Change management is such a widely thrown around term these days. Everyone is a change manager, HR, Organisational development, Employee Communication, Operations Managers, Project Managers, IT managers…the list goes on. None of these roles in my view are change managers, what they do has an impact on changing something, whether it is roles, capabilities, productivity etc, but essentially the core skill is what their title implies.
We all know that projects have “change managers” on them to help design and implement the changes that the project is focussed on. However the most significant contribution change managers can make to an organisation in my view is enterprise wide change. This is where there is a significant difference from change on projects as the focus is on helping the organisation manage the implementation of strategy across the organisation.
Essentially you are the conductor of the orchestra ensuring that there are no wrong notes played during the performance. It is about change governance and essentially risk management for the entire organisation.
So what does an enterprise change manager do? Here are a few of the key responsibilities:
1. Provide an overview of dependencies between key projects, if one project is delayed what is the impact on another project and therefore risk.
2. A change management heat map, how many key projects are on at any one time, can you identify the key stakeholders that will be impacted for each, when will they be impacted, is it all at once or transitioned over a number of months, is the change process manageable?
3. Key high level risks and issues from an enterprise wide perspective, what are they, who is managing them, what are the mitigation strategies?
4. Enterprise wide communication to all stakeholders, are you helping them connect the dots or hoping they will figure it out for themselves. If the organisation has no idea why it is doing what it is doing it is difficult for stakeholders, whether employees, customers and suppliers to understand what direction the company is headed and how it is all coming together.
5. Integrate change with business as usual. At the enterprise level it is not about a series of projects with names that have start and end dates it is just about business, if the organisation doesn’t innovate it will go out of business so it is about keeping the focus on leading and managing the business with an overview of business activity at the enterprise level.
6. And most important of all…make change happen. You need to be able to advise how to get traction with strategy, there are so many variables that can stop momentum, the most common is resilience by leaders to keep on with the change process when there is noise coming from all corners about why it can’t happen or the risks associate with it.
We all know of projects that have been going for years with no real progress, I am constantly amazed at the efforts that some people go to, especially at leadership levels to make sure that nothing changes. And that’s because the engagement process has been poor from the outset, there is fear of the unknown, they feel it is being imposed rather than engaging their experience and knowledge and it is “safe” staying with the status quo. Helping organisations get traction with strategy means that you see behaviours before they have an impact on change and advise on action to be taken to help move innovation forward. Enterprise change is at its core about change governance and making it happen.