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  • Gilbert Kruidenier

Beyond the Change PD

What did you do to make change work that wasn’t in your brief or PD?

Most answers to the question: “What do you do as a change manager?” generally end up as a list of the usual suspects like assessments, workshops, project support, comms, training and stakeholder engagement.

The list always feels so unhelpfully reductive. Like a stack of bricks without the mortar. I guess you could call it a wall, just don’t lean on it! There’s the job they told you about and then there’s the REAL job.

What do practitioners, in their first or tenth change project, make of all those other things that present themselves during the project? And did someone tell them that random, seemingly unrelated, activities might be part of the job to make things work? I wish someone told me.

I work in a space where change, comms and project maturity are low to non-existent. Quality happens because of excellent people in the absence of process. It’s a pain in the ... most days. I often wonder if the random thing I am doing will have that butterfly effect (Look it up, it’s a thing, not just a semi-okay movie with Ashton Kutcher), or if it’s just me wanting to believe I have more control over the outcome than I do.

For change in behaviours and ways of working to happen, you’ll first need to create circumstances that support it, right? Even if it’s technically not part of the job, not in your PD and certainly not what you were hired for. In my case, supporting the implementation of a relatively simple risk management system. Yeah, turned out to be not so easy after all…

None of these things were in my PD, and yes, there's always the risk of overextending yourself, but I found myself doing them over the past 9 months anyway, to create change people can see and experience.

1. Support your PM when they can’t see a way forward. Best.ROI.Ever.

2. Help your supplier get back in the team’s good graces after a very false start.

3. Kindly say the hard things in a culture where people go along to get along.

4. Stand firm on scope and ask for the why when the ‘waffle’ is dialled up to 11.

5. Build a dashboard that shows the insanity of running 54 projects on top of BAU.

6. Write a divisional workforce plan (I know, I wasn’t expecting that one either…).

7. Create genuine consultation moments for staff to be strategic allies again.

8. Reframe leadership meetings to feel like energy boosters instead of black holes.

9. Acknowledge people are doing their best in trying circumstances (on repeat).

10. Try to set up a CMO. Fail to get buy-in, but forge a path for whoever tries next.

11. Build a staff change course with a team when you need capability (#nobudget).

12. Support and help grow the Change CoP to set change standards.

13. Resist the Cult of Busyness by being available (even when you are busy).

14. Mentor talent for success in their role and make friends for life

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