The Project Management Institute – UK Chapter hosted a webinar today on Change Management called Back to Square 2 hosted by Laurent Nicourt.

The webinar started with the straight forward concept that if change is not enforced, humans tend to go back to their old habits. The change curve is what Laurent started his presentation with.

Change Curve
Fig 1.0 Change Curve as present by Laurent N.

In any change aspect, things have to go bad before they improve. This is because it takes time for change to become sustainable. Project Managers are highly asked to be respected and trusted and not liked is what Laurent advised.

Laurent stated that every single individual in the project team reacts to change in their own ways. This is a very true observation especially while compared with project team management and the theories that play a role in team’s building and their culture integration. You can read more about that topic in my three series blog of Project Teams

Understanding how each team member responds to change helps the project manager decide on which individual to consider to rely on when change is about to happen. The elimination process begins with those individuals who the project manager is still not sure how they will respond. The final selection would be mainly on those who adapt quicker, more robust and have the knowledge that will enable them to respond positively to change and respond quicker to it.

One of the things that particularly got my attention is when Laurent started talking about what team needs are and the fifth need is their Psychological Safety. This is in line with my research I am doing to address project teams wellbeing and ensure that productivity is enhanced to achieve project scope, budget and schedule.

A Google study of productive teams done between 2013 and 2015 showed that it is how the team interacts with each other that matters and not who is in the team.

Laurent continued to speak about the three factors to consider in any change project:

  1. Law of the Few: make sure respect is between the entire team and everyone feels heard and can contribute (not just the loudest)
  2. Stickiness Factor: Core values should be supplementary, temporarily, essential and built from them as bottom up
  3. Build Momentum: make sure you celebrate successes no matter how small they are to keep the team focused on perspective.

Change is hard not because the lack of strategy or vision, but because change creates discomfort, description and new discipline that will be hard for people to adapt to because the reward and benefit is in the future (Meister, 2008).

Laurent used a great analogy on Change Management and how it is the result that Project Managers aim for.

Part of the sickness factor is to ensure that lessons are not only identified but also learnt and impact the new behaviours.

In summary, things will get bad before the improve, not everyone will like us, but trust will help us achieve a lot, always consider people you can rely on during the change process. (in the search of the perfect team – NY times).

I asked Laurent: Engaging the team in this way will no doubt impact their productivity positively. When you started the process, how long did it take your team to absorb these and adapt to them for their productivity levels to reflect accordingly?

He said the key thing is to focus on building trust. In the case study he brought to the talk, it talk him six months to build trust. That happened when he stepped and cared as a human to his team’s welfare during a natural weather disaster. Once the team trusted, in few weeks time, their productive work started to reflect.

All in all, this was a great webinar and ended up with some interesting books added to my reading list that will no doubt come in handy with my organisational change journey.

Books added to my reading lists:

  • The Tipping Point, Malcolm Gladwell (2001)
  • Strategy and the Fast Smoker, David Maister (2008)
  • What Google Learnt from its Quest to Build the Perfect Team, Charles Duhigg New York Times (2016): https://www.nytimes.com/2016/02/28/magazine/what-google-learned-from-its-quest-to-build-the-perfect-team.html

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.