Change You Can Believe In
I admit it, when I first picked it up I was worried it would read like a Seven Habits of Highly Successful People -- which isn’t a bad book, per se, it's just not totally relevant to social business today. Instead of talking at you for two hundred pages, Phil Buckley addresses one question per chapter. He regards these 50 questions as the “biggest questions that keep change leaders up at night.”Perhaps some of them sound familiar:
- Will the change actually achieve the desired outcome? (Chapter 9)
- What governance is required to run the project (Chapter 13)
- How do I get the best people to join the project team (Chapter 18)
- How do I get people to care about my project (Chapter 24)
You get the idea. Any good project manager, program director or C-Suite executive asks these types of questions. Despite the best answers, if the culture isn't right or ready, actions can fall flat. So, it’s nice that Change with Confidence doesn’t just give you some canned response. Rather, Buckley provides context around the significance of the question and why it needs to be considered, as well as provide stories that illustrate good and bad practices and lists specific actions that will help you answer the questions. Considering there are 50 questions to get there, this strategy proves engaging and convenient. You may open up specifically to one question and find yourself reading through the next few questions seamlessly.
Divided into four parts, questions are organized as to whether they are a part of Figuring it Out; Planning for Change; Managing Change; and Making Change Stick.
Since these questions can pertain to any type of enterprise level change, I decided to test Buckley’s answers out as the related to the social enterprise -- our editorial theme for the month.
The Scenario: You’re the project manager in charge of implementing a new social collaboration tool designed to facilitate innovation and ideas among employees.
The Challenge: After using another social collaboration tool that failed to live up to expectation, your colleagues are weary of investing their time in something that they fear will disappear in a few months. Additionally, your director needs good results to justify the money his department spent on the software.
Below are the key questions you’ll need to answer and pieces of advice provided by Buckley.
How do I prepare people to work in new ways?
“Nominate someone responsible for each process being changed. This person must help design and deliver the training and ensure nothing falls through the cracks.”
How do I get leaders to personally commit to the project?
“Link the project with a leader’s personal success. Being the best among your peers is a powerful motivator.”
How should we celebrate wins?
“Display posters of key milestones across a timeline. When each milestone is reached, replace the posters with an update timeline. Visual reminders of progress are important.”
How do I overcome resistance?
“Identify potential sources of resistance before you implement the project plan. Find out what current ways of working employees don’t want to give up. The team kickoff meeting is a good place to start this research.”
Not bad, right? While the book is great for finding answers to questions as the arise, in a perfect world, project managers and change leaders would sit down and read cover to cover so they can adequately plan for every step along the way. Change management is just as much about advanced planning as it learning to adapt to new situations as they arise. By learning to change with confidence, the future of the social enterprise doesn't look so stagnant.