Singing from the Same Song Sheet
Have you ever had the feeling that you aren’t singing from the same song sheet as others? I experienced this recently when attending a memorial service for a family friend. Some of the participants were singing a hymn that was printed in the memorial program. Others were singing from the hymnal, provided in the pews of the church. The program had different verses than the hymnal, and what should have been a sweet beloved hymn became a confusing collective experience for all.
In my experience as a PMP and certified change management professional (CCMP) implementing change initiatives which involve technology, I’ve often felt as though the project team and change management teams were singing from different song sheets. I’ve worn both the PMP and CCMP hats while implementing projects and discovered this disconnect when discussing change activities with my project management colleagues. Technical milestones seemed to be considered more important people focused milestones. Test cases and outcomes were considered more critical than results of metrics to measure what people knew about, and felt about the change. Organizational change management was often viewed with suspicion and seemed unclear.
In response, I developed a 5-step framework, the READY, Set, Change! framework, which aligns Project Plan phases and Change Management Plan stages in a way to simplify integration and accelerate change.
The second step of this 5-step framework is to Engage Leaders while creating change strategy. Leaders must share the vision, provide direction, and reassure people when times are tough. If leaders are not engaged, they cannot lead change effectively. If leaders do not engage because they lack the ability to prioritize and communicate essential action, they lose the leverage and loyalty of those around them. In our current state of unexpected, unorganized, and unpredictable change we need engaged leaders to lead through the unknown. As each news cycle seems to cascade despair it’s imperative for leaders of projects, changes, and people to step forward, engage and lead.
Project management professionals and change management professionals can assist organizations as they adapt to new circumstances and adopt new technology, structure, or programs. Aligning and integrating plans, norms, and status by using this 5-step framework will provide a clear and simpler path for individuals and organizations to navigate adoption amid unending change and to sing together for the benefit of all.