How many times have you had the following discussions in your business ?
If you don’t think it would make a big difference, you need not read further!
In my experience, however, these problems are common, the impact is huge for businesses and the benefits of resolving it are a win, win for everyone.
Long gone are the days when functional expertise was good enough to lead change programmes and the answer does not lie in sending everyone on project management training. This will get you a lot more people who can lead 3-6 month functional projects but it will not increase their motivation to become engaged and will certainly not increase the capability of people to lead longer running major cross functional change initiatives.
What is required is a real mindset or culture change towards Change Management and particularly in terms of the long term development of people skilled in this area. The business has to be serious about how valuable these skills are and position the roles appropriately. It is much more than Project Management and requires change managers to have those stronger, collaborative, strategic and interdependent partnering skillsets that are essential to work at the most senior levels i.e they have to be strong leaders and therefore should be benchmarked and positioned versus other senior leaders. At a minimum, successful change management leaders should be seen to be moving on to other leadership positions rather than what often happens which is “thank you very much, great job, you can now go back to your functional role” !!!
By increasing the status and perception of Change Management Leaders within the organisation will automatically generate a desire to become involved and will encourage people to develop the capabilities required. It only takes a few examples of people doing a great job at leading change and then moving onwards and upwards to inspire others to follow.
With real commitment from the business, change management can be a real breeding ground for strong leaders of the future and before you know it you have a wealth of talent in Change Management Leadership, not only in terms of capability but real desire and passion to invest a couple of years of their career to deliver the most complex and critical programmes to your organisation.
What are your thoughts on IR35 changes and the impact it will have on your business?
In my experience the skills required to implement major change are unlikely to be sitting in business as usual roles within the organisation and so there will always be a need for specialist skills in this area not only to advise on what needs changing but also to help deliver and achieve the expected results. These people should be treated like consultants i.e they should have a specific deliverable and be able to provide terms of reference, milestones and a project plan showing how and when they are going to deliver the required scope of work and be paid accordingly.
I do think, however, that IR35 is an opportunity to reassess whether you are paying for subject matter expertise or skills that should be retained within your organisation rather than lost as soon as an assignment is over. This includes change management and continuous improvement skills where I am an advocate that it is in the best interests of the business and the employees to develop these skills as responsible leaders across the organisation and not just brought in on a temporary basis or contained within in a central project delivery team.
Some people may think that this means I am doing myself out of work but this couldn't be further from the truth. My passion and skill sets are to help businesses kick start their change initiatives using experience and insights I have across industries and to help them develop their people to carry on the good work long after I have left, not to take on a role that an employee could do quite happily.
"Change is in my blood, running through my veins
Change is what I love, nothing stays the same
Let change be in your blood, running through your veins
Make change something you love, let nothing stay the same"