In this era of technology, I am baffled by the current project management statistics; particularly in project performance.
37% always or mostly complete projects on time
35% always or mostly deliver full benefits
42% always or mostly complete on budgetThe State of Project Management Survey 2017 – Wellingtone
Based on the numbers, 63% of projects fail to complete on time; 65% do not deliver full benefits; and 58% will blow their budget. Generally speaking, that means 1 out of 2 projects fail. How is this acceptable? Surely this is a sign that we need to change the way we do projects – because it’s simply not working.
Change Management Methodology
As a change manager, I work with a diverse range of businesses and clients. Each business and client is different and unique in terms of their processes and industry. So how is it that we are only training change managers in one methodology? Managers who are married to just one methodology in their change management are doing their business and clients a disservice. I’m not saying that the old methodology is wrong; I’m saying we need to think broader and be more agnostic when it comes to methodology.
The old methodology may have worked in the past; but businesses today need to make way bigger leaps due to the disruption caused by technological advances. We are no longer in the industrial age – it’s the age of connectiveness.
The methodology for change management needs to be more open-minded in adapting methods from other disciplines. This is to develop a more holistic approach (Read how the sport of Parkour influenced my mindset of change). We should be teaching change managers to adopt more human-centred designs in their methods – because it’s the time for connectiveness. Essentially, the new change methodology requires fluidity and flexibility.
I think the way we have been handling technology projects is a load of crap. Because what happens is big decisions are made at the top and it is handed over to a million contractors without proper coordination and more importantly, an independent perspective. This results in a master-slave relationship between the project team and the change manager.
Based on my 15 years of experience as a change manager, the more independent you are, the better the advice you can give will be. Walking into an engagement with an ’employee’ (or worse, a ‘slave’) mindset, your ability to see the blind spots in the organisation is compromised.
For change to be successfully implemented, both the company and the change manager must be on level playing fields. Basically, your client or organisation needs to be on the same page as you, the change manager. And in certain situations, sometimes establishing independence would mean walking away from a project. Because if your client wants you to work for them and not work WITH you, there is little hope for success in change.
At earth2mars, we are very selective in the clients we accept. Before working with a client, we ask ourselves this:
Do we have the right to be honest, transparent, and independent professionals?
This is because not everyone is ready to work with us for change. Leaders of organisations should care about their people and be committed to change. Otherwise, what is the point of hiring a change manager? If leaders are not committed to change, they would have to learn the hard way. Which essentially means getting burnt before they are ready for our help.
Unless change managers are given the right to be honest, transparent, and independent; we will not be able to give professional advice.
New Modes of Communication
It is not surprising that technology advances has disrupted businesses and how they manage projects. However, it is surprising that many of the clients I work with don’t consider the modalities that people communicate in their social and consumer worlds.
Quite often at meetings I would hear “But we sent that in an email”; guess what, if email isn’t the preferred mode of communication for your staff or clients – it is not effective communication. Considering that the younger generation are starting out in the workplace have grown up with the internet literally in their hands, it is not surprising that their preferred mode of communication would differ from those in the earlier generation. So it is also not surprising that other modes of communication (which are usually instant messaging) like WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Slack, and Linkedin have become the ‘new’ email.
The usage of these platforms will increase communication effectiveness. Having conversations that are organised in a social platform also increases engagement and provides other people (i.e. colleagues) the opportunity to support their co-workers. So gone are the days where you as a change manager sit down and fill out a spreadsheet.
Today it is all about being present, more questioning, and more facilitating of engagements and conversations. Change managers need to be able to combine the art of multiple disciplines and the science of methodology to be effective not only in today’s climate but also for the future.
Change the Modern Martian Way
earth2mars is excited to announce that we are about to launch our change management program for facilitators and trainers. It is designed to help you learn change the modern martian way and tailored to help organisations address culture and technology disruptions.
We built this with the strong belief that everyone has a place in the future. It’s time to do things differently and challenge the old school mindset.
It is important that the people who join this program are future-focused and congruent with our company and brand values, so we ask that you take 5 minutes to fill out this form here.
In the last week we’ve had five clients that have come on board with us after we showed them our approach. This is evidence that businesses and organisations are realising that change is happening rapidly and that they need a change manager who isn’t afraid to grab the controls of the spaceship to direct them towards the stars.