A project, no matter how good it may be, cannot stand on its own. It is still necessary to initiate stakeholders to make this happen. In managing change, we used to say: “The important thing is not to know that one is right but to be believed by others.” If we refer to Lewin’s work, any change generates resistance that we must understand and support in order for the goals of the project to be achieved in a collective dynamic.
Yes change management but where to start
It’s fairly obvious to say you have to do change management to get stakeholders involved in making the change work. The question is not why but how. Of course, there are many huge methodologies, books and courses on the Internet on this topic. But this remains a skill for specialists and the proposed steps can take a certain amount of time that managers do not always have. All change management approaches propose a diagnostic phase consisting of identifying stakeholders, changes, resistances, influences, and strategies for change. This phase allows for the identification of communication, training and support procedures. We are talking about support tools whose results are evaluated by means of qualitative and quantitative questionnaires and business indicators. The general scheme makes sense. But how do you fit it in without being a subject matter specialist?
The idea of cloth was introduced to the management world by Osterwalder in his book Business model generation (Wiley 2010 1time ed.) with Business Model Canvas to describe the main steps that must be completed in a one-page support for a business model proposal for a new product. In the same way we provide change of plate to describe and support the project in one page. The aim is to give all managers and project managers a simple and graphical tool to qualify the support required in terms of project change. The change panel offers to fill in 7 categories as shown in the figure. A little advice, print it in A1 or even A0 font so that you can work on it with several people around a table.
Figure 1: Changing the canvas
Box 1: Key points of the project
This includes defining the main characteristics (in terms of change) of the project to be supported, such as:
- The number of beneficiaries and the number of categories of beneficiaries
- Percentage of proactive, passive, and oppositional recipients
- Duration and phases of the project
- Main sponsor(s)
- The culture of change among the beneficiaries
- Whether or not there is layoffs, geographic and occupational mobility in the project
- Is the project urgent?
- Project budget and governance
- accelerators of change
- Barriers to change
Box 2: Drivers of change
What are the explanatory factors for the project? Why was it selected and launched? The justifying factors can be internal with strategic decisions or even be of an external nature with regard to technology, globalization, regulation, competition, crises, environmental issues, customers and social developments.
Box 3: Types of change
What changes must be accompanied? Does the project materialize through changes in tools, strategies, organisations, professions, skills, cultures and behaviours?
Box 4: Resistance to change
Who are the main stakeholders and do they seem resistant to change? And if so, what are they?
Box 5: Strategies for change
To implement the project, it is important to ask two questions: Will the change be gradual or rapid? Will the change be made collaboratively or will it be enforced? The intersection of these two questions makes it possible to consider 4 strategies: deployment (rapid, imposed), consultation (rapid, collaborative), planning (incremental, imposed) and co-construction (incremental, collaborative). It is advisable to choose a main strategy and a secondary strategy according to the stages of the project.
Box 6: Levers of change
You are asked to list actions for communication, training and support (participatory workshops) with stakeholders throughout the life of the project. Proposed actions must also be evaluated in terms of costs to determine an overall budget to support change.
Box 7: Managing and embedding change
What indicators of activity would make it possible to say that a change has been made and stabilized? What are the indicators that make it possible to know whether the tools for change deployed are effective? The concept of experimentation is involved in all phases of the project.
These different categories can be filled in with group stickers. This work takes about half a day to first formalize. Fresco of Change offers a board like this one to build a change diagnosis for a project in a fun and collaborative way using cards that identify change agents, types of change, resistances, change strategies, levers, and steering tools.
Article written with Kevin Johnson, HEC Montreal Professor
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