Change Fatigue, the Frog and the Elephant

Change fatigue, kissing frogs and eating elephants

You have to kiss a lot of frogs to find your prince (why is it never a princess?).  This is the same with change in a lot of organisations – you have to make a lot of changes to get to your optimal position, some will be successful and others won’t and change fatigue is often the result. Sad really that we continually flog ourselves in our business lives to get to a position of ‘optimality’, but achieving this is often a meandering slog.

And worse – we’re never sure when we’ve kissed enough frogs and found enough princes/princesses to achieve our goal – perhaps you can never have enough, perhaps we don’t know what our goal is, or someone keeps moving the goalposts?

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Project Failure

Debunking the myth of project failure

Astute business leaders like to review project development and the causes of project failure. They want to understand what is going wrong and how to fix it. Academic research shows that 68% of all projects fail.  McKinsey state that 17% of these projects fail so badly that the future of the company’s existence is threatened. What is not understood is that the data is from companies spending more than $15 million dollars on projects intended to reshape the company.  Such projects are hugely complex and vulnerable to many cultural and market forces. A massive myth has therefore grown up around project failure.

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5 Project Management Pitfalls and what you can do about them

The Nature Of Common Project Management Pitfalls

The 5 most common project management pitfalls are ‘adaptive’ in nature.  They are all to do with how people interact with each other during the life of a project. Rarely are they to do with the ‘technical’ aspects of the project.  This is why  we developed our People Based Project Management approach over 15 years ago.  We wanted to combat what we saw as the overly-technical focus of the projects we worked in. If anything, our work with project mangers is telling us that the need for a people-centric approach is greater now than ever!

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Stakeholder Management

What Is Stakeholder Engagement?

Stakeholder Engagement – A Nice Definition

This great little video from the great guys over at The Future 500 applies to any organisation or project that needs to engage the key people that are either involved or impacted by the change you are managing. I love the way they give a nice formal definition of Stakeholder Engagement – “the systematic and proactive integration of feedback from those impacted by your organisation’s operations” before driving home that it’s all about “shared humanity“, people talking to people.

Stakeholder Engagement Is All About Relationships

In essence, Stakeholder Engagement is all about relationships, the better and deeper the relationships between all parties, the more effective, and easier, the outcomes. Likewise, when our clients are struggling to deliver their change programmes,  the number 1 issue is their lack of engagement of key stakeholders, effectively, the weakness of relationships around the project.  Remember, Stakeholders are people that are either directly involved in the change you are driving or indirectly impacted and you should have a strategy for engaging all of them.

The Different Levels Of Stakeholder Engagement

There are, of course, different levels of stakeholder engagement, from regular communication through to full involvement in the whole project. However, the complexity doesn’t end there; due to differing levels of understanding, support and even personal commitment of those affected, you will almost certainly need to adopt an individualised strategy to manage your stakeholders brilliantly.

Questions To Ask Yourself To Get Stakeholder Engagement Right

Here are a great set of questions to ask yourself as you put your Change Plan together are:

  • What benefits does this change deliver for the stakeholders?
  • Who’s status/job/reputation is threatened most by this change project?
  • Who are the key influencers amongst the stakeholders that can help the change team?
  • What else is happening that could influence the stakeholders to think negatively about the change project?
  • Who cares about this project?

Take your time, involve as many people as possible in your thinking and keep building your professional networks!

For more on how to build effective networks at work, check out The Complete Guide to Professional Networking (2014 Kogan Page).

Alternatively, if Stakeholder Engagement is an issue for you or people in your organisation and you’d like to schedule a quick 30 minute consultation, click here to Talk to The Change Makers.


P.S.  Feel free to share this video with your colleagues.  If you have any comments or questions, post them below and The Change Man or one of our expert Change Makers will get back to you.