Change Agent Tip #8: Know What to Manage

Aug 27, 2011 1 Comment by

When it comes to driving significant change in an organization, the old paradigm “…you manage things and you lead people…” is fairly accurate and surprisingly useful.

Today’s tip covers how to recognize which elements of a Change Agent’s work are best addressed by management techniques. My next post will address the elements that require Change Agent leadership.

Six Things Change Agents Should Manage: It should be no surprise that the list of things we should manage is drawn largely from the intersection of change theory and profession of project management. It includes:

1. Detailed Business Process Analysis: Facilitate the work to drive out a clear definition of the stakeholder impacts and potential training needs your overall change may cause.

2. Role Definitions: Capture as precisely as possible, a description of how the organization as a whole – and specific roles in each business process – will function once the change is implemented. Also identify which stakeholders will need to adapt to changes in their roles and which will not be impacted.

3. Communication Activities:  Change Agents should account for the change-related communication – even if they don’t personally deliver the messages. This accounting should include all levels of the organizational chart that need awareness of the change from executives to middle management and field-level stakeholders. Select the “Communications” category above to read several earlier posts on how to successfully execute this communication work.

4. Training: Guide the work needed to define what training is needed to help prepare those impacted by the change. Contribute to the development of training materials and course offerings that will help your impacted stakeholders prepare for the future state.

5. Budgets:  Account for the resources needed to deliver change-related activities. This planning should be coordinated with the Project Manager as a part of overall project planning. I stress this point because in some cases, the Change Agents may be the only team members who have enough domain expertise and impact awareness to define the budget needs for these particular activities.

6. Plans and Schedules: Of course all of the change-related activities described above should be documented in the overall project plan. While the Project Manager may maintain these documents, the definition and tracking should at least have strong input from the Change Agents.

Summary: Knowing what things to manage can help clarify the Change Agent’s role and make the team’s change-related work more tangible. Solid execution of the work you plan will be one key to the successful implementation of your change.

In my next post I will list the top areas where Change Agents need to focus on leading people as opposed to managing things.


Question for Chatter:

  • What can Change Agents do if they are not given control of the activities described above?  

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

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

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