Change Agent Tip #4: Be Careful Driving the Bus

Jun 20, 2011 4 Comments by

Sponsors and Change Agents often use a common metaphor when they encourage the targets of their change to “get on the bus before it leaves“.

When it comes to helping people deal with change, the only outcomes worse than seeing stakeholders miss that bus could be seeing them get on the wrong bus or even worse – get hit by the bus.

To avoid these mishaps as you drive your change home, I recommend taking a methodical, 3-wave  approach to engaging your stakeholders:

1. Don’t Let Them Miss the Bus: (Identify Who Needs Training and Support)

Methodically walk through your organization chart and identify everyone who could experience either direct or indirect changes to their business processes, roles and responsibilities, policies, etc. I encourage clients to err on the side of covering too many people early-on and sharpening the list as the change gets more clearly defined.

2. Don’t Let Them Get Hit By the Bus: (Deliver a Regular Stream of 2-Way Communication)

Provide early and continuous communication to warn stakeholders as the change approaches so they can take steps to prepare. Measure the effectiveness of your communications so you can close gaps and correct misconceptions.

3. Get ‘Em On the Right Bus: (Tailor Change-Related Materials Based on Roles)

Be sure that communication and training materials match the different types of stakeholders who are impacted by your change. The roles may break down along business process lines, organizational levels, geographic locations, etc.

For more information on the topic of Stakeholder Mapping, see these previous posts:

  1. Building Stakeholder Readiness for Change
  2. Racers and Pacers: Choosing Change Agents
  3. Five Questions About Your Change


Change Agent Skills, Change Communication, Change Execution, Change Leadership, Stakeholder Readiness, Team Dynamics

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I help people and teams succeed with big changes... never a dull moment!

4 Responses to “Change Agent Tip #4: Be Careful Driving the Bus”

  1. Steve says:

    Good Point Jeff, I hope that’s not the voice of experience speaking… -S

  2. Steve says:

    Thanks Wendy, I guess that’s why guiding Change remains such a busy field for folks like us! :o) -S

  3. Wendy (via LinkedIn) says:

    Key points worth taking to heart. Without these steps, your implementation will teeter on the brink of failure. I’ve seen it too often.

  4. Jeff (via Facebook) says:

    At least if you’re driving it, you can’t be thrown under it.

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