Wendy Mason has spent many years, both as a line manager and as a consultant, delivering change and support to individuals and organisation going through change She is happy now to offer this support to you and your organization. If you would like to talk to Wendy about how she can help email her directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or ring ++44(0)7867681439
In managing change as well as projects and programmes, we all talk a lot about quality and quality standards but how to you establish a standard. Here are some tips
- Do you already have quality standards in your organization. Do you work in a large organization. If so, someone has probably done the job for you. If you have a central programme or portfolio office or Centre of Excellence they should be able to guide and advise you. If you have a central unit the chances are, you are required to use their standards anyway. Even if you don’t have a central unit ask other managers what they use and consider using their’s as a starting point from which to develop your own ideas!
- Set up a quality group. Assemble a team from those with an interest in your work or your project . Start out by asking them what they think acceptable standards would be for the area they are interested in. Then use them to monitor as you go to make sure you achieve the standard. You’d be surprised how willing people are to help with this kind of activity!
- Understand how others perceive quality. You can conduct interviews with interested people and your stakeholders to ensure you understand the expectations for what you are trying to deliver. For example, for an IT project, you could discuss expectations with managers about usability and support. Ask them what they think is needed to deliver a successful project. You may think this is an obvious question, but some responses may give you a very different perspective on your stakeholders’ values, and also what isn’t important to them. Don’t underestimate the power of these interviews: they can help to align your perceptions of quality with those who have the major interest in what you do!
- Start with a template. There are lots of standard quality plans and templates out there – trying searching on the internet! So you shouldn’t have to start with a blank sheet of paper. Use a good, robust template with options to pick and choose what might apply to your organization and project.
- Develop a consequence for each quality standard. For each standard you should identify what will happen if you don’t achieve it! If the answer is not much, then it isn’t a real quality standard . Don’t throw everything in – focus on what really counts.
- Review. Putting standards in place is a great way to ensure the quality of what you are delivering. But you need to make sure they continue to be right! Include a regular review. Find whether or not they were used and what happened as a result. Revise and up date them as necessary to ensure they continue to meet your organization’s needs.
Managing transition; moving from unfreeze to freeze
Managing transition takes time and needs leadership and support! The three stages of change identified by psychologist Kurt Lewin are the basis of most change management approaches today. They are very easy to understand – unfreeze, transition, re-freeze! Recently I wrote here about how to unfreeze. This post deals with managing transition. Sometimes transition can be a pleasant trap – it may feel better to travel hopefully than arrive – particularly for the team leading the change. It is very easy to get caught up in this middle stage.
Here are some techniques to help you in managing transition
Give them a challenge
Stimulate people into change by challenging them to achieve something remarkable. So, show confidence in their ability to get out of their comfort zone and do what has not been done before. This can work particularly well with small groups, as well as individuals. And, once the group has bought the challenge, with some support from you, they will bounce off each other to make it happen.
It is most effective when the people create their own stretch goals. So rather than telling them to do something, challenge them to achieve greatly. Then, when they are fired up, ask them how far they can go.
Are people are having difficulty in managing to adapt to change? Do you, or your colleagues, have coaching skills? Plus, have you enough time? If so, working with people one to one can be particularly effective. But you do need to know what you are doing. So it really is worth carefully identifying those who have been trained in coaching. If you can afford it, hire a qualified, experienced, coach to help people through this time.
In a change situation, coaches need time and skills to understand the individual person. This is so they can uncover internal problems which might be creating barriers. The approach seems expensive and it is often reserved for senior executives. But it can be a good investment further down the management chain. And, it is certainly helpful for any senior manager who has to go through change themselves, while leading their team through change
Use skilled facilitators to support change activities. If you don’t have any, either hire them in or train your own. Facilitators can be used to guide various group events. For example, this could be brainstorming or planning the change. Facilitators can also act as team coaches, helping people to improve within themselves and work together in better ways. Often in change people know what needs doing. But they do not know how to change or work together in the new context.
Facilitators literally ‘make things easier’. They do this in meetings and group sessions. This is by owning the process whereby decisions and other activities are done. Although facilitators never own the content. Thus, they will help you make a decision, but they will not make the decision for you. Facilitators are particularly useful for leaders who want to engage in a meeting without worrying about its process.
Education and Training
Teach people about the need for change. Show them that embracing change is a far more effective life strategy than staying where they are or resisting. Teach them about the models and methods of change. This is about how to be logical and creative in improving processes and organisations. The approach can include presentations, communications and full-on training sessions. Education, done well, draws out understanding from the other person rather than talking at them.
Leading in change is itself often a process of education. An issue in change is that people often feel powerless. Education gives them the power to change. On the training front, remember usually it’s going to be much cheaper to re-train than to recruit. So, help your people gain the skills they are going to need in the new organisation.
The next post, on Lewin’s third stage – re-freezing, follows shortly.
Wendy Smith is a career consultant, life coach and business coach with depth of experience in management, coaching and personal development. That experience means she is equally at home helping clients find a new career direction, starting-up new businesses or dealing with life’s more challenging personal issues. You can contact her at email@example.com
Wendy has written a little eBook on how to get on with your boss and a book on job search – you can find her books on Amazon at this link