C is for Change Manager

In the final instalment of this series, we are going to look at some of the qualities that make Change Managers great at what they do.

Working on any size project can be a challenge for Change Managers - often (and not always) they are considered the distant cousins of Project Managers, sent in to make sure the company is seen to be ticking the right boxes that ensure the 'soft and fluffy' skills are being managed accordingly.

To be 'best in field', a Change Manager needs to have the following skills:

Confidence

A great Change Manager has confidence in themselves, their ability to build rapport with others, and most importantly, confidence in the change. If they are not advocates for the change themselves, how can they generate the interest, support and buy-in from others to see the change through? They need to ensure the Change Strategy, Impact Assessments and other documents (Comms Plan, Engagement Plan etc) highlight the benefits of the change, and they need to communicate these benefits to the right people, at the right time, to encourage confidence in the change from all those affected.

Communication

And speaking of communication - Change Managers need to be able to communicate with others. I use the term 'communication' broadly, but really, it includes the following:

  • The ability to show empathy towards affected users, while staying firm in the knowledge that the change is beneficial to the organisation and communicating those benefits regularly
  • The ability to know when to communicate and who to communicate to, how often and how to best communicate
  • Being able to hold regular information sessions for affected users and other stakeholders to make sure everyone is informed of progress and receives regular updates
  • Excellent presentation, negotiation and conflict resolution skills to be able to manage stakeholders and resistance accordingly

Connected

Change Managers need to know their stakeholders. They need strong connections within the organisation and sometimes with external vendors. Ideally, they are also good networkers, knowing when to introduce stakeholders to affected users, or vendors to stakeholders etc

Commitment

Sure, it is important to be committed to the change and committed to the cause and to stakeholders etc, but in this case I am specifically talking about commitment to themselves. I believe Change Managers need to remain committed to their professional development (as should all of us in the workforce, regardless of our jobs) because change changes all the time. It really does. There are new and improved methods, ideas and concepts being discussed regularly. I created a framework called =Change (TM Pending) because I believe that Change Managers can focus on the human aspects of change, become advocates for change and encourage and support those going through change, using a human centred approach. Those that have already completed the one day =Change Practitioner Program agree that it has helped them learn new skills and also encouraged their commitment towards making them better at managing others through change (including working with Project Managers, Sponsors, Change Agents and all affected users).

Being committed to ongoing development means being able to offer the best professional service to those they work with, meet and encounter as a result of the changes taking place.

These are just a few of the qualities that can make a Change Manager 'best in field'. The last three articles have been a starting point to get you to think about areas where you may need to further develop your skills, or areas where you already have strong skills, and maybe even prompted you to think of other qualities that can make you great at your job.