Prosci’s 2011 Best Practices in Change Management benchmarking study has reinforced the value of effective change management.

For the seventh consecutive study, active and visible executive sponsorship was identified as the greatest contributor to success. The second through fifth contributors to success paralleled the findings from the 2009 benchmarking study:

1. Active and visible executive sponsorship
2. Frequent and open communication about the change
3. Structured change management approach
4. Dedicated change management resources and funding
5. Employee engagement and participation
6. Engagement with and support from middle management

It was found that projects with effective change management programs were more likely to meet objectives, stay on schedule and stay on budget than those without effective change management. Projects with excellent change management programs were nearly six times more likely to meet or exceed their objectives than those with poor change management programs.

As in previous studies, an employee’ s supervisor was seen as the preferred sender of personal messages while senior leaders were identified as the preferred senders of business-level or organisational-level messages about why the change was needed. A principle that has been constantly repeated in every study since my university days! 

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“By three methods we may learn wisdom: First, by reflection, which is noblest; second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third by experience, which is the bitterest.”

According to that great oracle ‘Wikipedia’, “The core of Confucianism is humanism, the belief that human beings are teachable, improvable and perfectible through personal and communal endeavour especially including self-cultivation and self-creation.”

I was reflecting on these principles and how in today’s workplace we tend to have them in reverse, with a primary focus on learning by doing, trying things out, or trial and error.

So, how could we follow these principles in practice?  Here’s some ideas….

Reflection

Weekly reflection on what worked well and what could be done differently or better

Weekly reflection meetings with team members on events of the past week and what was experienced and learnt

 Imitation

Looking for best practice / role models in your field and adopting some of their methods

Learning and adoption of your organisation’s cultural traits and working in a way that reflects those values (assuming they are aligned with your own values of course)

Experience

Active experimentation

Learning by doing

Testing change management, communication and training methods with your colleagues to fine-tune and improve them

I think Michael Lewis is one of the most gifted financial writers there is.  His articles on Vanity Fair are essential reading if you want to try and understand the global world of finance and the current madness.

http://www.vanityfair.com/contributors/michael-lewis

I was in a project zone workshop today where a group of IT project managers asked about how to ensure their system implementations were successful for the end users.  Well, that required a rather lengthy answer! In a nutshell though, I think it comes down to confidence and trust.

Each person needs to feel confident that they have the required skills and knowledge to effectively use the system from day 1 and they also need to trust that its robust and accurate in its operation.

I find the best way to help build trust and confidence is by involving people at various stages along the development path. People often resist change simply because they were not part of the decision-making or implementation design process. And then, using every communication channel to engage and involve people in the project.

John Kotter’s 8-Step Process for Leading Change remains a great approach for ensuring buy-in and success for a project. Here is a summary for you:

 http://kotterinternational.com/kotterprinciples/changesteps

The Young Garvan committee is looking forward to a fantastic 2012. Our first event of the year sees us setting sail for Treasure Island for a special summer party on Saturday 25 February 2012.

Come celebrate the last days of summer on board “The Island”, a luxury floating entertainment palace on Sydney Harbour. This unique five star fundraising event is in aid of the Young Garvan Fellowship, which supports young scientists at the Garvan Institute of Medical Research.

Plus you get to dress up in in your favourite pirate costumes for a fun day of fine wines, food and entertainment.

There’s lots of surprises in store and plenty of treasure in our fundraising raffle. DJ, fashion parade and some special guests will be announced soon for this epic 7 hr party.

Location: The Island,AtholBay(near Taronga Zoo),SydneyHarbour.

Registration details

The Australian Financial Review had a great article on Australian stereotypes in their December 2011 holiday edition.  I was particularly amused by the all too true ‘Happy Whinger’ character.

A great article in Forbes magazine, looking at the seven habits unsuccessful executives…and how to avoid them.

Forbes Magazine (Jan 2012)