A typical definition of “stakeholder” in the context of organisational change initiatives is:

  • Those individuals (or groups) who are likely to be significantly IMPACTED by the initiative (as it is executed or by the changes that result from it)
  • and/or those individuals (or groups) who are likely to be able to exert significant INFLUENCE  on the initiative  (as it is executed or by the changes that result from it)
I’ve seen very simple stakeholder analysis approaches that have stuck very closely to this “bare bones” definition, and also very elaborate approaches that have attempted to go far beyond this to also describe the stakeholders’ current attitudes towards the initiative, their levels of organisational influence, and a whole host of other relevant (and often also less relevant) attributes. These more elaborate approaches appear to be quite impressive at first glance, but tend to prove rather impractical when you get down to using them. Continue reading
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It started small, four years ago. When we thought about bringing a couple of change management practitioners together to share their latest tools and insights, we targeted mainly the German plus the”surrounding Germany” population. However, for some reason which I cannot recall, we made a bilingual announcement for the first Berlin Change Days in 2009. As a result, the first conference was already pan-European and major parts of the workshops were in English language. Around 30 people came at that time and we were encouraged to repeat the experience. So, we did in 2010. Since then the size of the BCD in terms of audience and workshops has grown by 50% each year, meaning that in 2013 we expect around 120-130 participants. in 2012, participants came from Albania, Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Denmark, Dubai, Finland, Germany, Israel, Latvia, Netherlands, Portugal, Russia, South Africa, Switzerland, Turkey, United Kingdom, and the USA, and for 2013 we expect an even more global audience.

The Berlin Change Days don’t have a main topic. We understand the event more as a an exhibition and incubation space for new trends in our sector. There is no shortage of people who try to expand the boundaries of our discipline.

So, what can you expect in 2013? This year’s program includes a lot of workshops on all aspects of organizational and personal change. While we still don’t have a main topic, there is some focus on the role and personality of the change agent, starting with a keynote reflecting on how we have to change of we want to bring change to organizations, and the world. And there is much more. Welcome to Berlin!

Berlin Change Days 2013 – the global change management conference
November 1-3, 2013 in the heart of Berlin

PS: At least three of the authors of this blog have announced that they will attend the conference. Luc Galoppin will host a workshop on Social Architecture.

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Corporate change is a complex adventure, one in which the human factor plays a major role… as always. But do collaborators receive all the attention they deserve, so that they might become the catalysts of this change?

Caught in the complexity of organisational and technological choices, in the development of processes with cohorts of consultants, pressured by impatient Top Management, shoved around by all the limitations placed on him, worried about time fleeing by, the manager struggles in the hurricane of change. Continue reading

Posted in Case studies, Leadership | 2 Comments

Skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it has been.
– Wayne Gretsky

This article is aimed specifically at organizational change practitioners. By using the ice hockey metaphor I point out where our profession should be today, and the direction the puck will be heading tomorrow. Organizational change practitioners cannot expect everybody else to adapt to the digital economy and at the same time work with outdated tools, techniques and perspectives. We need to be the change we want to see in the world – and frankly: we suck at it.

When we look at how the digital economy is shifting the world of work it is strange to see that the profession of Organizational Change Management has not evolved since the past 30 years or so.

My suggestion is to look for where our skills will be needed today and tomorrow.

Change Management: a Definition

First things first: what are we talking about when say ‘organizational change management’? The way I see it, our work comes down to the management of 4 elements that are important during a transition; four ‘containers’ if you will. They are: Communication, Learning, Organization and Performance. Have a look at the below video to see what’s inside each of these containers.

Each container represents a specific need that people have during a change.

  • Communication: people need an identity to hang onto so they can see what is in it for them. Constructing an identity for your project is necessary in order to provide an answer to the question “What’s In It For Me?”.
  • Learning: People need to know what is expected of them in terms of attitude, knowledge and skills. A part of this is provided in the form of classroom-trainings (the know-how), but the largest part of the knowledge transfer will take place in practice, during the testing phase and the phase of problem-solving. That is why the learning work is never restricted to the classroom and – most of all – we need to carefully build a network of local ambassadors for the project.
  • Organization: this is the need to know “Who does what?”. This means that the setup of the future roles and responsibilities needs to be clarified upfront. Next, the support structure in the long run needs to be setup, i.e.: the community of ambassadors who will be responsible for the sustainability of the solution.
  • Performance: Finally, people need to know what exactly will change in practice and how this will affect their working habits and usage of time. This includes a detailed follow-up of the chronology of tasks and the creation of a uniform procedure that is shared among all departments. Continue reading
Posted in Thoughts on change management | Leave a comment

On last Friday, I had the pleasure to kick off the 4th Berlin Change Days and to welcome 90 delegates from 18 countries for an intensive three days learning and networking event. For my keynote (“The new ecosystems of organizations”), I had done some weeks of research on the near future of organizations. I wanted to understand how change management practitioners have to reposition themselves and which new skills and methods they need to develop.

You can watch the entire keynote (32 minutes) here:

These are the five parts of my presentation:

  1. The matrix is alive
  2. Access is more important than ownership
  3. New ways of working
  4. People do not resist change
  5. Change management has become a commodity

Continue reading

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When people are asked to change, a lot rides on their willingness to trust those who are doing the asking.  This is true across the spectrum of change – from asking your baby brother to taste a new type of food for the first time through to convincing 10 000 employees to follow the new strategy designed to save a failing organisation.  In essence, you are asking that they make a transition from the known, tangible and familiar to an unknown, future situation where the only information they may have about the future and the process of transition is what they are told by those who want them to change. Continue reading

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Organisations invest much time, effort and money in bringing about change, often through large capital projects. But do the returns justify the investment? Are we really getting what we want when we set out to change things? Many case studies and much research on this topic would suggest not.

A major root cause identified in this regard is a lack of attention to change management. Plain good sense and even casual observation would support this – we can’t expect people to commit to change when they don’t understand why it is necessary, how it impacts on them and what is required of them.  In response, most large organisations have come to take change management rather seriously. While significant focus on change management was the exception two decades ago, now it is rare to find a large organisation willing to embark on any large-scale change without some form of change management. Continue reading

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For years, Bill Godfrey ran an excellent site – “The Change Management Monitor” – that offered insightful reviews of books related to change management.  Running a site such as this at the level of quality that Bill maintained is clearly a demanding endeavour, and some years ago Bill decided that he wanted to focus on other things and very graciously allowed the change-management-toolbook.com to act as custodians of his excellent content.

Below you will find the full text of all of Bill’s original change management book reviews over the years – a very valuable overview of hundreds of change-related books. (You will find our frequently updated selection of “must read” change management books in the Recommended Change Management Books blog category.

Should you use any of the review content in your own work, please remember to acknowledge Bill as the source. Continue reading

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The Scenario

A pharmaceutical company is implementing a new access control system. You are employed as the Group OD Advisor, and you are delighted that the access control project has a strong emphasis on change management – you believe strongly in the importance of change management, and would like to integrate the project change management interventions into your own ongoing culture change initiative and the introduction of a new performance management system. The project change manager seems to be quite approachable and easy to work with, and you soon agree to work together in running an organisational culture assessment. The next steps will be to work with the leadership team to define an ideal new culture, and then to align the new performance management management system with this.

  • Enter into dialogue as widely as possible within the organisation and ensure alignment with all other major organisational initiatives as far as possible
  • Actively collaborate with other role players who work in similar domains as project change management only as far as there is an overlap between your scope and theirs.
  • Allow your initiative to get “sucked into” other initiatives unless this is mandated by project leadership and accompanied by a formal redefinition of your scope and role.
  • Take your eye off the ball that you are there to play – you serve the project. Continue reading
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The Scenario

The large manufacturing company is installing new factory control systems. You are the appointed change manager, but very few people in the business (except the project sponsor) seem to “get” the fact that change management is important. In fact, most seem to be downright irritated by you and your role, regarding any time spent on change management as a waste. Some senior business leaders even openly criticise what you want to do as “smoke and mirrors” or “airy fairy nonsense”.

You have reached the point where the resistance to change management almost seems greater than any potential resistance to the new systems that are being installed. Continue reading

Posted in Case studies | 4 Comments