Change Whisperer – Gail Severini, Symphini Change Management Inc.

Optimizing internal and external change management (presentation and tip sheet)

At the Association of Change Management Professionals’ annual  conference last week, I participated on and moderated a panel of four great practitioners titled “Perks and Perils –  Optimizing Internal & External Change Management”.

ACMP logoWe developed a condensed 10-minute summary that would quickly convey our perspectives on:

  • 1. The current trend toward building in-house change management capabilities
  • 2. The nature of typical internal change management entities (3 models and 2 break through options)
  • 3. The different roles that external practitioners play
  • 4. Scenarios for optimizing internals and externals

We also selected five questions that the panelists discussed live at the event:

  1. When does an organization need to formalize an internal CM entity?
  2. What are the perils of building CM capabilities internally?
  3. When does an organization need external CM practitioners?
  4. What is the single most important success factor for internals or externals?
  5. What do organizations need to succeed with change and who is that more likely to come from?

While these may seem fairly straightforward I found it enlightening to hear others’ points of view. You will find the presentation here ACMP Perks and Perils – April 14 2013 – FINAL.

We also invite you to join a discussion we are hosting on LinkedIn in the “Association of Change Management Professionals (ACMP)” group entitled “Is internal or external change management presence better?”  If you are a member of that group already, this link should work.

Tip sheet

We developed some tips as a handout.

For Organization Leaders:

  • The inclusion of externals always changes team dynamics.  Be as explicit as possible about purpose and roles to both internals and externals (e.g. augmentation is very different than coaching).
  • Treat your consultants and advisors as partners.
  • Be explicit about skills transfer: Agree on who will be developed, how (e.g. training only? observation? coaching? how much and by whom?), and how achievement will be evaluated (e.g. what are demonstrable behaviors that prove capability?).
  • Require that both internal and external CM practitioners collaborate effectively (thoroughly and in a timely manner), require individuals to work in person (or on video/phone) as much as feasible, and watch for symptoms (or lack thereof).
  • Do proper onboarding for both. Less onboarding for externals will diminish their effectiveness.

For Internals:

  • Remember: the success of an external is tied to the organization’s success. They’re there to help.
  • Don’t assume consultants know more – or that they think they do. They have specific knowledge that should be paired with your specific insights for optimal value.
  • In order to avoid costly confusion, ask questions and don’t assume—especially about roles.
  • Provide feedback to externals – let them know what is and is not working.
  • Build relationships with externals and seek their support in developing your capabilities.
  • Be aware of how you feel – fear, anxiety, etc. – about the presence of external practitioners and how those feelings impact your interactions (positively or negatively).

For Externals:

  • Be clear about your role and clients’ expectations of you (e.g. do it for them, with them or teach them how).
  • Meet clients where they are: be aware of their CM maturity.
  • Invest in building relationships with internals – share information and resources, help sharpen their influencing skills, or coach them to see broader contexts, etc.
  • Be humble – no one feels safe when made to feel inferior.
  • Remember that additional business will come if you deliver effectively on the current work, not if you manipulate events to impress leaders.

Big thanks and kudos to my fellow panelists:

  • Richard Batchelor: Rich Batchelor has been successfully delivering change for 18 years. He has worked on change delivery in UK public service, managing multi-million pound change projects and eventually developing the change management presence in several government agencies before moving to Canada.  He now leads a successful international consultancy providing change management and strategic Human Resource development working with companies as diverse as book publishers, IT service providers and hotels across Australia, Asia, Africa, Europe and the Americas. Rich has a Master’s degree in change management from the University of Glamorgan Business School in the UK, certifications in psychotherapy and counseling as well as being a trained project manager and HR professional. He has also published a number of articles and collaborated on books examining human behavior and its relationship to change.
  • Supriya Desai: As President of ASC Advisory, Supriya partners with leaders to help them achieve their organization’s strategic change goals. Her 18+ years’ of Change Management experience is split between internal and external roles, having led or coached change efforts for global organizations like PricewaterhouseCoopers, AIG, J&J, Marriott, and Ritz Carlton Hotels as a consultant and corporate leader. She has established CM functions, developed and executed CM plans, facilitated leaders through change strategy, created customized methodologies, managed project teams, and developed CM capabilities. Having learned the value of knowledge sharing during her MBA studies at Darden Business School, Supriya shares hers through speaking, writing articles and case studies, and as an adjunct faculty member in Montclair State University’s MBA program. She is a certified Six Sigma Master Black Belt and Change Leader, and is a founding member of ACMP.
  • Garrett Gitchell: Garrett is President of Vision to Work, Inc. Since 2000, he has partnered with senior leaders to strategize for, plan and execute organization wide change. His specialty is the design of change entities for successful, sustained organizational improvement. He has guided initiatives at 70+ companies, including both start-up and Fortune 50. Those include: redesign of performance management systems, social media initiatives, major technological upgrades, leadership development, sales culture change, medical records, change process design, supply chain and more.  Consulting and mentoring C level leaders and leadership teams, matched with lead roles for multi-million dollar initiatives is the basis for Garrett’s approach and passion- connecting ideas to individual expertise- “end state back”. Garrett is a graduate of the University of San Francisco with an M.S. in Human Resource and Organizational Development Garrett conducts seminars, speaks on change and leadership and is a prolific writer. His thoughts and sometimes contrarian approach at
  • Ania Szpakowski: As Change Program Director, Ania Szpakowski leads change management for Zurich Insurance.  She has 20+ years’ experience in performance consulting, facilitation, leadership development and change as an external consultant and internal practitioner in Canada, US, and Europe. She has successfully designed, led and coached various strategic change programs within global multicultural organizations. Ania is a respected change expert and thought leader, and has been instrumental in developing and implementing a change management framework across the global organization that is integrated within the Project Management Framework. She has designed, developed and led the change management capability development programs to support the framework. Ania has demonstrated success working both strategically and tactically across multiple cultures and throughout the organization, working on individual projects and managing a portfolio of change initiatives. She is a certified PROSCI Trainer, Instructional Designer, High Performance Technologist and is currently certifying as a Lean Black Belt.

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