, or Program, Management.  And, by the way, reading and implementing Kotter’s “Leading Change” (while a great primer) may be helpful for Developmental or Transitional change it is not enough for Transformational Change.

In Strategic Transformational Change Programs we typically work hand-in-hand with the Steering Committee to evaluate, strategize, implement, monitor and adjust.  Change Management is set up as a distinct track roughly 10-25% of the project budget allowance, depending on the complexity of change and the change capability of the organization.

Some resources that you might be interested in:

  • “It Starts with One”, J. Stewart Black and Hal Gregersen, Wharton School Publishing, New Jersey, 2008
  • “Change the Way You Lead Change”, David M. Herold and Donald B. Fedor, Stanford Business Books, 2008, Cal, USA.
  • “Strategic Organizational Change: building Change Capabilities into Your Organization”, Ellen R. Auster, Krista K. Wylie, Michael S. Valente, Palgrave MacMillian, 2005, New York New York.

Thank you for asking a question that we too believe is key to transformational success and for allowing an opportunity to share information that we are passionate about.


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