The Common Denominator in Change Management Methods

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There are many Change Management methodologies out there, and most of them are just as effective as the others.  They may vary in scope, for example, some may cover more Change Management concepts.   They may also vary in complexity, where some require more knowledge of Change Management fundamentals.  In either case, most Change Management methods can be reduced to the same common denominator… engaging with stakeholders.

In Change Management, a stakeholder is either someone who is impacted by the change or someone who can influence the change.  This distinction between impact and influence is important as it sets the foundation for the rules of engagement.  At its most basic level, traditionally stakeholders being impacted have minimal authority over the change, whereas stakeholders with influence have maximum control over the change.  For this reason, how you engage with them will vary; however, the key to success for both is engaging them in the first place!

Below are some tips for engaging with stakeholders.

  1. Find out their wants and needs.  Take the time to really get to know your stakeholders, either individually or as a group, so that you can analyze their situations and perspectives in order to uncover their concerns and requirements.
  2. Personalize the interactions.  Tailor your messages based on your stakeholder analysis so that your interactions are personalized, meaningful and compelling.
  3. Follow through on commitments.  Build trust with your stakeholders by setting, managing and meeting their expectations.
  4. Be consistent and supportive.  Remain stable and dependable when stakeholders experience varying emotional responses to the change, as those reactions are natural and to be expected.

To summarize, stakeholder engagement is not one-way, nor is it one-time – it’s an ongoing dialogue that builds relationships.

What other common denominators do you feel are critical success factors for Change Management methodologies?

Author: Jayme Johnson

Jayme Johnson, an accomplished transformation strategist in the IBM Global Business Services, has a proven track record in utilizing leading edge change strategies to manage business transformations and help clients realize the value in major program implementations. She has experience designing and executing change management programs in several countries, as well as in many industries, including manufacturing, energy, healthcare and the federal government. She is currently based in Toronto, Canada.

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  1. Regine Deleu

    Great article Jayme!

    I would add the need to have insight into whether additional incidents or ad-hoc changes occurred, how they were dealt with, and how you manage them. Validate and measure the impact on the business. Communicate those results to the stakeholders on regular bases.

  2. Fadi Hindi

    I think your second point on personalizing the interactions with stakeholders is key. I believe without specifics, stakeholders will not engage and remain on the sidelines as spectators.

    Tailoring your message to their interests and showing them how the change will impact them and those around them will make them get involved.

    I also believe that classifying stakeholders into groups that have similar interests will add a lot of value to the interaction and provide your change initiative with action items that move the project forward.

    Thank you for the posting!

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