December 14, 2017


Project management advice, tips, tools and recommended resources for existing and aspiring project managers.

The Top Management Models for Fast-pacing Change in Business

Business executives believe that organizations need to adapt to change in order to have a competitive advantage. Change management programs involve organizational buy-in, design of change initiatives and seamless implementation of those initiatives. In a survey of North American executives, 54 percent stated they have successfully rolled out change management initiatives at their organizations. However, employees can be weary of change if they do not fully understand the initiatives and have experienced past change program failures. In fact, 48 percent of employees think their organizations lack the capabilities to sustain change initiatives.

For businesses to be successful, executives have to create management strategies that promote staff retention, revenue generation and a positive workplace culture. All employees have to support the change programs for business to have success in the future. Some of the common change models include Holocracy, the McKinsey 7-S and Kotter’s 8-step change initiative.

#1 Holocracy

Holocracy philosophy is the distribution of power to specific teams and employees at all levels are subject to the same rules. Organizations using Holocracy are more adaptive to change and have a clearer company mission with built-in reassessment to address future issues.

#2 McKinsey 7-S model

The McKinsey 7-S model uses strategy, structure, management activities, core values, style, capability of employees and competencies to see how the organization works. The model eases change transition and equalizes staff roles.

#3 Kotter 8-step Change Model

Kotter’s 8-step Change Model creates a sense of urgency, builds change teams, forms a strategic vision, enlists volunteers, empowers action, produces short-term wins, supports acceleration and incorporates change. This model is easy for businesses to adopt even in traditionally hierarchical systems.

Traditional management practices are bogging businesses down and make them unable to compete in today’s global market. Executives have to prepare their teams to adapt to these change models so they can control the implementation process and enhance business benefits. To learn more about the top business management models for effective management, check out the infographic below created by the New Jersey Institute of Technology’s Online Master of Business Administration program.

Project Manager versus Change Manager Skills

change manager skillsMost experienced project managers will know that effective Change Management has become essential in delivering successful projects. The question is what type of skills does a Change Manager need to be effective and how are those skills different from project manager skills?

The answer can be found in a report published by Afro Ant, as the outcome of a conversation attended by change managers and project managers in September 2014. You will find the summary of the change manager skills as well as a comparison of different focus areas between project and change managers.

Definition of Change Management

Change management is a combination of science and art – in the practice of change management, the “what” is often a science, but much of the “how” will always remain an art, as much a function of who you are than of what you know.

How does the role of a Change Manager typically differ from the role of a Project Manager?

The main differences lie in their focus areas. The project manager will focus on delivery on time, within budget, of specified quality and to the satisfaction of stakeholders. The change manager will focus on systematically managing the change as to minimise the impacts and to maximise the benefits. Project are ultimately about change in order to deliver benefits. See the comparison at the end.

Skills of a Good Change Manager

Operationally a change manager requires a very  good understanding of change management principles and associated theory, methodology, techniques and tools, and the ability to apply these in a practical and flexible manner.

Then facilitation skills, influencing skills, strong conceptual and analytical thinking skills need to be present.

Change managers need to quickly understand what their projects are about and develop appropriate change management strategies and plans. You need to translate the real change into communication that all stakeholders will understand. You need to engage with the project team in a constructive manner.

With project management and planning skills, you also need Business acumen: demonstrated ability and experience in understanding business strategy, structure, processes and enabling technologies.

In addition, a change manager must have the ability to handle significant pressure and to persevere, meaning to stay focused and to maintain a positive energy level despite setbacks. You need the ability to learn from problems and to see tasks and projects through to completion.

Passion and Maturity

A change manager will have passion to deliver to standards of excellence. You need a proven ability to manage quality of own and others’ work. You need appropriate and effective prioritisation and self-management. This includes the ability to work to deadlines and a commitment to deliver on time.

A change manager will be decisive and assertive, innovative with problem solving skills, as well as administrative skills. You need to be able to manage ambiguity and to create order and structure.

People Skills

A change manager definitely requires above average ability to work with people, to have empathy and to establish trust and rapport. You need insight into individual and team dynamics and the ability to establish trust with senior leadership.

Effective conflict resolution and negotiation skills are required to build relationships, to establish rapport and relate to people in an open, friendly manner while showing sincere interest in others. You will have the ability to build and maintain mutual trust.


You need proficient language skills, the ability to recognise and use the appropriate interpersonal styles and communication methods to ensure understanding acceptance of a change, idea, plan or product.

For communication you need business writing skills, effective listening, presentation development and delivery. Effective use of tools like MS PowerPoint, Word, Excel and Outlook. Even some-time learn the basics of pogrammes like Frontpage or Access.

Other skills would include:

  • Self-starter, being self‐motivated
  • Resourceful and crea7ve
  • Ambitious and hard-working
  • Strongly disciplined
  • Achievement orientated
  • Assertiveness
  • Reliable
  • Practical and pragmatic
  • Flexible /adaptable
  • Reasonable and open-minded
  • Energetic and positive


Above all a change manager needs to be passionate about the work they’re doing. The ability to engage authentically will bring you far. That means to bring yourself into the work that you do. It requires honesty, openness, congruence, self-insight and that you are okay enough with whom you are to share that with the people you deal with in your work as a change manager.

Change manager vs Project manager skills

Change manager vs Project manager skills

Please subscribe to Virtual Project Consulting (top right) not to miss future articles.

Change Management Process – Measuring Return on Investment (ROI) Part 2

Change management ROIMany people believe that an effective Change Management process, has become essential in delivering successful projects and getting a return on investment. This is Part 2 on a series about Change Management Processes. In this article we look at how to measure your return on investment (ROI). Part 1 was about the expected benefits from effective change management

Projects bring about change. Whether it is new technology, updated systems, or changes to processes – if there are people involved, they will most likely need to be doing something differently for the project to realise its benefits. By understanding the benefits of implementing Change Management properly, as outlined in the previous article, you can then determine whether the cost spent on Change Management yields a favourable return.

How to measure ROI

To show if something has improved or worsened, you need to measure it against a baseline. Here are a few ideas to do that.

#1 Adoption and Usage rate

In the case of a new or modified system, you can evaluate how many people are using the new system or following the new process.

#2 Customer service feedback

Organisations would be aiming for an improvement in customer service. You can measure the success of an implementation by measuring customer satisfaction. Customer service levels could be measured before the change, after implementation and after some time has passed.

#3 Assessing the productivity

Employee productivity could be assessed before, during and after the change to assess impact on productivity or service levels.

#4 Feedback from affected parties

Survey stakeholders before, during and after the implementation to provide insights into readiness for change and the likelihood of success of the change.

#5 Staff retention

Compare staff retention rates before, during and after implementation. If more key staff are leaving during implementation it may highlight an issue that needs to be addressed.

The most accurate way to measure Change Management ROI depend on each individual change situation. Therefor the ideas stated above should be considered as a starting point to measure ROI.

Please subscribe to Virtual Project Consulting (top right) not to miss the next article on Change Management, Project Management and other related topics.

Change Management Process – Benefits and Project Impact

Benefits of change managementMany people believe that an effective Change Management process, has become essential in delivering successful projects and getting a return on investment.

In answer to the question if there is a Return on Investment for Change Management, we can turn to a Report that was published by Afro Ant in April 2014. This report was the output of an Ant Conversation, hosted by Afro Ant (and co-sponsored by Old Mutual) which was attended by 24 professionals who work in the field of Change Management or work closely with Change Managers. This conversation, centered around ROI, encouraged the sharing of insights, opinions, and lessons learned from working in the field of Change Management – specifically around the benefits of implementing Change Management properly, the negative effects if this is not done, and how the ROI on Change Management can be measured.

This is the first of a series of 3 articles about the Change Management process. It will cover the benefits of change management, ideas for how to measure return on investment (ROI) and negative effects of insufficient change management.

What is Change Management

Change management can be defined as a framework for managing the effect of new business processes, systems and structures or culture changes to achieve a required business outcome.

Directed change can be defined as the change in business and operational practices that is required to ensure the sustained realisation of business outcomes. It’s implemented within constraints.

It’s important to understand the objectives and scope of the change and what the expected benefits of the implementation are in order to determine if you’re doing the right things and doing them well. A measurement for the effectiveness is also needed.

Benefits of Change Management

When we talk about Change Management and its benefits, there is a distinct link back to how Change Management is managed. Some of the benefits of Change Managements are easily recognised, but there are other benefits that are not as overt, but would have a bigger impact on your project. When you implement change management you can expect some of, although not limited to, the following benefits:

#1 It will give you a structured approach to change

In addition change management will assist in managing the transition.

#2 Benefit realisation

If a change (to adopt a new way of working) is not managed properly, many of the benefits may not be realised.

#3 Change management will provide effective communication.

That means the ability to provide clear and consistent communication so that individuals involved in, or impacted by the change, know what they need to know, when they need to know and are able to work towards adopting the change.

#4 Role Clarity

Change managers work with the project and leadership team to confirm roles and responsibilities, and guidelines so that stakeholders understand what is expected of them and when.

#5 Making change sustainable

Structured management of change support working with stakeholders to make sure that the change is sustainable and that it lasts. A key element of this is to transfer knowledge from the project to the stakeholders, equipping them with the skills they may need to maintain the change.

#6 Stakeholder involvement

Change should be done with people. It gives people being impacted a voice and makes them part of the change initiative. Stakeholder buy-in and leadership engagement in driving the change has been identified as a driver for success.

#7 Leadership involvement

Change management focuses on ensuring that change leaders are enabled and empowered to lead.

#8 Faster adoption

Managing the change brings faster more visible adoption of the new way of working and user proficiency.

#9 Impact on Productivity

Change management aims to minimise the impact on stakeholders and the disruption to daily operations.

Any project manager who has ever worked on projects that required change interventions, can attest to the value of change management and the positive impact that effective change management had on successful project delivery.

Please subscribe to Virtual Project Consulting (top right) not to miss the next article in the Change Management series.

Change Management Strategies – Stakeholder Analysis and Mapping

3 Key Questions to Ask

During a Change Management initiative, an important aspect of Programme Management is Stakeholder Analysis and Mapping. This is all about: “Who is this change going to affect and how are they going to react, and what do we have to do to support them?”.

How well you listen to and respond to ALL of your stakeholders’ issues is a significant measure of the effectiveness of your management of these relationships. As a project/programme manager of change, it is important to be seen doing stakeholder relationship management.

Leadership skills make a big difference to successfully managing stakeholder relationships. This is where the management of expectations matters. Here are 3 key questions to address in managing expectations in a change management initiative, and specifically in relation to your employees.

1. Do your people really know what is expected of them?

Do your people know how to translate the high level vision and strategy into actionable steps? People are very different in the ways they process information, interpret life, and in the ways they are motivated. Many (probably most) of them are not able to make the leap from hearing and understanding your vision and strategy to translating that into purposeful productive action. This does not mean that they don’t understand it, or agree with it, but it does simply mean that the leap is too great for most people to make – without your practical assistance.

2. Do they know what they can expect from you?

It is extremely important to that they know that you will work with them in “grinding out” in practical, manageable detail what the high level strategy, vision, values things actually mean for them as the “troops” in action.

3. Do they know what is expected of each other?

They also need to know what these actionable steps mean for them in terms of what they can and should expect from each other.

In the end it boils down to effective communications management, as well as following stakeholder management best practices.

Not to miss any of these Change Management and how it relates to Project Management articles, please subscribe to Virtual Project Consulting’s RSS feed.

Source: Strategies for managing change by Stephen WarrilowChange Management Expert

If you want to work with Stephen Warrilow, take advantage of his 7 FREE “How to Do It” downloads that will take you through all of the key stages of “How to manage change” – and show you how to manage change successfully.

5 Principles Of A Good Change Management Communication Strategy

Communication Strategy- Say what you mean and mean what you say

When change is initiated through projects, a good Communication Strategy is at the heart of any successful change management process. It is important that an effective communication strategy is defined about the reasons, the benefits, the plans and proposed effects of that change. This Communication Strategy should be maintained throughout the duration of the change management programme.

Your communication strategy needs to address the key questions:

  • What are the objectives?
  • What are the key messages?
  • Who are you trying to reach?
  • What information will be communicated?
  • When will information be disseminated, and what are the relevant timings?
  • How much information will be provided, and to what level of detail?
  • What mechanisms will be used to disseminate information?
  • How will feedback be encouraged?
  • What will be done as a result of feedback?

Your communication strategy needs to address the key EMOTIONAL questions

William Bridges focuses on the emotional and psychological impact and aspect of the change through these 3 simple questions:

(1)  What is changing? Bridges offers the following guidance – the change leader’s communication statement must:

  • Clearly express the change leader’s understanding and intention
  • Link the change to the drivers that make it necessary
  • Sell the problem before you try to sell the solution
  • Not use jargon

(2)  What will actually be different because of the change? Bridges says: “I go into organizations where a change initiative is well underway, and I ask what will be different when the change is done-and no one can answer the question… a change may seem very important and very real to the leader, but to the people who have to make it work it seems quite abstract and vague until actual differences that it will make begin to become clear. It should be priority to get those differences clear”

(3)  Who’s going to lose what? Bridges maintains that the situational changes are not as difficult for companies to make as the psychological transitions of the people impacted by the change. Transition management is all about seeing the situation through the eyes of the other guy. It is a perspective based on empathy. It is a management and communication process that recognizes and affirms people’s realities and works with them to bring them through the transition. Failure to do this, on the part of change leaders, and a denial of the losses and “lettings go” that people are faced with, sows the seeds of mistrust.

5 guiding principles of a good change management communication strategy

So, in summary the 5 guiding principles of a good change management communication strategy are as follows:

  • Clarity of message – to ensure relevance and recognition
  • Resonance of message – the emotional tone and delivery of the message
  • Accurate targeting – to reach the right people with the right message
  • Timing schedule – to achieve timely targeting of messages
  • Feedback process – to ensure genuine two way communication

Not to miss any of these Change Management and how it relates to Project Management articles, please subscribe to Virtual Project Consulting’s RSS feed.

Source: Strategies for managing change by Stephen WarrilowChange Management Expert

If you want to work with Stephen Warrilow, please visit www.strategies-for-managing-change to learn how to manage change successfully.

Acquired Needs Theory of Motivation – Leaders that are good Change Agents

What Is Acquired Needs Theory of Motivation? Acquired needs theory of motivation - Leaders that are good change agents

By Stephen Warrilow

Today Stephen provides us with an interesting perspective on how aquired needs theory of motivation shows which leaders make good change agents in a change management initiative.

Acquired Needs Theory describes three types of motivational needs: Achievement, Authority and Affiliation.

These were first identified and described and by David McClelland in “The Achieving Society” [1961]. David McClelland was a pioneer in the field of workplace motivational thinking, and was a proponent of competency-based assessments in favour of IQ and personality based tests.

In summary, the acquired needs theory states that needs are formulated over time by our experiences. We will tend to have one of these needs that affects us more powerfully than others and thus affects our behaviours, and they fall into three general categories of needs:

(1) Achievement

Achievers seek to excel and appreciate frequent recognition of how well they are doing. They will avoid low risk activities that have no chance of gain. They also will avoid high risks where there is a significant chance of failure.

(2) Affiliation

Affiliation seekers look for harmonious relationships with other people. They will thus tend to conform and shy away from standing out. The seek approval rather than recognition.

(3) Power

Power seekers want power either to control other people (for their own goals) or to achieve higher goals (for the greater good). They seek neither recognition nor approval from others -only agreement and compliance.

Acquired needs theory focuses on those with an achievement motivation, and David Mclelland stated as a result of his experiments and research that:

(1) Most people do not possess a strong achievement-based motivation

(2) Those people who do, display a consistent behaviour in setting goals.

Acquired needs theory indicates the following characteristics and attitudes of achievement-motivated people:

  • Achievement of objectives matters more than material or financial reward
  • Greater personal satisfaction is felt by achieving the goal than from receiving praise or recognition
  • Money is regarded as a measure of success, but not the end in itself
  • Neither status nor security are prime motivations
  • Accurate quantitative feedback is essential, because it enables measurement of success
  • Achievement-motivated people constantly looking for ways of doing things better
  • Achievement-motivated people will gravitate towards jobs and responsibilities that challenge them and satisfy their needs – for example sales and business leadership and management
  • Achievement-motivated people have the capacity to set high personal goals that they believe to be attainable

Applying Acquired Needs Theory to Change Management

Acquired needs theory indicates that people with a strong need for achievement, make the best leaders – provided they develop the people skills necessary to get the best results from their people.

So find the people who are achievement oriented and who have the necessary people skills and encourage them into a small team to help lead and manage your change initiative.

Not to miss any of these Change Management and how it relates to Project Management articles, please subscribe to Virtual Project Consulting’s RSS feed.

If you want to work with Stephen Warrilow, take advantage of his 7 FREE “How to Do It” downloads that will take you through all of the key stages of “How to manage change” – and show you how to manage change successfully.  Change Management Expert

About the author:

Stephen Warrilow, based in Bristol, England, works with companies across the UK providing specialist support to directors delivery significant change initiatives. Stephen has 25 years cross sector experience with 100+ companies in mid range corporate, larger SME and corporate environments.


What Is Change Management And How To Approach It?

What does change management mean to project managers and why do they need it?  Leading change management

By Stephen Warrilow

Change management is often at the heart of project delivery in that many business projects bring about change in organisations which usually affects people or processes or both. For this reason it is of utmost importance that project managers should understand the business of change management. You will feel less like a “tree with a tie” if you understand change management and know how to lead a change initiative.

There are 2 quite different streams of thought that have shaped the practice of change management.

(1) The engineer’s approach to business improvement with the focus on business process.

(2) The psychologist’s approach to understanding human responses to change with the focus on people.

As Michael Hammer, co-author of “Re-engineering the Corporation”, has said about the people issues: “the human side is much harder than the technology side and harder than the process side. It’s the overwhelming issue.”

The single biggest reason for the astonishingly high 70% failure rate of ALL business change initiatives has been the over-emphasis on process rather than people – the failure to take full account of the impact of change on those people who are most impacted by it.

Closely allied to that reason is the lack of process to directly address the human aspects of change.

A program management based approach to change

The traditional project approach to change management – sees it as a set of tasks which if executed successfully get a result. In other words the typical process led approach which has failed so consistently and so spectacularly over the last 20 years.

In contrast, I advocate a program based approach to change management because, based on my experience, I have found that:

  • It is holistic and takes a wider perspective
  • It focuses you on addressing issues and aspects that otherwise get overlooked
  • It addresses the people impacts and issues arising as a direct and indirect result of your change initiative
  • It addresses the fundamental questions that people ask: “What is changing, when and why?” and “How is going to affect me?” and “How are you going to manage this?”

Universal change management principles

The broad principles of how you approach any business initiative or any activity that may require or instigate change are universal:

(1)  Clarity in all areas – especially of the business need for the change, of the specifics of the change, the benefits of the change, and the impacts of the change.

(2)  Communication – constant communication – two-way communication – communication that explains clearly what is change management and what is happening or not happening and why. Communication that listens actively and demonstrates to people that you have thought through the impacts of the change on them, and that you are prepared to work with them to achieve their buy-in and commitment to the change.

(3)  Consistency – in all aspects of the way in which you lead the change – manage the delivery – handle the communication – and ensure the realization of the benefits.

(4)  Capability – constant attention to the management of the tasks, activities, projects and initiatives that are delivering the capabilities into your organization that will deliver the benefits that you are seeking. Ensuring that your people have the full resources and capabilities they need to support them through the change.

Key success factors in change management

For change management to work, it requires careful focus on these key factors that will determine the success of your change initiative:

(1) Determining that you are embarking on a change that sits outside of business as usual and needs to be handled as a specific initiative

(2) The quality of leadership that you provide

(3) Using a program management based approach to your change initiative and how you define change management for your organization

(4) The thoroughness of your pre-program review and planning process

(5) The extent to which you identify and address the cultural change in your organization that is required to deliver the change and the desired business benefit.

So this is how I define change management:

“It’s all about people – and processes that work for people.”

Not to miss any of these Change Management and how it relates to Project Management articles, please subscribe to my RSS feed.

If you want to work with Stephen Warrilow, take advantage of his 7 FREE “How to Do It” downloads that will take you through all of the key stages of “How to manage change” – and show you how to manage change successfully.  Change Management Expert

About the author:

Stephen Warrilow, based in Bristol, England, works with companies across the UK providing specialist support to directors delivery significant change initiatives. Stephen has 25 years cross sector experience with 100+ companies in mid range corporate, larger SME and corporate environments.

Also have a look at this useful article:
Driving change in times of ambiguity

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...