Changes permeate an organization daily. The role of leadership is the continual push for more. More growth, more efficiency, more revenue streams. Positive change subtly represents their performance.Because of this, change alignment represents the cornerstone of enabling growth.
Change begins with a call for change be it based on proactive nature or reactivity. This stimulates ideas and a hypothesis develops. An idea that links this specific action to the organization’s overall strategy. Later evidence comes forward to back or disprove this hypothesis.
The owner of this change holds the throne of Change Champion. The change represents a potential internal war within the organization, so the Champion races to build an alliance or coalition. Their goal begins with bringing the leadership team to their side to help sway the masses of people that will be impacted. Using their Analyst, they built an argument that supports their change claim. The analyst additionally helps clarify the timing of the change and the importance to the organization if speed to change is achieved. The Change Manager helps explain to the leadership team how the change will be implemented. Lastly, the Champion uses their charisma and quantitative data to finalize their sales pitch to their peers.
The Change Manager presents a drafted project charter. Because this document explains the basics of the scope of work, the resources needed, and the timeline of events. The charter details the reasoning and business case of the project. A great charter requests a formal signoff of concurrence and support by all the stakeholders and leadership team.
Changes require resources to achieve implementation, they also need support from external sources to be successful. The project charter asks for people to help support the change and to execute it. It is a request for executives to shift their resources to participate. It additionally asks the stakeholders to integrate this action into their already busy workload.
The Change Champion will authorize the project and dedicate internal resources to get the change implemented. However, changes don’t occur in a box or a pristine environment. Changes occur in a complex web of interactions. Changes will affect innocent bystanders meaning external leadership figures need to know and manage these impacts prior to them happening while providing cross-function resources to help manage deconfliction of other projects.
The project charter helps in avoiding project derailment. Sometimes in a formal meeting, stakeholders will passively-aggressively agree with the change. They either disagree with the change or they have different priorities, yet due to peer pressure, they are unable to voice their disagreement. The charter focuses on the negotiation of concurrence. The original plan should shift slightly, it should change, it is an initial bargaining position designed to barter their resources for your change. This provides the stakeholders with a vested interest in seeing your change follow through.
The last step is to capture everyone’s concurrence with formally signing off on the project charter with their concurrence. This can appear to be an antiquated tradition however; this creates a psychological commitment. This commitment then increases the likelihood of future support by stakeholders.
Ron assembled his small change team and explained his hypothesis on automation. Jacquie got to work designing financial models that would determine the business case. Using current productivity metrics, operating costs, and pulling case studies on recent robotic transformations in manufacturing she was able to develop a robust financial projection. Incorporating numerous variables, the business case wasn’t set in stone, but it provided great insight into the probability of outcomes.
Jacquie then met with Andy to draft the project charter. Jacquie provided the key details of implementation, costs, and transitions while Andy determined the most efficient means to implement the change. Andy later toured a sister manufacturing organization that had transitioned to automated manufacturing to determine best practices for the transition technically and in handling labor relations. This helped draft the full scope of the implementation and all the resources needed to implement.
With the project charter drafted, Ron set the proposal meeting with all the key leadership members and the owners. A change of this stature needed the entire organizational support and not just the teams being impacted. This change represented a dramatic shift from the status quo that would have systematic changes throughout the company. Ron focused the proposal on the team understanding the need for the change, the urgency to move while Jacquie provided her logic and analysis that validated the move. Ron and Andy then facilitated the representatives on what their concerns were. Their goal was to answer each concern with the largest being that no one was to be laid off. This was the negotiation and agreement that led to the leadership team aligning and signing off their commitment to making the change work.
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