March 20,2020 Change Management

Change Team

Change Team

The Need for a Change Team

Organizational changes can be large or small. The size of the change will typically dictate the size of the change team. Changes can operate with one person at the helm or with a 50-person team. More important than the size of the team is the adequate coverage of specialized roles during the change event. In many cases one person can play multiple roles versus having a specialist for each role.

Knowing that one person can run this process, I advise that you enlist an entire change team. This brings a diversity of thought and new perspectives. A team adds unique insights that supplement your blind spots. Additionally, it adds subject matter experts that assist in the technical change aspects and adds credibility to your team. Nudge change management adds additional complexity to an already complex process. The additional people that make-up a change team help with navigating that complexity.

Change Champion

The Champion drives the change in the organization. The change is for their benefit and they have a vested interest in its success. If you are the change manager, the Champion is your customer. They can also be your hammer in clearing out issues.

The Champion becomes the voice piece of the change. If the change were a movie, the Champion would be the star on the movie poster. They typically kickoff planning events explaining what the change is and why it’s important to the entire organization. The Champion typically talks nonstop about the change with their peers and throughout the organization. Their goal is for the workforce to know how important the change is to the Champion.

The Champion also gets to perform the role of dynamite by clearing out roadblocks that slow down the change progress. When issues get escalated, they go to the Champion whose role is to keep progress moving forward. Their ability to coordinate on an executive-level keeps the change from getting derailed by weeks through using their influence and positional advantages.

 Change Manager

While the Change Champion wants the change, the Change Manager works the change. This is the individual who is working in the back to make everything happen. They coordinate the change as a conductor orchestrates an ensemble. They manage the project execution and hold responsibility for the change team.

Leading the change team puts the Change Manager in a unique position. It is one that many project managers experience where they lead projects without the formal authority of managing a team of individuals. Typically, this comes in the form of a matrix reporting structure where their focus centers on guiding the teams’ efforts. Their authority comes from being an expert in the change process, empowering experts to help the change, and consistent actions to set the team up for success.

Most importantly, the Change Manager ensures that the project runs. They help in guiding a successful change and manage the project process. They not only manage task completion but spend a significant focus on navigating roadblocks, handling issues, and mitigating risks.

Change Analyst

The Change Analyst interacts throughout the entire change project. They typically begin with helping to develop the front-end analysis for the Change Champion that determines what the change should be. They provide insight into what benefits the organization the most.

During the life of the project, the Analyst partners with the Choice Architect. This team understands the decision points on the change road map and then gathers the data that the change participants will need to make informed decisions. Lastly, the Analyst will have the earliest understanding of the impacts of decision making and clarity on which direction the workforce should be nudged.

Choice Architect

Unique to the team is the Choice Architect, the key to nudge theory and change management. They focus on structuring the decision-making process for the stakeholders. Also, the play the ethical failsafe role by helping nudge decision making. In this role, their decision points must walk the line balance between paternalism and free choice.

This teammate must apply a macroeconomic mindset to truly understand the decision points they create. Understanding what is at stake for the company. What impact will be made for each employee, and understanding the first, second, and third-order implications of these specific decisions.

The goal of this role is to think through the decision process. Understand what is best for the company and the employee while balancing their own value system. This helps determine where to nudge decision-makers and how to phrase choices. They also need to determine what happens if the nudge doesn’t work and the process gets derailed.

Communications Manager

The nudge change management approach is based on data and transparency. Being transparent with data, however, can also be confusing which highlights the importance of the Communications Manager. Their goal is to explain the data so that everyone understands what the numbers mean. Essentially, they become storytellers with data.

This change approach calls for the early flow of information to the people impacted. The intent is for no surprises to occur in the change process. The change follows a natural story plotline where more people learn of the change gradually as well as more is understood about the change as newer insights are gained.

Change Facilitator

The Change Facilitator manages two key roles dedicated to engaging the entire organization. Their work begins by facilitating the early planning sessions with just the core change team. Their other role is facilitating decision point sessions with the workforce during the choice architecture process.

Beginning with planning, the Change Facilitator helps guide the change team through the development of the action plan and focusing on potential areas. As the core change team grows with each stage the Facilitator continues to bring the new members up to speed. Additionally, they will solicit and incorporate their feedback into the change plan so that the organization takes a full perspective.

The Change Facilitator’s second responsibility centers on guiding decision points. Here they lead the workforce through decision-making sessions. Their role is to guide analysis where the Facilitators must understand the dynamics of the situation. They also must balance the process to not show favoritism and point to a specific solution but to let the situation organically control itself and allow for experimentation with ideas.

 Stakeholders Impact

Other key players will show up during the change process. These Randoms will have organizational influence and can alter the project. They can also be a lever to improve the odds of implementation and how well the process goes.

Executive leadership makes up this list. They will manage the cross-functional impacts that the changes make. They also represent the bridge to additional resources to the project. By developing a steering committee early in the project proposal and planning stage, a Change Manager can gain their engagement and support before it is needed.

The secondary group is the support team. Change occurs in an organizational area or a specific functional area. In both cases, the change impacts the business where subject matter expertise is needed to help the change successfully transform. These team members will have the best insight into understanding the second-order of impacts that will be identified during the original change.

Case Study: Romad Engine Parts

Romad Engine Parts was a 2,000-person manufacturing plant in Barstow California. They specialized in making intricate engine parts for commercial truck engines. It is a highly skilled profession of machinists and metal workers which has recently come under pressure with competitive Chinese manufacturers. Over the last two years, Romad Engine has seen an operating cost increase of 15% and a decrease of 35% in sales.

Ron Johnson took over as Chief Operating Officer (COO) nine months ago. Romad Engines had been a family-owned business for the last 40-years and their owner was adamant about keeping the business going without having a reduction in the workforce. The company was a family that needed to find a unique solution.  Johnson quickly assessed that the company needed to make a long-term shift to automation. Unfortunately, automation can be a scary term for a skilled workforce, Johnson knowing this wanted to find a way to get the workforce on board with the transformation.

Ron, playing the role of sponsor, recruited Andy Wood, a project manager who has led numerous change efforts in the past process improvement for the company. Andy had helped onboard Ron into the COO role and Ron viewed Andy not only as highly competent but insightful as well. Lastly, Jacquie Moon, the Operations Team’s lead analyst joined to help run the numbers to validate if automation would pay off in the long run…To Be Continued


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