Welcome to the February 2015 edition of Afiniti’s Business Change newsletter. This month’s feature: Top tips for getting the best out of your change network.
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Afiniti is an award winning business change consultancy that delivers change with a people focus, producing sustainable changes in behaviour, mind-sets and working practices.
Learning Awards 2015
We’re delighted to have received the gold award for External Learning Solution of the Year in the Learning Awards 2015, held by the Learning and Performance Institute. We won for our work delivering change to 1,500 people across 40 locations with Network Rail on its NROL3 programme. NROL3 is a business critical system, essential in the planning and delivery of maintenance materials, around the network. Read more here.
This month’s in depth article: Tips for getting the most out of a change network.
Even if you’re the best change manager in the world, you will never be able to deliver business change on your own.
That’s why you need your change network – sponsors, middle managers and change agents all play a crucial role in accelerating change and making it stick.
Here are key tips for getting the most from your change network:
- Outline their role in escalating issues with them and where their authority lies
- They’re responsible for stakeholder communication so factor them into your communication planning and give them a voice in any communications output. People want to hear from them as they are often the figurehead of the programme or project. They will give credibility and convey the story behind the change and the big picture of what it will do for the business.
- Outline and get the sponsor to agree what benefits realisation will look like
- Make sure you understand their approach to risk and acceptable parameters
- Establish your decision making framework – you don’t want to refer too much or too little onto them
- Where possible, work closely with them to build a coalition of stakeholders
- Ask yourself whether you are actively reporting on progress towards benefits realisation
- Speak their language – talk about the project as relates to the overall strategic plan
- As part of communication planning, outline how you’ll measure the success of the role throughout the project and include timings and channels for communication from these key individuals. Tell them what you are planning to do and how their role fits in.
- The project sponsor is usually incredibly busy so be prepared to fight for their attention as you must keep in regular communication with them. Often they are distracted if a new high profile project arises so make sure you regularly update them through formal reporting and more informal conversations.
- Identify how your sponsor works and would prefer to receive communication and communicate with others.
- Know them early on – include them on your stakeholder map. Managers are often involved too late in business change meaning they are more likely to be resistant and not fulfil their potential as champions of change.
- Provide them with information, resources and learning – Managers have to change but also have to encourage others to, so they need to be well informed and prepared.
- Set expectations around their role
- Have a clear view of how you’ll build their support throughout the project
- Make sure they have the knowledge, awareness and skills they need to spread the word
- Put measures in place to help them build competencies as leaders of change
- Pick the right ones! Probably most important of all is getting the right people on board. Here is a quick reference guide to knowing what a good change agent looks like:
You will spot that effective change management requires you to know your people, to make sure roles and responsibilities during change are understood and that people have the right access to communications and learning to adopt change quickly.
Getting the message across during change
Consultant Tom Dennehy offers key pieces of advice for keeping connected with stakeholders during change and making messages stick.
How can Kaizen help us deliver better change?
Luke Scott outlines how the Japanese concept of continuous improvement, collaboration and communication can help businesses manage change.
Preparing for change. Free online change readiness assessment
Engaging and Communicating with your audience – Communications reference guide