5 Mistakes Change Managers Make on ProjectsJun 17, 2021
5 Mistakes Change Managers Make on Projects
The project’s lined up and ready to go. You want to be the best change manager you can possibly be! Yet the following pitfalls await every change manager, even the most experienced...
So, how can you avoid these common mistakes, and emerge a change winner you ask?
- Identify the leaders and facilitators, those who can help you complete the project while carrying people with them.
- You’re the change manager – communicate with the people who can make change happen.
- Some change managers still wade in unprepared, trying to get other people to solve problems they should already have in the bag.
- You’re bound to hit turbulence in the form of change phobia and worker resistance, somewhere along the line. What you do then defines your real worth as a change manager.
- Be the change manager who actively tries to resolve problems of disengagement, resistance and push-back.
Mistake 1: Not engaging with the right people
People are key to a successful project. Some change managers engage the wrong people, wasting time and confusing the issue. Maybe because it's easier than engaging the 'right' people? Others ‘under-engage’, or float around the edges, instead of plunging in and having direct conversations with important stakeholders.
Solution: Identify the leaders and facilitators, those who can help you complete the project while carrying people with them. Engage them, employ their strengths and get them working with you. Don’t hold back. You can do this! You’re the change manager – communicate with the people who can make change happen.
Mistake 2: Not moving fast enough
Once change begins, it has its own momentum. Left to its own devices, it’s like a wave - consuming everything in its path. Including you. Smart change managers set a brisk pace to help keep in control of what's going on. If you sit back and wait for all the information to land, things are sure to get out of hand. It's about grabbing your surfboard and riding the way, avoid the dunk!
Solution: Start piecing things together from day one. Set out a strategy and follow it. Pull together a change roadmap to plan and track the change, week by week. However little information you have, in the early stages, get it down on paper or in the cloud – then go on developing your plan.
Mistake 3: Failing to respect people’s time
Everyone in the business world is busy or “busy” with a gazillion priorities and tasks or projects. Most stakeholders have multiple tasks piled up, with plenty of people waiting for output and input. Yet some change managers still wade in unprepared, trying to get other people to solve problems they should already have in the bag.
Solution: Be organised. I repeat, BE ORGANISED! Anticipate problems and iron them out before taking them to a wider audience. Research as much background information as you can before you start. Respect people’s time, space - and attention spans. You will get far more out of them if you ask targeted questions, at strategic times, in a respectful way. Make your meetings and workshops coordinated, combined (where possible) and focused on outcomes.
Mistake 4: Not addressing stakeholder problems
Some change managers don’t take responsibility for the tough bits. Remember, the biggest challenges won’t go away just because you ignore them (I wish right!?). Instead, they can (and most likely will) actually sabotage your project. You’re bound to hit turbulence in the form of change fatigue and resistance somewhere along the line. What you do then defines your real worth as a change manager.
Solution: Be the change manager who actively tries to resolve problems of disengagement, resistance and push-back. This is not the easiest choice – dealing with difficult people is stressful. But you didn't get into change management because you like the easy route! This is absolutely where you can shine! Follow through all your actions, cross-referencing early notes and sticking to the plan. Count to three and go for it. You got this!
Mistake 5: Not being a change guru
Change managers come from diverse industry backgrounds, bringing a wealth of expertise with them. Yet some forget they are meant to deliver change, picking and choosing their duties - leaving the heavy lifting to others.
Solution: Step up to the plate. Know your activities, methodology if you are using one, line up your tools, and keep practicing to refine your craft. Keep learning, training, refining your skills. Stay up-to-date with the latest in change knowledge and resources. Be a genuine guru for change – get excited!
Now don’t forget, practice makes perfect. Start taking the steps today to avoid these 5 common mistakes and become a change leader.
At Delta Mash, we have your back so you can move forward. You got this!
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