Thursday, December 17, 2009

Getting to the heart of change!

I recently made a joint presentation with Elisabeth Kamél at the annual conference for The Swedish Project Management Association (Svenskt Projektforum). Elisabeth is one of Sweden’s leading educators for project leaders and I work with Change Management and Leadership. Together we were going to give insight into how to successfully manage change management projects. During the our preparation we decided to make an attempt at offering a tool to help project leaders and change agents with what we have seen to be one of the most common reasons most change initiatives fail.

In our experience most change initiatives fail because organizations and their leaders fail to understand and manage the “human” element of change. Change in an organization means change in behavior and yet most organizations run change with standard project management methodology. Although there has been a great deal written about the human or soft side of change most project management methods offer little or no help in understanding and addressing the real human issues of change that will in the end determine the outcome of change initiatives.

We decided to present the meeting with a practical tool that would compliment a broad range of project management methodologies. The result was the following template which we hope will help to guide insight, actions and communication.

Following the matrix there are some further explanations to guide your thinking.

Change Matrix (Getting to the heart of change!)

by Elisabeth Kamél and Kelly Odell


Effect direct/



New demands/


New knowledge/


Resources for securing new knowledge

Need for inspiration/motivation

Communication needs

Investment in time, money, consultants, training, etc

Employeee in unit X

Employee in unit Y

Mgmt Team

Business unit leaders

Dept managers




1. Stakeholders: Identify who will be impacted during and after the process (direct/indirect/later?) For example employees, customers, suppliers, etc

-Who will be impacted by this change?

-How will this change affect these individuals/groups?

-What can be done to minimize the negative effects of the change for the different stakeholders?

-How will the desired result of the change be affected if we do not get support from individuals/groups?

2. Make an honest assessment of how the change will affect the various stakeholders.

3. Describe what new demands and expectations on the stakeholders during and after the change.

4. Define which new knowledge or competences are necessary so that stakeholders can execute the new behaviors required by the change.

5. Describe what resources are available to help affected stakeholders in gaining necessary new knowledge and competence.

6. Redogör för hur de berörda kan inspireras och motiveras att bidra för att förverkliga förändringen.

7. Create a communication plan. Describe how the communication with the stakeholders will be executed. Give honest information about the change is necessary, how it will be implemented and what is expected of them as stakeholders. Remember the power of a Vision! How will the world be a better place when we have completed this change!

-Frequency – How often should we communicate? The general rule is that you cannot communicate too often! Even when you don’t have anything new to say you can gather the stakeholders and say that!

-Media – Which communication channels are available to you and which will we use when?

-Focus on target groups – Communication should be adapted to each group of stakeholders or even sub-groups of stakeholders since they can be impacted differently and will perceive the change differently.

8. Create a budget

Define what resources are necessary. (Time, Money, Consultants, Training, etc)

Include this budget in the decision material before you execute the change. If you can’t afford to the soft side of change you can’t afford the hard side either!

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