Change Managers are an inspirational bunch. They have the ability to mobilize and energize teams to action, to adopt even the most mundane changes. If you need to get your whole organization excited about tax legislation, hire a Change Manager; they’ll find a way!
But… who inspires Change Managers and keeps them motivated?
Let’s discuss the top three ways your organization can better nurture Change talent and keep them motivated.
1. Set up a Change Community of Practice
Any organization with multiple Change Managers can benefit from a ‘Change Community of Practice’ (COP), also known as a ‘Change Center of Excellence’ (CCOE).
The purpose of a COP/CCOE (pardon the multiple acronyms!) is to create a forum and platform for learning, sharing, and professional development for Change Managers across the organization.
The COP/CCOE may provide training, education, and support to improve organizational change maturity continuously.
Set up monthly meetings where Change Managers can:
- discuss issues and share wins, making the organization more Change-mature.
- share what has worked well
- agree on a standard change delivery framework.
- collaborate on a single view of Change to get an organization-wide roadmap of when changes are happening and identify stakeholder burn-out and change fatigue.
- create a common approach to change and know what to expect from their Change Managers
A COP/CCOE helps formalize Change Management in the organization.
Who runs the COP/CCOE?
In small to medium-sized organizations, the COP/CCOE may be run by a volunteer or group of volunteers.
In large enterprises, the COP/CCOE may be run by an organizer with a formal job function, potentially even supported by a dedicated team.
A well-established COP will be managed by an experienced Change professional who can provide coaching and guidance for any Change Managers needing help.
To learn more about setting up your COP or CCOE, check out this great resource by our friends at the Change Management Review:
2. Acknowledge Change Managers as trusted advisors
Governance and leadership of the Change team varies significantly between organizations. Similarly, the profile that Change Managers carry in the eyes of leaders varies widely across organizations.
In some enterprises, Change Managers are seen as integral members of teams ensuring projects are executed effectively with benefits maximally realised. In other enterprises, there is a lack of understanding around the role that Change Managers play, with their activities and way of work seeming like a ‘dark art’.
Change Managers do their best work in organizations that have clarity around the benefits their work brings to projects.
The role of senior leader sponsorship is the largest determinant of project change success. Similarly, senior leaders can play a significant role in the perception of Change Managers and the Change Management function, by publicly endorsing their contributions and the value of the Change process. Such sponsorship also has a significant impact on Change Manager motivation levels.
Encourage your senior leaders to:
- Publicly recognize Change Managers as knowledgeable support professionals
- Tell the story of how Change Managers were critical to previous successful project implementations
- Position Change Managers as trusted go-to resources
- Prompt leaders to use Change Managers to grow their leadership skills
Valuing and acting on the advice of seasoned change professionals makes projects run more smoothly. Elevating the status of Change professionals in the organization is achieved readily with relatively little input from senior leaders, and yields tremendous benefits in terms of their experience and motivation levels as they are more valued.
Some projects are delivered with Change Management activities being led by leaders, rather than dedicated Change Managers. These ‘leader-led changes’ are typically conducted when the subject area is particularly specialized, and the leaders have technical or subject matter knowledge appreciated by their audience. Audience groups may receive all change communications and directions from their area manager.
In these cases, Change Managers work in the background, acting as advisors to the leader.
While common, leader-led change is not without its challenges. Leaders often zoom ahead, deviating from carefully crafted communication plans, ruining a well-planned strategic change delivery in pieces.
3. Utilize Change Managers as In-House People Experts
Who can benefit from Change Management skills? Almost everyone! Change Managers can be utilized to share & train audiences on their unique blend of skills that them so valuable:
- Understanding audiences
- Crafting & delivering targeted communications
- Holding crucial conversations
- Creating effective presentations
- Engaging senior leaders
These skills, and many others, are second nature to change professionals – and often need to be better demonstrated by others.
In short – position Change Managers as the people experts they are – and lean on them to share their skills with others. Change Management is a skill that can be learned.
In short, Change professionals demonstrate many skills that need to be improved across the organizations. Good leaders should identify, celebrate, and reward change managers for sharing those skills across the organization to grow to change maturity for everyone’s benefit. Learn more about the various roles in Change Management.