Live from the Innovation Studio comes EPISODE FOUR of a new ‘Ask the Consultant’ series of short form videos. EPISODE FOUR tackles a question I’m asked so frequently that I wrote a book to answer it:
“What is the best way to create successful change?”
Hint: It starts with getting a copy of Charting Change because I introduce in the book several key frameworks that lay the groundwork for successful change that are built upon in the Change Planning Toolkit™.
The pace of change is accelerating and organizations need to become more agile and more capable of continuous change. This presents a huge challenge for most organizations.
Together in this episode we’ll explore some of the core building blocks to creating successful change in your organization, and a discuss what else is in Charting Change and the Change Planning Toolkit™, and how this particular book can make a great course book for change management courses at universities, executive education, and corporate training programs.
Many of the tools in the optional Change Planning Toolkit™ will look familiar to change management professionals because they have been informed by the ACMP’s Standard for Change Management and the PMI’s PMBOK.
“Does the change you’re proposing inspire fear or curiosity? Fear steals energy from change; curiosity fuels it.”— Braden Kelley
The truth is that for most of us project managers, whether we want to admit it or not, the process of creating a project charter is one that we often dread.
We sit there in front of a Microsoft Word template blinking at us on the screen and realize just how much missing or incomplete information we have when we begin typing into the one of the very first, and potentially most important artifacts for any project.
We know we face the sending of a series of emails, follow up emails, follow up to the follow up emails, and maybe even some escalation emails and phone calls just to get the information we need to create the first draft of a project charter. And that’s before we even begin trying to get alignment, buy-in, and sign-off on the document.
Now, add in the challenges of trying to create a project charter when everyone is working remotely and our sacred task of initiating a project doesn’t get any easier.
So, there has never been a better time to leverage the Visual Project Charter™.
The Visual Project Charter™
With online whiteboarding tools like Mural, Miro, LucidSpark and Microsoft Whiteboard you can easily download the Visual Project Charter™ for FREE as a JPEG and upload it as a background to place digital sticky notes on as you collaborate with cross-functional team virtually using Zoom, Cisco WebEx or Microsoft Teams.
To help give you a better idea of how easy this is to do and what it might look like, I created the following short six-minute video introduction to the Visual Project Charter™ to show how easy it is to take the JPEG and upload it as a background into online whiteboarding tools like Mural, Miro, LucidSpark or Microsoft Whiteboard where you can place digital sticky notes instead of real ones as you collaborate with cross-functional team virtually using Zoom, Cisco WebEx or Microsoft Teams.
Whether you download the Visual Project Charter™ PDF and print it as a poster (35″x56″) or use the JPEG in the digital world I’m sure you’ll agree that this a much more visual, collaborative, enjoyable and effective way to gather all of the information to populate your project charter and build the buy-in and alignment necessary to make your project a success!
Here is a step-by-step guide for how to use the Visual Project Charter™ with online whiteboarding tools like Miro, Mural, LucidSpark and Microsoft Whiteboard:
The business world is showing an increasing interest in the people side of change, and there is a very real reason for this…
Companies are spending an increasing amount of their budget on technology and working to transform their operations to be more digital in order to provide a better experience for customers, employees, partners and suppliers while simultaneously creating a more efficient and effective business.
Everyone knows that a lot of technology projects fail to achieve their intended objectives, timings, and budgets. This fact and the increasing investment levels are causing more executives to look for ways to de-risk these technology investments in digitizing the business.
That’s why we’re seeing an uptick in the hiring and certification of change management professionals, which is great, but companies are still thinking about the relationship between project management and change management backwards.
In most cases change management is brought to bear as an afterthought, a bolt on to project management when the reverse should be true. Managing a change is a bigger endeavor than managing a project, and in fact you could say that because every project changes something, that every project is a change initiative.
It is thinking about managing projects in this way that I sat down to begin managing a new project several years ago and like many project managers, I found myself sitting at my computer by myself starting at an empty Microsoft Word template for a project charter knowing the uphill battle I’m going to face trying to route this document around via email and succeeding at both getting any responses at all and at getting meaningful input and a diversity of perspectives to make my project charter a really strong document that anyone will actually look at after week two of the project. I also found myself thinking that there has to be a better to plan and execute change initiatives and projects.
And sure people like pull ADKAR (a modified version of AIDA from the marketing world) and the ACMP Standard for Change Management (see the visualization I created above and download it for free here) and John Kotter’s change leadership approach, but they all fall short of making the planning and execution of change initiatives and projects a more visual and collaborative process, so I found myself starting to create new tools to help people (intended to link up with the PMBOK and ACMP Standard for Change Management).
These tools started to collect until they formed a comprehensive and new visual, collaborative approach to planning and executing change initiatives, and yes projects. This collection of tools became known as the Change Planning Toolkit™ and was first introduced in my latest book Charting Change which pairs nicely with my first book Stoking Your Innovation Bonfire. Both are designed to pack more insights into each chapter than most books contain in the entirety of their pages. Two of the most important frameworks introduced in the book are the Five Keys to Successful Change:
And the Architecting the Organization for Change framework:
Both frameworks are designed to help people challenge the way they think about organizational change. They are designed to help people think about more than change management and to think differently about how organizations are transformed and how change management and project management relate to each other.
To help people begin their participation in changing change I’ve made ten free tools available for download from the 50+ tools in the Change Planning Toolkit™, and people who buy a copy of Charting Change get access to 26 of the 50+ tools (including the Visual Project Charter™ and the Change Planning Canvas™). The book does a great job of helping to explain the philosophy behind the toolkit and how to get started with the tools, but people who purchase access to all 50+ tools (including tools to help people think through their Digital Transformation) also get a QuickStart Guide to explain each tool.
But if we are going to truly work together to change how change is planned and executed I thought it would make sense to give people a more in depth sneak preview into what’s inside the toolkit and so I’ve created the following Introduction to the Change Planning Toolkit™ webinar recording:
I encourage you to reflect upon your own experiences planning and executing both projects and change initiatives and what you’ve found lacking in the tools you call upon from ProSci, PMI, ACMP or others and then check out the book and the webinar and then let me know if there are any tools that you feel are still missing – and if it makes sense, I’ll create them!
My goal in creating all of these tools for you after all is to help you beat the 70% change failure rate, so let’s work together at changing change so our organizations are capable with more capably transforming themselves as the environment changes around them.
You can let me know if there are any change tools that you still need (or if you’d like me to come show you and your team personally how to use them) via the contact form.
Let’s change change together!
Sign up here to get Human-Centered Change & Innovation Weekly delivered to your inbox every week.
Recently my colleague Daniel Lock collected and published points-of-view (POV) from 13 change management experts on implementing fast, dramatic and powerful change.
Here is mine:
If your change effort or project begins in a Microsoft Word document, you’re already in a whole world of trouble. Change is a human endeavor, so the most powerful way to embark on creating a dramatic and powerful change on an aggressive timeline is to surface the key challenges and opportunities as early as possible.
That doesn’t happen with a single individual tapping away at the keys entering prose or data into a traditional project charter. Instead, I recommend taking the following three steps to accelerate your change effort or project and increase its chances of success:
1. Evaluate the Change Readiness of Your Organization
Too often we just jump in and announce the start of projects and change initiatives without even looking around to see if the resources that are going to be crucial to our success are even available.
Convene a cross-functional change planning team to identify the resources you are going to need to successfully complete the project (physical, financial, human, etc.). Then begin to draft an initial high level project schedule including when different resources will need and map that against their availability (including their commitments to other existing and potential projects and change initiatives) to create a change readiness heat map.
One of the biggest barriers to successful change initiatives is viewing change management as a subset of project management when we should really all be instead viewing project management as a subset of change management, and but one of Five Keys to Successful Change.
Consciously approaching the design of our organization and how it operates from the outside as changes in the environment dictate changes inside our organization can benefit from using a tool like the Architecting the Organization for Change framework.
3. Develop a Holistic View of the Change You’re Trying to Make
Change planning should never be a solo activity. You must identify those individuals who can verbalize the current and desired states, the risks and resources, identify the potential barriers and benefits, craft effective communications, etc.
You need to also involve people who know how to leverage a human-centered approach to affecting change using The Eleven Change Roles and who can build and maintain momentum by understanding and harness The Eight Change Mindsets that cause people to choose change.
I truly believe that only by taking a more visual, collaborative approach to change and capturing the key information on a single page using the Change Planning Canvas™ as you build your change plan, will you ever create and sustain the alignment necessary to beat the 70% change failure rate.
In celebration of the launch of Braden Kelley’s latest book – Charting Change – we are proud to make two new poster size downloads from the Change Planning Toolkit™ available for a limited time for FREE:
11″x17″ scalable PDF downloads of these two tools will remain as free downloads from the Change Planning Toolkit™ here on the site. BUT, these 35″x56″ poster size versions are only available as free downloads for a LIMITED TIME here on the site. If you run marketing for a consulting firm or a software company targeting change management or project management professionals, I am looking for sponsors to help keep them free.
Kickoff projects in a more collaborative, more visual way
Structure dialogue to capture the project overview, project scope, project conditions and project approach
Use it in planning your projects in a more visual and collaborative way for greater alignment, accountability, and more successful outcomes.
One good place to get it printed at the 35″x56″ size to put up on your wall for your cross-fuctional project charter collaborative meeting is PosterPrintHouse.com for about $50.00 plus or minus depending on any specials they might be running.
The ACMP Standard for Change Management®:
Outlines generally accepted practices, processes, tasks and activities used by change management practitioners across multiple roles, organizations and industries.
Provides a clear and consistent vocabulary of essential change management terminology and offers guidance for organizational change mgmt. for any type of change.
Supports organization decision making regarding change management resources.
So grab these 35″x56″ poster size free downloads while you can, and get yourself a copy of Braden Kelley’s books: