I had an interesting discussion today (along with many others lately). The topic centers on why it’s difficult to get an organization to embrace methods to deal with the people issues – communication, engagement and overall involvement.
For those of us that do this sort of work, it seems obvious why you need good communication and organizational engagement – supported by an organizational readiness methodology. The benefits are a successful project, happy constituents and everyone getting what they want. But, to those we are trying to convince about funding this sort of work, it may not be so obvious. And, even when we do get to do the proper communication, put together peer advocacy groups and gain stakeholder adoption, it isn’t always clear how our techniques contributed to this. It’s the invisible solution to the invisible problem.
The paradox is that we are selling change to the powers that be while asking them to change to adopt a new way of working! It is also likely that we are offering a solution for a problem that they don’t think they have. I think this is the part we need to work on.
A few ideas:
- Probe for what management thinks the issues are – what are the problems they are worried about. Address these specifically and explain simply and elegantly what you will do.
- Have your ducks in a row. Do your research – have some case studies and metrics about how a change methodology can improve project success.
- Be able to articulate the tactics you will take and how you will be able to measure the success of those tactics and be able to adjust them if they aren’t working.
- Keep it simple. Explain the people dynamics in business terms – what the costs are of specific issues and how organizational readiness can address them. The top three to five are enough.
- Have a budget in mind and a rough timeline of the activities.
After you have sold the idea that you need to address the people issues, the work begins. Congratulations and good luck!
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