Personal Change – On Becoming a Leader

With my vendor transition going live on Monday, I look ahead to my next endeavor.  Though my work in project management is not finished, I will be helping out with a different kind of change over the next six months. As we work to stabilize the final team transitioned over to our organization, I have agreed to help as the team lead.  This represents a change for me as well as the team as I help lead this organizational change.

Prior to the decision to make this change, the team was disjointed.  People were unsure of who they were supposed to report to and had no real support system in place.  I’m excited to have the opportunity to work with this team in providing the necessary support, but also bringing them back together as a team. Continue reading

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Go Live

Today I left work knowing that Monday is my final vendor transition project go live.  Go live means the employees from the previous vendor will now officially be employees of my company.  This is the third vendor transition I have been involved in/led in the past year and a half, so the feeling is somewhat bittersweet.  On the one hand I am ready to move onto the next thing and on the other I have become comfortable (read: good at) these types of transitions.  I was not always this way though.  As mentioned in my previous post on learning about the importance of details in implementing change, I have learned a lot along the way that I was able to take with me in subsequent transitions and will be able to keep in mind should I do something similar again in the future.

In my first vendor transition, my biggest mistake was forgetting about the people.  My focus was on the deliverables and the change itself and if people weren’t onboard that was their problem.  I began to realize this was my problem.  Continue reading

The Dream Team…Leading Change

To ensure that changes are completed successfully,  a solid change team must be in place.  This team must consist of members who understand the change and the magnitude of the project necessary to implement that change.  The size of the team should be determined based on the severity and riskiness of the change (e.g. an additional step in a process vs. an entire process redesign or transitioning a group of 100 people vs. a group of 12), but in my experience the smaller the team the better.  In addition, the team should be comprised of members from different backgrounds.  Having all project managers, operational people, finance people, etc. could present an opportunity for the team to miss various aspects of the change due to limited viewpoints.

All members of an effective change team need to be working toward the same goal: implementing the desired change.  Continue reading

Communicate Change

When I think back to changes I have seen and led in organizations, what really made a difference to me in terms of success or failure is effective communication.  This may seem like a given, but the power of effective communication is often overlooked in the overall plan for change.  Far too often I have heard about changes well before they were formally announced.  Leaders need to be proactive in communicating change rather than trying to put out fires caused by rumors and fear.

Why is effective communication so important?  It’s simple, because change is scary.  Continue reading

Lessons Learned in Change Management – It’s in the Details

A year and a half ago I was told that I would be working on a project involving the acquisition of a smaller business for one of our clients.  We would have approximately six months to complete the transition, which involved bringing over the entire existing staff from the other company (about 50 people).  Though we had a 10 year relationship with the client that extended over several of their business units, this particular business had been outsourced to another company and we did not have knowledge of the processes.  I was warned this transition would be tricky for these reasons, but I did not understand the magnitude of the details that needed to be addressed in order for things to run smoothly.

As mentioned in my initial post on change management, people are the most dynamic and challenging aspect of any change.  In order for a change to be effectively implemented, two things must occur: the people must trust the project team and perceptions of change must be managed.  Continue reading

Ch-Ch-Changes

Change is a part of life as well as business.  We face changes, whether big or small, that we must manage effectively in order to come out thriving.  Over the past few years I have faced many changes in my personal and professional lives, such as getting married, entering an MBA program, and managing acquisitions for work.  Even my blog is going through a change as I move away from my previous focus on leadership and organizational behavior to the topic of change management.  Through all of these changes I have learned a tremendous amount about how to manage change and how to help others understand the value of change. Continue reading

ACT Change

In the article, “Changing Others Through Changing Ourselves,” the authors describe a new set of principles that are grounded in just that: in order to change others, we must first change ourselves.  This change within ourselves involves aligning our vision for the common good, which in turn attracts followers to change themselves to achieve the new vision.  This set of principles consists of the following:

  1. Seeks to create an emergent system
  2. Recognizes hypocrisy and patterns of self-deception
  3. Personal change through value clarification and alignment of behaviors
  4. Frees oneself from the system of external sanctions
  5. Developes a vision for the common good
  6. Takes action to the edge of chaos
  7. Maintains reverence for the others involved in change
  8. Inspires others to enact their best selves
  9. Models counterintuitive, paradoxical behavior
  10. Changes self and system

These principles were derived from practice theories obtained from looking at similarities between Jesus, Gandhi, and Martin Luther King, Jr.

This type of leaderships doesn’t let excuses (or other defense mechanisms) get in the way.  With ACT Change, it is important to recognize not just that we want to change, but to make that next step toward taking action to get there.  Our behavior needs to become more purposeful rather than self interested, which means being open and inclusive and doing what is right regardless of rules, laws, etc.  Most of us will never achieve this type of leadership, but it doesn’t hurt to strive for it and I’m sure it will make us better leaders in the process.