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.
- Look at your own approach and the language that you have been using critically – have you gone to where your clients are and started from there, or have you expected them to come to you?
- Stick to doing “what’s right” – a professional engineer will not sign off on a structure that may fail, nor should you lose your integrity.
- Lose faith in the process – change management DOES add real value.
- Just plough on regardless – the evidence suggests that you will not succeed without a critical mass of leadership support.
- Seek more clarity and use this to plan an approach- What happened before?; What underlies this? ; What is at stake?; What are the consequences for the project if this is not resolved?
- Determine whether better understanding of change management is required and develop interventions for this if required.
- Strong delivery often has great value in building support for change management. There may be some things that you can do that fall within your scope and that would be valued by business leaders – do these very well and deliver them quickly, and you may get more latitude for executing other parts of your scope. (Beware of doing things that are NOT part of your scope).
- Organisational leaders play a critical change management role. It is within your mandate to insist on this, and to escalate any issues in this regard.
- Soundboard your plans and get advice – the project sponsor sounds like a good candidate.