Successful Change Management

Team change management

The practices of a systematic approach to change management can have significant positive impact. I have had the benefit of being in environments where it was more than a symbol of interest. It was a respected science.

Bringing someone in who has change management in their title is only as valuable as the latitude they are given to perform the important duties of guiding the change. One can hire a top mechanic to manage the family’s fleet of cars but if they are only allowed to wash the windshield and maintain the tires, the full potential of performance will never be realized.

I find this to be the case in change management. Organizations understand that someone needs to navigate them through the recurring changes. It has been my experience that they bring the consultant or associate in without fully understanding the role they must have in the process. Leadership’s efforts to endorse the position often result in a misrepresentation of the work ahead and set the change manager on a flimsy foundation.

Learn more about the science and process of change management. Hire the right person to be your guide. From there – return to the old saying of “Lead, follow, or get out of the way.” Trust them to guide you.

Truly Inspired

Inspirational leadership seems like a lofty term. Suddenly it had a different meaning when I was in the office of a colleague and we were discussing the retirement of a long time leader.

My colleague, who worked in a completely different role than me, reminisced about the support this person provided when he was at a crossroads in his career. He further explained the actions taken on his behalf to activate the new plan. He currently serves in a role that is a direct result of her inspiration.

My memories were similar. This leader was in the same organization but not in my normal work arena. I made a presentation at a conference that involved 500+ from our management tier. She sought me out during a break and said, “You certainly have a gift.” I was inspired by her comments as any speaker would be. When I learned her role in the organization, it only amplified my appreciation of her words.

It is likely that this person has no recall of her message to me and how it influenced my work and my development. She interacted with so many of us within the organization and with many more at a national level.  Can you imagine how many similar stories are out there?

Over the years, I watched her as a speaker, as the messenger to new associates, and as the key representative of the organization. Her commitment and integrity were always present. Each day she did so much to strengthen others. It was how she showed up in the world. This had me looking for the right descriptor. This took inspirational leadership from a lofty term to demonstrated skill.

It brings us to question how we show up.

Leadership Demonstration

I was in the presence of a solid leader in a recent project. I took a step back to analyze what had me engaged.
Integrity – Every step of the way, there was unwavering alignment with the mission.
Trust – There was confidence in the people who were selected to document the project. Conversely, those people trusted their leader’s wisdom for the project and the process. This created a fine orchestration of talent and commitment.
Caring – There are so many elements and layers that there are too many enumerate. She listened. When she spoke, her audience knew she was speaking to them and to their hearts. She found the right words in an environment that was complicated by limitations of language. She acknowledged the political structure, the grief that was shared, and the vulnerability of everyone involved.
Respect – She demonstrated respect for individuals even when circumstances worked against her.
The 2 Sides Project was a concept of Margot Carlson Delogne. She took her grief over the loss of her father in the Vietnam war and opened the doors for others to share their personal experiences and loss. In this journey she created the opportunity for others to unpack some of the burden they have carried for so many years.
In the months of preparation she needed to trust many to maintain their commitments. During the trip, she had her personal journey but stayed on target by including and acknowledging others who were walking this path. She worked tirelessly (as did the folks who were documenting) to convey timely messaging of all that was being accomplished.
While others have returned home to share their personal stories, Margot maintains integrity by continuing her work with the 2 Sides Project. This was not her personal trip to Vietnam. It was her early steps in the leadership of a program that has many miles to travel.
This was great modeling of integrity, trust, caring and respect. The impact is being felt halfway around the world. – Suzanne Sigona
Read more: margot presenting

Leading Change

During the last two years I have had the opportunity to be a Change Management practitioner using the tools provided through Prosci’s ADKAR model. Many of us who navigate the world of organizational effectiveness have found programs and models that serve our efforts. This methodology has been the greatest for my clients.
Common practice has folks creating a new system and privately thinking, “Who wouldn’t love this?!” They are so convinced that they are ready for roll out. As they start the boat, rev the engines, and prepare to leave, they feel something akin to an anchor.
The ADKAR model speaks to the tactics for preparing everyone.
Awareness – Understanding why we need to change? How do we match up with our competitor?
Desire – Learning the “What’s in it for me?” that brings everyone to a common understanding.
Knowledge – Helping everyone understand how this is going to happen. This includes equipping managers so that they can be the trusted leader for the process.
Ability – Providing the training or tools necessary to implement the change.
Reinforcement – Acknowledging success. We all want to know that we matter. Every chance we have to acknowledge the success is our opportunity to increase engagement with the process.
Let’s start measuring so we can start celebrating progress.

Who will teach them? A business perspective

While on an evening walk a young one about 3 years old came racing in front of me and yelled “excuse me!” He was on a mission and chasing another child. I laughed as I reflected on the thoughtfulness in his words. Someone taught him that. He learned the lesson. He answered the question I frequently pose to people: “Who will teach them?”

In our business environments, hours are spent learning about generations, personality types and cultural differences. Once we have a clear understanding, we still need to get back to the basic question: “Who will teach them?”

Business environments develop programs for mentors, advocates, sponsors, and preceptors. These individuals are the ones stunned by the comment made to the customer, annoyed by the use of the smart phone while the client waits, gasping over the inappropriate conversation in audible range of the waiting area, or concerned by the choice of clothing for the conference. They need to recalibrate and reflect on the question, “where would they have learned that this was not acceptable?”

As leaders we expect that associates come to the workplace understanding Code of Ethics and Appearances of Impropriety. We expect that the phrase “I will give you a call next week” means that there will be a follow-up call next week. As managers and supervisors we find ourselves in the awkward situation of addressing many of these issues. For each of us, we need to find a way that allows us to coach those who have never had the guiding conversation. This is tough work. We never know the reaction we will receive. Our associates can be grateful because they did not know. Some could walk away mocking us for our approach to life.

In the hiring process we are generally using behaviorally based interview questions. The often neglected screening is Organizational Fit. Issues like integrity cannot be taught but many individuals can be taught how to align with consumers or the new work team. YOU will teach them.

Somewhere, that three-year-old who was darting down the sidewalk was taught that when you get in someone’s way, it is polite to say “excuse me.”

What if a “thank you” was just a “thank you”?

As we close out the tax year, donations we made are generating contacts from the recipients. They notify us of the needs of their organization and recognize that we often focus on giving at the end of the year.

What if they contacted us to say “thank you”?

For a number of years I have been providing services in another country. Before I leave on the trip, I try to communicate my thanks to those who have assisted me in all years of service. This is generally done just before I leave town so it clearly asks for nothing. I just want individuals to know that when they gave to the project years ago, it supported the capabilities that exist today. The reality is that I am truly grateful.

As you receive solicitation materials at your mailbox or in your e-mail, do you recall when you last heard from that organization? After you donated hours at the registration table for the primary fundraiser, put up signs for their 5K, made reminder phone calls to the other volunteers , or fixed that electrical problem – have you heard from them?

In my role as a consultant, I prompt people to place a higher value on each person who helps. I counsel them to send the follow-up communication or small gift of thanks. Volunteers and donors are motivated by appreciation. We know our efforts were an investment when we receive those photos of the event that we sponsored, the report of the successful fundraising, or the note that conveys a message of thanks.

It makes us want to do more.

Time to recalibrate

In many office environments, there are comments floating that this is a “slow week”. Rather than discuss the calorie content of your favorite seasonal beverage, why not hit your personal refresh or reload key. Typically we wait for the new year to recalibrate.

Consider your favorite sports team. Will they wait for the beginning of their new season to make adjustments? We hope not. Those teams are looking at their business plans daily and are regularly involved in a coaching process.

It is likely that our business cannot maintain the focus of a sports team. Consider that this slow week and the others ahead may create the time to dig out the business plan, pull that performance plan up on the screen, or make some inquiries on coaches who have been helpful to colleagues. For those who are managing employees, it is the right time to encourage the same from members of the team.

This slow time will give you the chance to focus on areas where you surpassed goals and to examine (and celebrate) the elements that led to that success. There is no greater gift than the expression of appreciation to those who helped you with these accomplishments.

It won’t be long before the comments regarding the “slow week” will shift to New Year comments of being “so busy”.
Suzanne Sigona ~ Denver

Investing time

We spend time building our success. As a business, you want to know that you are “investing” your time. Bridging Information provides services that allow you to focus on the effective management.

Specialty areas for Suzanne Sigona include
Change Management – expediting your organization’s adoption of new business processes
Employee Engagement – guiding leaders in their efforts to retain talent and promoting the interests of associate
Leadership Onboarding – designing programs and processes that increase capacity of leaders from the time they join your organization
Meeting Facilitation – organizing and facilitating meetings that increase participation, results and the “investment” made by associates, board members, or other contributors
Role Clarification – facilitating the identification of responsibilities and expectations for teams and individuals to promote collaboration
Training Needs Assessment – examining engagement scores, performance standards, and strategic plan to determine training needs that will increase talent effectiveness
Communication Enhancement – utilizing communication preference instruments to generate a higher level of understanding of client, associate, and business partner messaging
Customized Training / Presentations – responding to your specific needs for training programs that enhance supervisory skills, leadership development, performance expectations, and team development
Contact Suzanne Sigona –

Organizational Development Services

Through experience and commitment Bridging Information will guide your organization’s effectiveness in managing change, improving associate engagement scores, developing leaders, and conducting training. Bridging Information will enhance your business processes with team development, communication enrichment, and the introduction of program efficiencies.