The first tutorial in this two-part series addressed the change associated with improvement systems - implementing approaches and methodologies that create change in an organization. While the large scale organizational structural changes associated with reorganization or acquisition activity often utilize change management, structural changes associated with improvement systems - like creating an office or team or group to take the lead with a particular methodology or system - are often ignored. This tutorial presents

  • A high level look at the importance of managing structural changes coming from improvement approaches
  • An introduction to the Change Management Office as an emerging structure
  • A discussion on the change associated with an Internal Consulting function from special guest author Dr. William Trotter.

Structural change from improvement systems

When two divisions are combined or an organization is merged with another - the people side of change implications are clear. People's behaviors and processes must change as the formal relationships in the organization are altered. However, as discussed in the previous tutorial, when the structure change itself occurs to trigger more change, the people side is too often ignored. Take two examples of structure changes associated with improvement systems:

  • The organization decides it needs a more common process for managing projects. A task force is created to examine how projects are currently managed and the alternatives available in the marketplace. Once a common approach is developed, the decision is made to create a Project Management Office to govern the methodology and its application.
  • Performance on the manufacturing floor is suffering. After an analysis of current performance, the leadership team identifies that a high level of defects is the cause of eroding quality numbers. The leaders of the plant create a new Six Sigma Team to begin searching for and fixing defect problems.

In both cases, part of the solution to the problem was to create a team or office to oversee a particular improvement system - project management and Six Sigma respectively. While the decisions might have been correct, there is still work to be done to ensure that the newly formed group is successful. And, it is the people side of change that needs work. Has a compelling case for the creation of the group been made to employees? Is there a coalition of leaders that will support the new group and the work it does? Have anticipated points of resistance been identified? What specific behavioral and process changes will result from the creation of the group - and who will be impacted?

Each of these people side issues must be adequately addressed if the new group is going to succeed and bring about the change it was formed to deliver. When the people side of these organizational structure changes is ignored, the group may be seen as an artifact of some "flavor of the month" or as a nuisance. Organizations need a methodology and process for managing the people side of change of these types of structure changes.

The Change Management Office

The Change Management Office is an entity that is starting to emerge in more and more organizations. This group - like the more familiar Project Management Office - plays a key role in supporting the broader application and adoption of change management. While creating a group focused on change management is a major victory in showing an organization's commitment to change management, there are certainly still questions that must be answered including: What will the CMO do? Where will it live? What "people side" issues might emerge related to the CMO?

What will the CMO do?

While the creation of CMOs is certainly still in its infancy, we have seen a number of roles and responsibilities begin to emerge. Not every CMO will have all of the responsibilities listed below. In fact, you will have to make decisions about the responsibilities of your CMO based on how change happens in your organization and how the CMO is positioned. Some of the responsibilities we've seen a CMO take on include:

  • Owning the methodology and processes
  • Collecting lessons learned and continuously improving the methodology
  • Acting as the change management resource on particular projects
  • Providing support for change management resources on particular projects
  • Acting as a sounding board for senior leaders and project teams on people side issues
  • Integrating change management and project management tools and processes
  • Creating a change management curriculum for different levels and roles in the organization
  • Managing training offerings
  • Providing direct coaching to sponsors of change
  • Tracking change management progress

Where will the CMO live?

Again, because the CMO is a fairly new entity, a preferred location in the organization has yet to emerge. And, given the unique nature of each organization - including its history and how change occurs - there is probably not a "right answer" for where it should reside. Based on Prosci's research and experience, the most common places for a change management group or office include:

  • Human Resources
  • Project Management Office
  • Organization Development
  • IT or IS
  • Department of Strategic Planning and Development
  • Department of Transformation
  • Department of Organization Effectiveness
  • Directly reporting to the CEO or President
  • Distributed across business units or departments

When deciding where to put the CMO, consider the following:

  • Access to and visibility into change efforts
  • Credibility in the organization
  • Historic or cultural implications of different alternatives
  • Adequate sponsorship for enterprise-wide impact
  • Ability to liaise with project managers and teams, training specialists, communication specialists, leadership development and groups involved with defining and creating individual competencies

What "people side" issues might emerge?

The "people side" issues of the CMO are not that different than the people side issues related to any change - or any structural change that is supporting an improvement system. People whose work will be impacted - project teams, managers and supervisors who will be tasked with coaching employees through change, senior leaders who will be tasked with sponsoring change - all need to understand why the CMO has been created and what the implications are to them.

Enterprise Change Management Boot Camp

Written by
Tim Creasey
Tim Creasey

Tim Creasey is Prosci’s Chief Innovation Officer and a globally recognized leader in change management. His work forms the foundation of the largest body of knowledge in the world on managing the people side of change to deliver organizational results.

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