Discover the secrets of managing the people side of change in content projects. This presentation will help you:
• assess and prepare for the impact the change will have on your team and your company
• set up a sponsorship network that has your back and does your bidding
• help resistors move through the change so they don’t sink the ship (do it right and they’ll float your boat).
This presentation is relevant both for agency and in-house content strategists, whether you’re struggling with post-implementation quality decline or are setting off on a brand new project.
Kirk 16 years working in a large Crown Corporation - ICBC - project communications, where I started to see first-hand what a difference managing the people side of change could make to the success of a project. became accredited as a change management practitioner immediately able to put some of those practices to use in my role bringing in a new intranet as a foundational project for a multi-year transformation program – and the changes just kept coming Andrew Worked at ICBC for almost 28 years in various roles including business analysis, business case writing, project management, and of course change management. Strong writing and corporate communications background and have supported many corporate projects in various roles. I tried various roles and enjoyed all of them, but what attracted me to change management was that the people side of change is often glossed over or completely overlooked when organizations implement new systems or procedures. Kirk and I want to tell you more about the change management practice and why we feel it’s an important part of any corporate initiative.
Kirk Keys to successfully managing change Analysing the environment What is the climate for the change? Are people likely to be enthusiastic? Or not so much? Carefully planning the change approach, as part of the overall project plan Setting up your critical sponsorship network Identifying and managing resistance
Andrew The sooner staff can adapt to changes in a company, the better it is for them and the organization. We know some people can do this easier than others; most people can adapt but some need more assistance and time than others.
Kirk and Andrew: Kirk: Change management is what makes the difference between a technical installation, and a successful implementation that considers the human factors for success. Andrew: (explain the engine metaphor) If you think about a car engine, you eventually need to replace parts that no longer work. There is no human element involved; you simply remove the old part and install the new one. When you’re implementing a new system in a company, the technical solution is only part of the scope of the project. You also need to get people using and embracing the new way of doing things. Therefore, a successful implementation also considers and addresses the human element by giving people the support and tools they need to change.
Kirk: Organizations historically focus on installation. As Andrew says, this doesn’t recognize the people side. Whenever there is a new process, system, or change in org structure and responsibilities, the day of “installation” is just the beginning of a successful implementation, where the business objectives are achieved. Why is this shortsighted? Without proper attention to the human side, the investment of time, resources and $$ that has gone into the change is at risk. Unless the people involved are onside with the changes, it will take a much longer time to achieve your business goals, or you won’t meet them at all. It’s like the difference between measuring output, and measuring outcome. In content strategy lingo, if you have a new CMS for product offerings but the people inputting the metadata or writing the product descriptions don’t do an effective job, you’ll never meet the business objectives of making the product easy to discover and purchase. (Tangentially related case in point… Target-in-Canada fiasco)
Andrew Here are the stages of grief, applied to business change. (from slide) Through this process, there’s often a lot of “bad” behaviour: sulking doing things to undermine the project or process Gossip Rumours Etc. Through proper change management support, however, you can help move people along the curve must faster to “acceptance” and “moving on”
Kirk Start with…
Kirk The first step is analysing and defining the change, and planning to manage it.
Andrew First off, need to have a clear understanding of what the change is. Examples of differences: new applications, procedures, org structure, etc. Reason: what is the impetus/motivation for the change? Benefits: important in terms of people&apos;s acceptance (WIIFM?) Measurement examples: how quickly people adjust to new application, processing time, decommissioning of old system, etc. Kirk CS example of type of change: Establishing a customer journey approach to content that requires previous silos, like the marketing department and product development teams, to work in a more coordinated way
Andrew Assess the environment and the team or company’s readiness for change. Different groups could have a very different state of readiness. Helps determine where you’ll put your focus and effort. Change plan is tailored to meet the needs of individual groups. Factors that could adversely affect a positive outcome: (on slide) Other changes at the company Other major events (annual planning, budgeting) Upcoming technology changes Poor change history Ask yourself who needs to be involved. Make sure all the stakeholders who can or may influence – for good or bad – the outcome of the project are consulted and involved.
Andrew In general, there are lots of misunderstandings about change management - what it is/isn&apos;t, and what&apos;s involved CM plans and efforts are scalable based on the specific needs of each project (i.e. degree to which various stakeholders are being impacted) Just like project plans, change plans are, &quot;living, breathing&quot; documents that get modified as needed throughout the course of the project Change plans are incorporated into the overall project plan
Kirk Effective sponsorship is the most important success factor for change management. In a hierarchical company, sponsorship has to work its way down, without any gaps, through each level of management. On Click: And to Andy Warhol’s point: the sponsor has to take an active role. Sponsors have to walk the talk. They need to be present throughout the change.
Kirk To establish a common way of describing the “players” in the change scenario, we talk about 3 different roles: Sponsors Change Agents Targets
Kirk Sponsors must: Authorize, legitimize and demonstrate ownership for the change Personally influence peers and targets Have enough organizational power and influence to: Commit resources in the form of $$ and people Reinforce the change at local levels The type of discussion you’ll have with sponsors: Here’s the plan: do we have your blessing? Do you think this will fly with the other execs? If not, what do we need to change? We want to start this series of meetings with key stakeholders. Are you ready to run interference with your peers? We’d like to get this done by Christmas. Do you see any impediments?
Kirk There are three ways that sponsors can demonstrate support for the change (sponsor alignment) Important to reach people in may different ways to ensure understanding. Talking the talk (least effective, but still highly useful when used appropriately) Town hall – Emails - Webcast/Podcast - Public statements Walking the talk (second best) Decision making (not procrastinating or delegating) Participating in setting priorities – and establishing the change as a high priority Allocating resources Their own daily observable behaviour Reinforcement (most powerful and effective) through: Recognition (personal and public) – “thank you for your leadership, focus and dedication to this change” Rewards (promotion; new role; pay raise or incentive pay; development opportunities) Consequences (making it harder for people to do the “wrong” thing) Metrics (measuring the new, desired behaviour, such as X # of people are now using the new online form to request content updates vs calling the department) Performance management Reinforcement is also an important way to manage resistance, which Andrew will talk about later.
Kirk Change agents: This is typically your role. The change agent is the person responsible for doing the planning and carrying out the plan. The ideal change agent will: From slide Have a network within the company and be seen as a strong contributor with proven leadership qualities Be knowledgeable about the field; believe in the project Have credibility with key sponsors & target groups Be knowledgeable about the business and company strategy Common roadblocks Change agent is assigned based on availability rather than suitability Technically proficient but lacking implementation experience and relationship-building skills Are expected to focus on change management in addition to standard full-time responsibilities
Kirk and Andrew This is a simplified view of what a cascading sponsorship model looks like. (Walk through slide). Andrew: Authorization Street cred – of immediate supervisor/manager – all have to deliver the same message. Also, staff follow/believe messages from their leaders versus from the Change Management resource.
Kirk What happens when the sponsor is not treating their immediate reports (directors, then managers) as targets – that level isn’t able to reinforce the change.
Kirk Content Strategy example; we talked earlier about a hypothetical case where a company is establishing a customer journey approach to content that requires the marketing department and product development teams to work in a more coordinated way. This change is initiated by the Marketing Manager. So first the mktg manager needs to convince the Director (1st target) , then the VP Corporate Affairs (2nd target). VP Corporate Affairs becomes the authorizing sponsor, and needs to convince the VP Operations that this new, consistent approach to the customer’s experience will result in significant business benefits. They then cascade the sponsorship roles down through their directors and managers to the end-targets – the people who will be living the change most directly: the copywriters, videographers, digital comms specialists, social media specialists, product engineers and technical writers. And the Directors and Managers will need to actively take on a sponsorship role – that’s the key. They need to talk the talk, walk the walk, and reinforce the change through performance management, training, consistent messaging, etc.
Kirk So, we’ve talked about how change affects people; the importance of a strong cascading sponsorship model. Now let’s talk about resistance. When people go through the whole Kubler Ross roller coaster of emotions surrounding a change, they’re not willing participants. Here’s the really weird thing. Even if they view the change as a positive one, they will still feel some resistance to it, which will have to be managed. Why? Because resistance is not a function of liking or understanding the change. It is a function of disruption. People carry around a sense of inertia and most people’s initial reaction to change is resistance. So a lot of change management efforts go into understanding and managing that resistance. Even if it’s perceived as a positive change, there’s work to do. The question is not whether we will or will not have resistance, but rather how much, how will we manage it, and how will we pay for it?”
Andrew Resistance is (from slide) Inevitable Natural Manageable An attempt to protect the individual FOR A sign you’ve touched on something important A desire to control the change
Andrew Resistance is not… (from slide) Logical A sign of disloyalty Something to overcome or combat Personal Designed to discredit your competence Indicative of poor performance A sign that the change process is out of control
Andrew It’s vital to expect, plan for, and address resistance head on. Be explicit. Explain the change for each group: how will this affect them, specifically? Make it safe to express resistance; create paths and channels for expression, such as individual discussions, team meetings, Q&A Surface it early and keep it overt; start early – before the change. Be transparent. Identify magnitude of the impact – determine if each issue being raised is confined to a small number of people or most/all people. Take action on the concerns. Things can often be changed, addressed, eliminated. Remember, this is an iterative process. It’s not once and done. Resistance can be managed through involvement, two-way communication, training and reinforcement, which we’ll cover now.
Andrew Opportunities for involvement: (from slide) Defining the problem Developing the solution Designing the approach Planning and/or executing the implementation Advantages of involvement Lessens stress and resistance Builds solutions stronger than any individual idea Gets everyone focused on the road ahead – pulling together.
Andrew Sometimes there&apos;s a mistaken belief that communication = send out an email and that&apos;s it Variety of formats addresses various individual learning styles and also helps to better reinforce the change Right message/audience/time - want to send enough information to each audience and at the appropriate cadence
Andrew (and Kirk) Training is essential to a successful implementation. Whether it’s a new CMS or new content strategy, or both, or… $$ and time need to be built into the planning to ensure the targets are ready and able to work in the new way. Essential to plan for ongoing training and support (to reinforce the messages) Example – City of Surrey Just brought in a new intranet Set up training for authors through the project Continue the training quarterly to ensure people transitioning into an authorship role aren’t left to flounder
Andrew In a nutshell, make it easy to do what’s new, and hard to follow the old way. Celebrate, reinforce, publicize early wins to build momentum Recognize and reward learning and innovation; make it safe to make mistakes while learning Continue to recognize those who surface concerns Provide immediate, positive reinforcement for progress Reward supporters Motivate (don’t punish) resisters Eliminate option of operating successfully in the old way There are only two options: reinforce the status quo, or reinforce the change.
Kirk So how do we know if we’re managing change successfully?
Andrew: Ownership and adoption What are people saying? Are they able to perform the new tasks? Are they performing the new way? Andrew introduce: Plan for Ongoing governance (sponsorship), training, communication, reinforcement… the structure needed to sustain ongoing ownership & adoption
Kirk Things that will get in your way: Lack of sponsor engagement or buy-in A history of doing change badly at the company! Time-&-money constraints – has the sponsor been effective and been able to commit the necessary resources? Assuming what worked in one organization will work in this one Reward and reinforcement systems not aligned
Change management for content strategy projects
Change management for
content strategy projects
How d’you do
Principal, Pedamento Content Strategy
Let’s talk about …
• What change management is – and what it isn’t
• Where does a change plan fit in a project?
• Keys to successfully managing change
• Analysing & planning
• Setting up your vital sponsorship network
• Identifying and managing resistance
What is change management?
And why is it important?
• Makes good business sense
• Understanding – change is difficult
• People need assistance and time to transition
• Change management speeds the process
Defining the change
• The difference between current and future states
• Reasons for the change
• Benefits of the change
• Stakeholder inventory – each group that will be affected
• Measurement – how will we know how successful the change is?
Understanding how each group is feeling about the upcoming
• Supportive and positive?
Factors that could have an impact:
• Other changes at the company
• Other major events (annual planning, budgeting)
• Upcoming technology changes
• Change history
What is a change plan? Where does it
• CM is scalable
• CM is specific to each project
• Change plans are part of a project plan
• They’re flexible, changing to meet
2) Cascading sponsorship
“They always say time changes
things, but you actually have to
change them yourself”
Role of sponsor
•Authorize, legitimize and
•Have enough organizational
power and/or influence to
−initiate resource commitment,
−reinforce the change at the
Sponsors need to be:
• active and visible
Have implementation responsibility through
planning and execution.
•Successful personal and company history
•Knowledgeable about the field; believe
in the project
•Credible with key sponsors and target groups
•Each group affected – including sponsors – are targets
•Targets need to know:
• Benefits - WIIFM
• Is it real (really going to happen)
Content strategy example
VP Corporate Affairs VP Operations
3) Managing resistance
“Taking a new step, uttering a
new word is what people fear
• A sign you’ve touched on something important
• A desire to control the change
• A good thing
Resistance is not…
• A sign of disloyalty
• Something to overcome or combat
• Designed to discredit your competence
• Indicative of poor performance
• A sign that the change process is out of control
Surface and validate
• Explain the change in terms of how it impacts each group
• Make it safe to surface resistance
• Surface it early and keep it overt
• Identify magnitude of the impact
• Take action
• Repeat the process
•Give impacted people
the opportunity for input
•Defining the problem
•Developing the solution
•Designing the approach
•Planning and/or executing the implementation
•A plan to support the change
•Not one-way, top-down
•Not once and done
•Customized for impacted groups
•Variety of formats, channels, media
•Right message, right audience, right time
•Essential for a successful implementation
•Build in $$ and time
•Plan for ongoing
•Reward efforts at adoption
•Increase effort needed to
perform old behaviour
•Increase negative consequences for old
“The world as we have created it
is a process of our thinking. It
cannot be changed without
changing our thinking.”