Making Change Stick
By Michelle LaBrosse
tired of hearing people say the only constant is change? I think we
all need to keep saying it to remind ourselves we have to always be
ready to keep changing. Here’s the rub: how do we make change
stick? How can you, as a project manager, use your skills to create
business processes that have staying power?
face it: sustainability today is really about adapting to change and
being able to be effective in the face of change. I’ve now
weathered several business cycles as an entrepreneur, and I have
found my Project Management skills to be invaluable as I’ve tackled
change and made positive changes in my own business. Here are my
top seven tips for making change stick:
Make Change Relevant to the People Who Need to Participate in It.
of your job as a project manager is to make sure people not only
know where you’re going, but that they also understand why they are
going there. What’s in it for them? Why does this change matter?
Why does it lead to something positive? Think of yourself as the
Chief Change Officer on your team. Don’t just say: “We have to
change this process.” Explain why, and make it compelling.
Paint a Picture of Success. Make
sure people can see what success looks like. If your change
initiative is successful, what will the outcome be? Show your team
what the result will look like. Think before and after pictures.
We are all suckers for those!
Plan for Fatigue.
“Change fatigue” is a normal part of any process change, so be ready
for it. When you start to see people slacking on their goals and
rolling their eyes in meetings, you are there. Shake up
assignments. Assign new team leaders to different tasks. Do a
team-building exercise that gets the creative juice flowing again.
Celebrate the successes you’ve already accomplished. Use the old
red thermometer technique to show the progress you’ve made and how
far you need to go.
Keep Senior Leadership Engaged.
If your team sees that leadership no longer cares about this
initiative or it is off their radar screen, they will lose
interest. It’s your job as a project manager to keep your
leadership team up to speed and excited about what you are doing.
Keep Budget Levels Consistent.
Nothing stalls change more than large fluctuations in budget. Keep
your budget levels consistent so your team can manage its resources
process-change lasts for over a year, you need to continue to
clarify accountability. If resources change or people’s
responsibilities change, then revisit the project plan and focus on
the accountability for activities and goals.
Spend Time Focusing on How to Institutionalize the Change.
Once you’ve reached your milestones, look at how you are going to
make this change permanent. What are the ongoing resources
required? What can be automated? How will you measure the ongoing
ROI and impact? What are the pulse points you will regularly look
at to make sure your business process is thriving?
is only as intimidating as we make it. Use your project management
skills to not only manage it but to make it stick, and give your
organization the impact you desire.
Read other articles and learn more about
[Contact the author for permission to republish or reuse this article.]