Leading change is a broad term which encompasses many roles, both internal and external, during a change initiative.
Defining leadership responsibilities is vital to keeping an initiative on track. Two roles which are often misinterpreted are those of the change management consultant vs. that of internal leadership.
When considering change, it’s important to mention that the accountability for leading and implementing that change rests with the leaders of the organization. In contrast, a change management specialist provides the tools, structures, and frameworks which enable an organization to achieve its desired goals.
It’s my job as a consultant to do whatever I can to help them move from ideas to results. Leadership is accountable for the results; I’m accountable for 3 core deliverables:
- The design and implementation of an effective, viable, and replicable change management program methodology.
- This can be used over the lifetime of the technology program, and the related knowledge transferred and sustained within the organization.
- Interventions to strengthen the capacity and impact of sponsors for the technology program, to ensure both buy-in and stay-in over the long term.
- Interventions to engage, develop trust, collaborate, coach, influence, and professionally contribute to the success of the technology program
More specifically, this includes alignment, coordination, and integration of the change management activities:
- Within the technology program, at each of the project levels.
- Across all of the technology projects.
- Interventions, as required, to achieve the desired rates of adoption, utilization, and proficiency during the lifetime of the technology program, which cannot be achieved solely at the project levels.
Change Management in Action
When taking the definitions of these roles into your specific organization, there can still be some confusion, as the deliverables need to be customized by the change management consultant to suit your own organizational needs.
To help with what that might look like, as an example, my current assignment is to deliver organizational change management expertise within a technology program for a utility company.
This means that I am accountable for providing the tools, structures and framework to enable the organization to achieve its three desired outcomes of:
- Speed of adoption (how quickly people take in the changes).
- Utilization (how many of those impacted are doing their jobs correctly as a result of the changes).
- Proficiency (how many of those impacted are performing at the desired levels post-go-live of each of the constituent projects in the program’s roadmap).
Working within a program environment is challenging, changes are delivered during multiple instances, across different lines of business, and over an extended time frame (in this case, to 2030). I’m responsible to ensure:
- The work to secure the desired changes in behaviour occurs, and
- The supporting culture, structures, systems, and processes are in place to sustain these desired changes in behaviour at three levels: project, business, and program.
A consultant can’t replace the skillset needed by organizational leadership to do the actual leading required to get through a change initiative. Instead, what a change management specialist supplies are the methods to get the change done, in a way that allows organizational leadership to effectively manage and focus their efforts throughout the initiative.
If you’re perceiving change initiative in your organization, contact WCI for a personalized solution.