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Managing Change and Tackling the Its Not My Job Syndrome


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The CEO of a large building services firm pulled up Joe in the corridor. “You were supposed to bring back in-house asbestos removal services so that our guys can do this work. Sally now tells me we’re still receiving invoices for external contractors doing these jobs. What the heck are you doing?” Joe yelled back, “I did what you asked. I designed the new system. It’s not my job to make sure that your supervisors pass on the work to our guys!”

Do these tensions surface in your change program? Many change initiatives implode spectacularly or die a slow death because roles and accountabilities are left unclear or ambiguous. For your program to succeed, you will need to identify and communicate the various role responsibilities of all the people required to see your program through.

The Key Change Roles

The roles you will actually need will depend on a number of variables. However, generally speaking, a change role may be one of four types:

Change Driver: -the principle cause and motivator of change

Change Implementer: -manages and performs tasks to bring about change

Change Enabler: -sets up environments so that change can happen

Change Recipient: -expected to behave differently in the changed organization

Who are the people that fill each of these role types? Let’s look at each one in turn. The key driver roles for organizational change are:

Change Leader

The change leader should be sufficiently senior in the organization to be able to command resources and the attention of the executive team. The change leader has a strong personal commitment to the success of the program and is the principal trouble-shooter.

Program Sponsor

The program sponsor is the executive’s representative for ensuring that the appropriate resources are committed, problems are solved and the program succeeds.

Steering Committee

Steering Committee members share overall responsibility for the success of the program with the Program Sponsor. The committee typically represents the key stakeholders and reviews regularly the progress of the project.

The key implementer roles include:

Project Manager

The project manager has overall responsibility for detailed planning and implementation of one or more components of the change program.

Project Team Members

Project team members are responsible for completing various project activities.

The key enabler roles include:

Middle Managers

Middle managers are responsible for supporting and communicating change initiatives and allocating the resources required within their area of control.


Frontline supervisors and team leaders are the face of the organization to employees and serve a critical role in supporting, consoling and coaching employees throughout the change process.

The change recipients roles will include people at various levels within the organization, from frontline workers expected to use the new accounting system to managers required to report regularly on its outputs.

Tips for Working With Roles and Responsibilities

Now that you have a structure to work with, how can you use this to make sure that your change initiative stays on track? Here are some useful tips that you can use in your current program.

* Write up project and operations plans that define clearly who will fill each role and their specific accountabilities.

* Make up a task schedule that spells out who will perform each task and the expected completion date.

* Sit down with each person and engage them in a two-way conversation to ensure mutual understanding of their role, responsibilities and tasks.

* In selecting for the key driver roles, select people that are genuinely supportive of the proposed changes. These roles should always be filled voluntarily.

* In selecting for team membership roles, such as on project teams and working groups, include opinion leaders in the organization and skeptics that you need to win over. Sometimes, giving objectors a say in how things are done can lead to these resisters becoming your greatest allies.

* Check that you have covered adequately the two areas of accountability; change management/project implementation activities and new operational activities. The former activities deal with moving from where you are now to the new way of working. The latter involves activities within the new way of working. Many organizations spend considerable effort getting to where they want to be, but leave employees, customers and suppliers wondering to where it is they have arrived.

* Perform a skills gap analysis on each role in your change program. Each role requires its own set of skills. Performing a gap analysis will ensure that occupiers of each role have the required skills for their allocated tasks. A skills gap analysis works by identifying which skills are required, which skills the person currently possesses and the gap between the two that requires filling.

About the Author

Vicki Heath is the Director of Business Performance Pty Ltd, a company providing practical online information and resources in a range of business areas, including training and development. Her company's guides, tools and templates assist organizations engage and develop people, manage organizational change and improve project delivery.

Proven experts in the following areas: project management, change management, strategic planning, business process re-engineering, culture surveys, organizational communication, training and development, business performance measurement, employee performance management, leadership and team development, organizational capability and learning, coaching and mentoring.

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Article Published/Sorted/Amended on Scopulus 2006-09-08 20:01:25 in Employee Articles

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