In this age, we all know what organizational change management (OCM) is, but there are still those who don't know how to EXECUTE it properly. In Thor Olavsrud’s article 10 tips for change management success, he delves into 10 steps he believes are necessary to successfully transform your company. While I agree with his steps, I would like to add the following three bonus tips to take your success over the top!
BONUS TIP #1: Make sure you, as the OCM practitioner, meet with the C-Suite executives weekly, separate from the weekly project team meetings.
You, as an OCM practitioner, should meet with the C-Suite Executives on a weekly basis, in a separate meeting from the weekly project team meeting. This, by far, is one of my most powerful tips and here’s why. In my experience, only one, if any at all, C-Suite executives have been involved with approving OCM services for their system IT implementation. The rest of the C-Suite, such as the COO or the CFO are likely unfamiliar with OCM. As a result, you need to expand your buy-in at this level and it starts with strategic education on what OCM is, how it relates to the current implementation, the proposed OCM strategy at a high level, along with overall taking the time to enroll the C-suite team in the OCM mission. Hopefully, you have been placed on the project at the same time the system integrator has started to kick-off the project and is laying the OCM foundation for the project duration.
As we all know, weekly IT project meetings including everyone and their brothers... the technical team, the functional team, and the testing team. During this time, everyone is so focused on conversions, interfaces, configurations and testing – all training and OCM activities becomes an afterthought. There have been many times in which we have needed to advocate for OCM to be addressed as the first item on the agenda rather than last discussion item.
By having weekly OCM meetings, especially with the executives, it allows you to stay connected with the C-suite and to educate them on activities which will be needed. There’s nothing like when a C-level suite rephrases the OCM strategy in his own words while talking to the overall project team. I know… it’s like music to our OCM Practitioner’s ears!
BONUS TIP #2: Form and cultivate a change agent network as soon as the OCM strategy is officially approved.
Your change agent/pioneer/champion network are your soldiers in the field. If you are working on an engagement with a small OCM team (10 or less), depending upon the size of the system implementation, you will need a network of individuals who know the culture, pulse, dynamics and processes within the organization. Ask your senior leaders for recommendations of individuals who can serve within the Change network. And as you are “meeting” with those individuals, ask them who they would recommend. Make sure you have your change network criteria firmly established as you seek recommendations from the employees. Once you have your final list, share the proposed network with the project team for their feedback. Schedule your change network kickoff meeting and set a meeting cadence for the network.
As I stated before, cultivate your change network. In my experience, most of the time, the change agents are unfamiliar with OCM so here is your opportunity to support them by providing them with the tools they need to absorb and EXECUTE the OCM tasks you will assign to them. Set your commitment to supporting them by providing them with experiential meetings to show them HOW they can use the tools provided to them. For example, one of our change network meetings involved individual behavior. During this session, we discussed the Myers–Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), all change agents took the test, and we discussed and even role played the results, asking questions, such as, what personality do you work with every day? and how do you handle them? Needless to say, during our role play sessions, we had many people peek into the conference room, wondering what we were doing! After that specific session, I directly received many requests to join the change network!
BONUS TIP #3: If your project sponsor, you know the one who advocated for your OCM services, is no longer on the project, you will be swimming with the sharks.
If you find yourself without a project sponsor, then refer back to Tip #1! If you have been meeting with your C-Suite on a weekly basis, separate from the project team meetings, then at the time of your project sponsor’s departure, you should be easily able to obtain a new sponsor. However, if the project has a Steering Committee who has appointed a new project sponsor, be sure to make that person your new BFF! Their support is critical to your success as an OCM practitioner.
About the Author: Tammy L. Davis is a dynamic relationship builder, change disrupter and training expert. She is a highly-valued, award winning partner and specialist (MWDBE & 8a Certified) in the ERP Applications and Business Transformation sectors supporting all levels of organizational readiness from senior leadership through end user communities within the areas of System Implementations, Training and Change Management. Connect with Tammy on LinkedIn.
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