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The 11 best Change Management resources in February 2022

01 March 2022

Many great articles, posts, podcasts, webinars, videos and memes were published in February about Change Management.

author picture Article written by Morten Kamp Andersen

The 11 best Change Management resources
in February 2022


Last year, I made a comment about how surprised I was by the lack of good articles about change management. I take that back. February was a month full of great Change Management resources. And I have not even covered webinars and conferences, which also offers insights, case studies and workshops.  
 
We have curated eleven articles, which are worth reading if you want to stay on top of what is going on in change management.

1. AL LEE-BOURKE
10 Tips from psychology every change leader should know

Can people actually change? asks Al Lee-Bourke from Microsoft on Prosci's blog. In psychology, there's a concept called "plaster versus plastic," which was hotly debated by scholars. Are we like plaster in that we "set" at a certain age, and we can't change after that? Or are we like plastic, where we can change? After much research and debate over the years, we learned from psychology that yes, people of all ages do have the ability to change

The disciplines of psychology and behavioural economics offer valuable and sometimes surprising insights, which you can use in your change management work. Al writes that he tries to use them all the time.

His pick of ten psychology concepts is:

  1. It's all about me
  2. The peak-end effect
  3. Tragedy of the commons
  4. Anchoring and confirmation bias
  5. Loss aversion
  6. Endowment effect
  7. Bigness bias
  8. Overconfidence and ego traps
  9. Priming
  10. Social proofing

The headlines may not always be self-explanatory, but in the article, Al elaborates on all of them. I will also encourage you to dig deeper into the concepts if you want to know more.

This is a favourite article of mine. I love it. Change Management will truly add value if we understand and take in the many concrete insights and tools the disciplines of psychology offer. This article is a great article. 

2. DAVID GROSSMAN
7 ways to reinforce change with recognition

You will struggle to find a book on Change Management without some chapter on the importance of recognition to reinforce a change. But what exactly to do? David Grossman has written an article with seven ways to reinforce change with recognition. Each point, which is unfolded in the article, are:

  1. Align with the mission, strategy and values
  2. Reinforce desired actions and behaviours
  3. Be specific and timely
  4. Match recognition to preferences and culture
  5. Engage people at all levels in the process
  6. Celebrate change milestones and successes to boost morale and re-affirm expectations.
  7. Be flexible and adapt as needed

3. DENISE MCLAIN
How Leaders Can Communicate Change to a Burned-Out Workforce

Denise Mclain works at Gallup - the global analytics company. They survey the global workforce about various things, and this article is about how leaders can communicate change to a burned-out workforce.

Change management is vital. The success of an organisation's change depends on its employees' ability to adapt. Worn-out, anxious people have limited capacity to absorb information about change, much less adapt to it or drive it with their teams. And right now, Gallup finds employees experiencing alarmingly high levels of stress, worry and burnout along with a record-high quit rate. Indeed, Gallup's 2021 Work Experience Communication Survey found that about seven in 10 employees feel burned out at work at least sometimes.

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Leaders' communication has a profound impact on employees - especially in times of change. This article concludes three things about how to communicate to a burned-out workforce:

  1. Leadership communication is key to successful change management
  2. The "chunking" method helps employees understand and support change
  3. Chunking helps comfort and creates focus for stressed employees

It's a comprehensive and data-driven article with many suggestions for concrete actions. I like it for its relevancy and not least because it highlights that our mental state has a huge impact on our ability to take in new information. And with the alarmingly high number of people, who are burning out, we must consider the way we communicate.

4. MARCEL PASCHOAL
Agile is dead! Waterfall is coming back

The Agile project method has taken the world by storm. The traditional Waterfall method seems old and rusty. Agile is not just seen as a new method - it is a new mindset and culture. As Ken Schwaber — the cofounder of Scrum and founder of Scrum.org — says, "Waterfall literally ruined our profession." "It made it, so people were viewed as resources rather than valuable participants.". This has led to a re-think of the purpose, organisation, and tools of Change Management. A big re-think. But what if Agile is not the answer to everything for everybody?

Marcel, who is a software architect himself, argues that one of the most dreaded software development methodologies might make sense again for small companies from an operational perspective.

This is not an article directly related to change management. But I have included it here to remind ourselves that the whole conversation around Agile is important. How we do change management is influenced heavily by the project model in the organisation.

5. DAG NASLUND & ANDREAS NORMAN
A Conceptual Framework for Understanding the Purpose of Change Initiatives

The Journal of Change Management is important for change practitioners partly because it often has a lot of good articles but also because we must bring academia and practice closer together if we are to mature as a discipline.

This article is about linking purpose to change. The two authors, Dag Naslund and Andreas Norman from Lund in Sweden, propose a framework for understanding how organisations create an accepted purpose for organisational change initiatives.

The intention of the article is to address the problems with change readiness by focusing specifically on change purpose. The authors explicate the nature of change purpose and operationalise it, proposing a conceptual framework grounded in a longitudinal study of two major change initiatives.

They hope that the framework could help organisations create an accepted purpose for organisational change initiatives related to business processes. They discuss attributes related to the clear content of a change purpose (relevant, justified, urgent, clear destination, clear scope and explicit goals) and how the change purpose should be communicated to be jointly accepted.

6. LEESA QUINLAN, MARTIN REEVES, DAVID PURSER, SIMON LEVIN, and VITOR VASCONCELOS
Strategies of Change

This publication from BCG titled "Strategies of Change" is very interesting. The author's key message is: Instead of defaulting to the standard change management methods, leaders should adopt strategies of change that respond appropriately to the specific characteristics of their change context.
 
The authors observe that 75% of change initiatives fail, so why do they ask, do we keep relying on the same traditional change management tactics time after time? Part of the problem is that the presumed supremacy of classical change management techniques blinds leaders to the variety of organisational contexts in which change occurs. An effective change strategy begins with an understanding of the specific mechanisms of change, as determined by the changing context.

This article focuses on four key context archetypes. Simple change contexts are those in which agents are homogenous, predictable, and manageable. Unpredictable change contexts are those in which the relationships between inputs and outputs are unclear, so the effects of specific interventions are hard to predict. Interdependent contexts are those characterised by networks of reciprocal interactions in which social influence from peers has a stronger effect on agents' behaviours than top-down influence. Finally, complicated contexts are those that are dynamic, large in scale, and/or composed of heterogeneous agents. These archetypes do not exhaust the variety of possible change contexts. However, they highlight some ways in which change efforts need to depart from traditional change management techniques to be effective in specific contexts. The article then explains how to analyse the context and explain how these require different interventions to work.

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This is a good report, as you would expect from senior partners at BCG. I am not sure that traditional change management approaches do not take the unique context into account; however, the way analysing the context is described in this article is new to me - and quite exciting.

7. MARIA WIDSTRÖM, ANETTE HALLIN & ANNA OLSSON.
Book review: Change Management

The three authors - Maria Widström (CEO of Improviate), Anette Hallin (professor at Åbo Akademi University) & Anna Olsson (Owner of Unova consulting) - have written a fantastic introduction to change management, which I will recommend to all new to the discipline. Firstly, the book provides an overview of most relevant models and describes them enough to give awareness and knowledge of them. Secondly, it provides different structures and tools for change managers to use. And finally, it discusses the approaches and gives pros and cons for them. It is a pleasure to read.  

The flow of the book is that it first describes different change models, then the driving forces behind change, discuss how to organise for change, plan change, drive change and finally handle over.

It is not a quick read, and I say that as a compliment. The book is comprehensive and thorough. You will, as a reader, have been exposed to many concepts, tools and models. Most models are probably easier to use in a Waterfall project environment compared with an Agile project environment, and the book is also targeted towards planned changes - but then again, most of the changes we are facing are planned changes.

8. TIMOTHY R. CLARK
Agile Doesn't Work Without Psychological Safety

Many change practitioners are involved in helping their organisation move from a Waterfall project method to an Agile project method. There's agile HR, agile project management, agile customer service, agile sales, agile operations, agile C-suite, and so on. But approximately half of organisations that undertake agile transformations fail in their attempts. If your team has yet to reap the rewards of agile, you need to understand what's preventing you from delivering the fast, frictionless, scalable solutions you envisioned. After evaluating several agile teams and conducting a series of interviews with leading agile experts, Timothy Clark, the founder and CEO of LeaderFactor, believes the primary factor is disregard for the first value of the Agile Manifesto: "Individuals and interactions over processes and tools."

Here are five practical ways to increase psychological safety to foster a collaborative, successful agile team.

  1. Frame agile as a cultural implementation
  2. Develop, document, and display vulnerable behaviour/response pairings
  3. Focus on one behaviour during each Scrum and practice cultural accountability
  4. Formally evaluate your dialogic process in the sprint retrospective
  5. Conclude your Scrum with a "question/reflection

9. SIRIPHONE MALDONADO
Forecasting The Future of Change Management

In this article, Siriphone interviews Krista Schaber-Chan, Managing Partner at Harbinger, and Yvonne Ruke Akpoveta, Founder and CEO of The Change Leadership, about the future of Change Management.

It is hard to summarise an interview, but here are a few highlights:

  • "I would say the future of change management is moving away from rigid models and approaches to being responsive, adaptable, and experiential."
  • "There will continue to be a need for structure and rigour to support people through change. However, there has been a shift from 'doing' to 'guiding'"
  • "Artificial Intelligence (AI) becomes more prominent within the change management space."
  • "The role of the Change Manager is changing from one of being the hero, who is coming in with their "superpowers" (i.e. models and methodologies) to being more of a coach, facilitator, collaborator, empathetic, emotionally intelligent, multidisciplinary, and more. "
  • "The shift is less about the change management and more about change leadership and enablement. "

10. CHANGE ON THE RUN
Identifying Project Lessons Learned with Brendon Baker

Phil Buckley is an author, coach, public speaker and senior change management professional with over 32 large-scale change projects under his belt. He has also held senior leadership positions including Global HR Director Commercial, Global Organizational Change Director, Americas VP Organization Change and Vice President HR Canada.

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In this episode, Phil is joined by change expert Brendon Baker to discuss how to identify and apply project lessons learned.

Managing the closing of a change project and capturing learnings is challenging because most leaders and project team members have mentally moved on to their next roles and challenges.

A lessons-learned exercise is essential for building change capacity and skill in your organisation. It documents which approaches and activities worked and should be repeated by other project teams, and which didn't and shouldn't.

So, how do you identify project lessons learned that are instructive, recorded, acknowledged, and embedded in an organisation's ways of working?

11. NELLY TIRE & VINCENT PIEDBOEUF
Change Management: Results With and Without. A Case Sudy

This is a rare case study. Rare because of its detail and length. But it is valuable because it is an almost academic case demonstrating the business value of change management. Two companies, active in the same field, from the same region and facing the same challenge, decide to apply the same solution. One decides to design and apply a CM plan and the other not.

It is a detailed case study, so I will encourage you to read it. But to give you the highlights:

  • In one case, the implementation phase proved much longer than expected. Only half of the staff was or stayed on board. The gulf between the target set and the number of people proficiently using the change kept widening every day.
  • The second case shows adoption and utilisation rates close to 88%. A clear CM plan with actionable strategies delivered expected results on time.
  • For a complete overview of what a successful CM plan looks like, please see Keys to application.

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