It’s amazing how people who don’t do ‘Change Management’ can make change happen! I was recently asked to facilitate a team meeting within a client’s Kick-Off event based upon ‘Change Management’. None of those present were ‘Change Champions’, Project Managers’ or held ‘black-belt’ titles in anything work related. They are just a group of hard working people who are responsible for creating and driving improvement changes within the business during 2010, whilst keeping on top of the day-job. Here’s how we tackled the challenge.

This is a medium sized business where every minute matters; they do not have a Project Management Office (PMO) and they can not take people away from the front line to drive the initiatives full-time. Following earlier work with them, the senior team agreed that successful delivery of the agreed initiatives would be incentivised and the appropriately categorised and calendared activities would be protected and respected by default within the business.

Given that I was only going to have a couple of hours with them during their kick-off, a full blown session on ‘Creating, executing and delivering Change Management’ was never going to work – no matter how powerful (or pompous) it sounded!

Luckily a friend had recently passed me a copy of John Kotter’s excellent little book ‘Our Iceberg is Melting’ which I had never read before. Like most people with a professional interest in productivity, I am aware of Kotter’s 8 step process for managing change within organisations (see below). And have well annotated copies of his ‘Leading Change’ and ‘Heart of Change’ books on my ‘Trusted Resources’ book shelves.

‘Our Iceberg is melting’ is an excellent little book, a fable about a colony of emperor penguins whose iceberg home was in danger of collapse and who, therefore had to find a new home – fast!
It is also a fast read – 160 pages of large type with plenty of attractive colour pictures (it is a fable after all!) – a 60 minute read, max.

That little book became the pre-work and the workbook for my session. And what a session it was. Insights, inspiration, energy and processes flowed and were slotted into Kotter’s 8 step structure. This, along with our earlier work on ‘Teamworking’ and ‘Managing projects alongside the day-job’ generated a lot of practical take-aways from the session.

My own learning from this?

  1. Always investigate book suggestions from people who seem to know what they are talking about.
  2.  Stories can be truly powerful learning tools in their own right. I deliberately avoided introducing any additional concepts into my session.
  3. Most people have most of the answers to most of their problems most of the time.
  4. I will keep more up-to-date on writers I respect. Why didn’t I know Kotter wrote a book called ‘A sense of Urgency’ in 2008? Especially as urgency, workloads, priorities and projects are in my DNA!

Kotters 8 steps can be read and expanded from here:

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