There are two basic ways to get people to do what you want: tell them and ask them. Actually, telling people is incredibly effective and works more often that you might expect. Tell is really the tool of the manager. I remember when I first became a manager (actually I received the badge of being a manager, it is not the same as doing management) the first question I had for my manager was: ‘how do I get people to do things?’ to which his simple answer was ‘just tell them’; it was my first lesson in effective communication! Unfortunately, a change manager is not a line manager so the tell option is not so effective and the ask option is much more likely to be used. How can a change manager ask people to change? The answer must be in the change manager’s ability to persuade people to change. Based on an article in the HBR by Robert Cialdini here are six Principles of Persuasion that can extend the persuasive powers of a change manager.
Mid Level Managers as Superhero
In a recent blog post on the Harvard Business Review web site Behnam Tabrizi reported on some research he had undertaken on why change and innovation (a pre-curser to change) didn’t work. The article is focused on Leadership but I found some powerful snippets about doing change.
We have developed a simple capability model for organisation change. The purpose is to better understand the nature of organisation change and how people go about it.
The model allows us to explain what sort of training is useful given the organisation’s capability maturity (i.e. the level they are at). It also explains how to make better use of training to improve change capability. We have already asserted the need for organisations to increase their change capability as the outside world changes faster and faster.
Generally a capability model enables an organisation to benchmark itself (where are we now) against the model and then produce a plan to improve its capability (where do we want to be) which is realistic and reflects the real issues it faces now.
C4CM Capability Model
- Level 1: essentially the organisation does not know how well it does change and does not realise it could improve — blissful ignorance!
- Level 2: some staff are working hard to deliver good change; but against a tide of senior management indifference and organisational stupor — an age of heroes!
- Level 3: the whole organisation is now doing change the same way with full senior management support; results are better but still patchy — getting there.
- Level 4: the organisation is measuring performance, outcomes and benefits which leads to consistently better change — effective change at last.
- Level 5: the organisation is applying its learning culture to improve its change processes into a strategically important capability — a winner.
As well as the levels of capability our model includes some specific aspects of change competence:
- Leadership and governance
- Processes and roles
- Knowledge and skills
- Managing change
We also look at the way the organisation uses four key skills in managing change (which are reflected in our training qualifications):
- Using a business case and benefits management
- Using measurement and data
- Using risk management
- Stakeholder engagement and communications
We have devised a survey questionnaire to assess the level of an organisation. If you would like to use the survey tool on your organisation then please get in touch with us. It requires a number of people within the organisation to take the survey to get a useful picture.
We also have a simpler and quicker self test questionnaire to help you see where you as an individual might fit into the capability model. The model identifies individual behaviours at each level and obviously individuals will vary. Beware, you may find that the behaviours you can exhibit are limited by the capability of the organisation around you. For instance: it will be very difficult to be a level 4 individual in an organisation that does not measure change effects and does not have a performance management culture.
Our awarded QCF credits (Qualifications Credit Framework) are ideal for toping up on continuing professional development (CPD) and can be used to apply for other post graduate qualifications such as Diplomas and Degree programmes.
The qualifications are offered in modules that are appropriate for both change professionals and strategic managers. They work well to evidence Investors in People and can be used to deliver consistency of approach across the tiers of an organisation.
C4CM™ qualifications in context:
When training in organisations I often come across line managers who are running quite small change projects. They typically involve only 2-4 staff (mostly part-time) and some IT resource. A typical scope might be:
- Change a process or data collection to meet a new statutory requirement
- Introduce a new form to collect data, or move a form online (which always invites changes)
- move a team from one location to another without disrupting services
Discussions reveal that these small change projects are running, without control, in most organisations. The worrying thing for me is that the project managers don’t see themselves doing change.
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