Tag: Change Management


When is a Decision Final?

This article addresses the question, when can a decision no longer be changed?

Everything we do results from a conscious or unconscious decision. When it comes to anything important, it is better to make firm conscious decisions.

In projects, changing decisions about objectives, requirements, designs, staffing, and vendor selection is disruptive and costly. Not changing them may also be disruptive and costly.


When is a Decision Final?

A decision is final when it can no longer be changed. It can no longer be changed when the decision has been completely implemented or when authority, rules, and regulations say the decision cannot be changed.

We can’t revoke a decision to build a house once the house is built. It is physically impossible (in the absence of time travel) to go back and not build it. While it is physically possible to change a decision that has been deemed final by authority, there are political ramifications.


Models, Beliefs, and Relationships

Models and beliefs about sticking to decisions influence the decision-making process. Relationships among stakeholders are affected. Some expect that once a decision has been made the decision-making ends. They believe that going back to reassess a decision is a sign of poor decision making – being sloppy, wishy-washy or indecisive.

Consider the relationship between executives, clients, requirements analysts, and implementers.

  • Clients and executives love decisiveness and hate ‘analysis paralysis’ – they want to ‘get on with the work’
  • Clients often change their minds
  • Requirements analysts are charged with avoiding the need for changes and communicating changes to the implementers
  • Implementers are often ‘annoyed’ by the changes, thinking that the clients are indecisive and oblivious of the impact of their changes and the analysts are not doing a good enough job when eliciting requirements
  • Analysts feel that they are not given sufficient time and do not have sufficient access to decision makers.

We value both firm decisions and the flexibility to change them.


Expect Change

Change is inevitable. Consider a conscious decision-making process:

“1) Define values, goals, objectives and specifications underlying the issue or question

2) Define the decision making and target environments

3) Agree upon decision criteria

4) Identify solution options

5) Analyze and compare solution options vis-à-vis the decision criteria

6) Decide

7) Implement the decision

8) Monitor and adjust

9) Reflect on the process for lessons learned.”[1]

We see that step seven, Implement the decision, is not the finish line. We acknowledge the need for adjusting decisions whenever conditions change.




Decision Making and Change Management

This question of when a decision is final links decision making and project change management.

The heart of change management is deciding whether to change previously made decisions.

A change management process decides whether to allow change to earlier, frozen, decisions. Changes are costly. Changing a requirements or design decision before it is implemented costs far less than changing it afterwards. Changing a decision that has been baked into a contract can require legal proceedings. Changing a screen design in a website less costly than changing the design of a physical product, like a bridge or building once construction is started.


A Middle Way

Enable and minimize change.

We want to be flexible, open to changing our minds, and we want to avoid wasting time and effort caused by having to unnecessarily revisit decisions.

Let’s look at a case. A design team decided on the use of a certain type of handheld device. Based on that decision a procurement process was started. A couple of weeks into the procurement process for the devices, the design team changed its mind. They decided that a handheld device would not work. They changed the design to use work stations instead. This wasted the time and effort of the procurement team and the vendors they reached out to for bids.

Was the change warranted? Yes, it was recognized that use of handheld devices made operational costs excessive.

Could the design change have been avoided? Maybe. If the team avoided unnecessary changes by spending more time and effective effort to better understand the decision factors – objectives, work environment, criteria – using checklists, and making sure people speak up with ideas, comments and criticisms.



In this case, the design team became aware that they had not consider the operational issue of the loss, damage, and ‘shrinkage’ of the devices when a member spoke up to bring the operational issue to light.

Why hadn’t he/she/they spoken up earlier? Maybe the idea just dawned, or out of fear to speak up during the design sessions. Either way, it was a good thing the issue was raised and that the design team and leadership accepted the change, even though it disrupted schedules and wasted effort. The up front loss was miniscule compared to the expenses saved.

Imagine if design team leadership didn’t support the change, saying that it was too late or too politically dangerous to question the earlier decision. Not only would there have been an inferior outcome, but some members of the design team would also be demotivated, thinking that their leadership was unprofessional and cowardly.

If this kind of thing happened frequently it would be a sign that the design team’s process needed some improvement.



Adapt an approach that dynamically balances enabling and avoiding changes.

Any project decision can be changed until the decision has been completely implemented. Minds change when information regarding decision factors change. While you may never be perfect, make sure your decision-making process addresses all the factors that influence the decision. Take the time to get it as right as possible the first time.

Consider how often stakeholders change their mind after having decided, and how many decisions end up being poor ones.

Do you need to devote more time and focused effort to the decision process? Do you need more formal facilitation, brainstorming, checklists, and input from experts regarding objectives, decision criteria, environmental considerations, and options?

[1] https://www.projecttimes.com/articles/the-power-of-decision-criteria/

What Is Expected From Businesses In a Post-Pandemic World?

By Ian Chambers, CEO  – Linea

The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic represented an era-defining paradigm shift for the world of business. Even though the most noticeable impacts of the pandemic have now abated in many parts of the world, the changes it has brought about in the way businesses operate are unlikely to be undone.


The dramatic changes to regular working patterns brought about by pandemic-era lockdowns, combined with a renewed focus on health and wellbeing, have dramatically shifted expectations of what professionals want from their roles. At the same time, customers now also expect a more flexible and conscientious approach to service delivery and are willing to favour companies who are able to provide this.


As such, every organization needs to adjust the way it operates to accommodate these changing realities. By implementing the necessary changes as part of an ongoing process of business improvement, companies can put themselves in a position to capitalize and thrive.

Shifting attitudes and expectations among workers and clients

Many of the changes that the pandemic has brought about can be explained by clear practical requirements – namely, businesses were forced to be a lot more creative and flexible in the way they operated during lockdown, and their employees and customers are now reluctant to give up that flexibility.


For employees, this means that staff have gotten used to being able to work from home and adjust their own working patterns or are keen to retain the additional health and wellbeing benefits they may have received during the pandemic. Expectations among customers and clients, meanwhile, have evolved in complex ways: some have grown accustomed to receiving more flexible terms and conditions, or improved remote access to services, while others may have become frustrated by the lack of face-to-face interaction with customers, and would prefer to return to pre-pandemic ways of working.


There are also an ethical or value-driven dimensions to this evolution, as the pandemic has made many people aware of existing failings and issues of unfairness with the previous status quo. Management can no longer expect to monopolies the highest salaries, while offering only limited flexibility to the workers responsible for generating value, without a risk of undermining their own recruitment capabilities or alienating socially conscious consumers.


As such, the challenge for organizations operating within these rapidly evolving markets is to show they can reflect and operate by the changing values of society. If they fail to do so, they risk being left behind.

How must businesses change to adapt to post-pandemic realities?

With all of this in mind, it is essential for companies to regularly review and implement necessary changes to their operating practices and service models, committing to an ongoing process of business improvement to ensure they are meeting the expectations of modern professionals, consumers and clients.


Here are some of the key areas in which we have seen businesses committing their efforts and resources in the wake of the pandemic:


  • Developing new core business values and principles that can be closely aligned to post-pandemic norms and expectations, and working to ensure that every member of the organization has bought into these goals and can exemplify them in how they work
  • Enshrining workforce wellbeing, engagement & stability as a central business value, by embracing of flexible working models, strong staff support, and opportunities for progression, to ensure the organization can attract and retain talent
  • Mitigating actual & perceived biases that could contribute to systemic unfairness or barriers to success, by viewing decisions from different stakeholder perspectives
  • Focusing on true customer-centric value and service flexibility, aligning with modern market expectations, to stand out in an increasingly competitive marketplace
  • Maximizing the use of diverse marketing channels to capitalize on current trends, while acknowledging the need for mindful content and socially conscious messaging
  • Adopting agile business strategies and approaches, informed by the lessons of the pandemic regarding how quickly circumstances can change
  • Creating and maintaining financial liquidity to provide future flexibility, giving the organization greater protection against unexpected shifts in the market
  • Driving value for money & profitability, while sensitively managing concerns around doing so, as businesses can no longer be seen to be cutting corners simply to protect the bottom line
  • Using societal appetites for progress to help accelerate the adoption of necessary change within the company, and to challenge conversative or risk-averse viewpoints within the organization


Not all of these changes can be implemented with immediate effect – some will involve a long-term process of change management, which will require the business to holistically review its current processes and operations to chart a gradual path of transformation, as measured by definable metrics and achievable milestones.


This can be difficult and time-consuming to achieve, but as the post-pandemic era continues to take shape, it will be an essential step for organizations across multiple sectors. Professional expectations and customer values are evolving quickly – and companies must do the same to remain at the forefront of their respective markets.


RIP – Rest In Place Projects

With 2 plus decades experience in the project management and organizational development world, I am incessantly amazed on how a project is so closely linked the Project Sponsor, instead of the organization and the business goals it is set to achieve or influence.

When the “why”, purpose of a project has been well documented and approved by the necessary resource, a Project or Program Manager is assigned to lead and support the planning, implementation and sometimes kick off the sustainment of the product from the project. The project manager (PM) with help from other resources is tasked with creating engagement protocols and tactics to ensure every stakeholder buys into the vision of the project.

A few years ago, while studying for a master’s in project management, one of my professors asked a question, at what point are you successful as a project manager? The class gave a quintessential response, “when the triple constraints, time, cost and scope are managed effectively”, we all echoed in our responses. To which she responded, you are all wrong, you are successful when you close a project and months later, the output of the project is being used/accessed.


I share this story to provide some context around the role of the PM and how that does not impact the project when a PM is replaced. Why you ask? The PM has a set of guidelines to run the project and regardless of who is the sponsor, the pm ensures the project is implemented in line with the framework. However, when there is a change of sponsor, there is a shift that could lead to a complete halt of the project, or the cancellation of the project. This decision could be based on the personal preference, and at other times imply because the sponsor sees or believes the project does not align to his/her value or focus. The PM does not have the same power or influence.

If you are a PM and are wandering how to deal with a change in sponsor, and the new sponsor is about to shut down your project. Take heart, recognize that the decision is not your fault. It is beyond your influence. Take time to process the emotions you are experiencing, thereafter start working to close the project with exceptional expertise, from documentation to engagement tactics. I have seen a project that was completely shut down resuscitated years later. What helped to make the kickoff run smoothly is what the prior pm did to close the project.

Projects rest in place when they are closed properly by the PM.

Bridge’s Transition Model: Change and the Human Side of Project Management

Why are projects initiated? What is their purpose? The answer is simple – to introduce change. Projects are all about change, either introducing new products and/or services or changing the way is which existing products and/or services are delivered. Otherwise, without initiating projects to introduce change, organizations continue to deliver existing products, services, policies, and procedures (i.e., continue with business as usual).

Whenever change is introduced, what happens? It meets resistance. That resistance may be the result of any number of reasons – some valid and some not so valid – and will certainly be the cause of many problems for the project delivery team. Misery and woe very often await the poor project team that invests too little or no time at all in appreciating the fact that they are introducing change(s) and therefore need to develop strategies to deal with the inevitable resistance they will encounter from those who perceive, rightly or wrongly, that they will be negatively impacted by the change(s) the project is introducing. Many project teams have been surprised to find that their project had been torpedoed by someone (or someone’s) to whom they never gave any thought and for whom they did not develop a strategy to support the introduction of the change(s) their project would enable and to overcome resistance to it. Resistance was not only not futile; it was deadly.

So how does change successfully get introduced? How can the project team ensure that they deliver a product or service that will enable the change which justified the project and the investment of organizational resources in the first place? This demands that project teams recognize and internalize the simple truth that organizations do not change, people change. If the people in the organization do not embrace and support the change(s) that the project is introducing, the project is unlikely to succeed.

And getting the people in the organization to embrace the change is all about leadership. Based on Bridge’s Transition Model, this article will suggest best practices for introducing change and building a successful strategy for engaging the organization’s most powerful resources – its people – in bringing about the desired change and making the project a success.

Bridge’s Transition Model: An Overview

Bridge’s Transition Model[1], in its simplest form, suggests that projects introducing change(s) will pass through three stages:

  • The Current State (Preparing: Ending, Losing, and Letting Go) – When people are first introduced to change, they may enter this first stage. It is characterized by resistance and emotional discomfort. The introduction of change also introduces uncertainty and anxiety. Some of the emotions experienced at this stage include fear, resentment, anger, denial, sadness, frustration and, very often, disorientation. People begin to accept that they have to let go of the old so as to accept new beginnings. This stage includes identifying the need for change and developing the change management plan with strategies such as assigning roles and responsibilities and assessing tools and tasks needed to implement it
  • The Transition State (The Neutral Zone)– This is the stage of stress, impatience, and confusion. This stage can be considered as the bridge between the old and the new when people retain some attachment to the old but are trying to adapt to the new. This stage is often associated with low morale and reduced productivity, and people may experience stress, disillusionment, and skepticism as well when going through this stage. But despite this, the neutral/transition stage may also include innovation, renewal and a burst of energy. This stage requires nurturing and supporting newly assigned roles and tasks, providing training and coaching, and a clear communication and stakeholder engagement strategy.
  • The Future State (New Beginnings)– When the neutral/transition stage is passed through with support and guidance, the stage of acceptance and creativity is reached. At this level, people embrace the change and understand its importance. They have built or are building the skills needed to reach the new goals and may already start to experience benefits of the change. It is associated with high levels of energy, initiative, new commitment and a zest to learn. The focus becomes one of institutionalizing, sustaining, incorporating, and integrating the outcomes and benefits into the new organizational or corporate culture and acknowledging individual and team success.

The Current State: Preparing

Organizations start up projects for many different reasons, for example:

  • because someone has an idea for a new product line or service, or
  • to introduce a new delivery method, or
  • to respond to new legislative or regulatory requirements, or
  • to protect market share by matching or bettering competitors’ initiatives and/or product innovations, or
  • to improve upon existing products, or
  • to take advantage of new technology or technological developments, or
  • to exploit opportunities and develop new products or services to meet them.

There are other reasons for initiating project as well. One thing they all have in common is that any project initiated for any of these reasons introduces changes to the ways things are currently being done.


Investment Decision-Making

Projects aren’t free. They consume organizational resources – money, time, material, equipment, facilities and, yes, people (i.e., their time and effort). Before committing organizational resources, an analysis of the benefits that will be realized and the value to the organization if it initiates the project needs to be undertaken to justify the investment. These analyses generally take the form of alternatives analyses and cost-benefit analyses, including NPV, ROI, etc., that are pulled together into a business case. Since projects introduce change, however, the impact of the projects on the people involved in their delivery and on the people affected by any given project’s outcomes also needs to be considered before the decision to invest resources and commit to the project is made.

Project Leadership and Change

Change can be traumatizing. Projects often incur resistance simply because they are introducing change. Project team members similarly often run up against resistance in their role as change agents. The mental health of project team members who are struggling to introduce change(s) as well those affected by the change(s) requires leadership that is compassionate and understanding and that communicates openly and well.

We are all human. Many of us are reluctant to bring up in conversation that we may be struggling with something because we have been conditioned to believe that to struggle is to have a weakness that needs improving and that means talking about our own issues. People are trapped by the idea that being tough, resilient, and impenetrable is a requirement for climbing the ladder of success. They are slow to realize that trying to live up to this myth indirectly trains people to treat each other like a terminator who will slap them down and take advantage of their perceived weakness rather than a person who will encourage them and help them grow.  Good leaders commit themselves to breaking the stigma and becoming more open and honest in their communications with others.

Leadership among project team members is shared according to circumstances – the nature of the issue requiring attention, the skill sets and competencies of the team members, their experience, technical and/or technological knowledge, etc. Honesty, trust and transparency are essential leadership skills demonstrated by good leaders throughout a project’s life cycle. By acknowledging that we are all human and being open about their own experiences, effective leaders have an opportunity to address the mental health of team members in a non-threatening way that puts employees at ease and creates a starting point for better communication. Using such techniques as emotional intelligence – the ability to understand, use, and manage your own emotions in positive ways to relieve stress, communicate effectively, empathize with others, overcome challenges and defuse conflict – can be very helpful and effective in building and maintaining motivated and successful project teams.

Communicating the Project’s Vision and Purpose

One of the most effective leadership skills is communicating. Getting everyone on board and supporting the project (aka change initiative) is imperative. This can be achieved by clearly communicating the project’s vision and purpose. In one study, Gartner[2] found that 50% of change initiatives are a clear failure, only 34% are a clear success, and 16% achieve mixed results. For the project to succeed, Gartner recommended that an organization needs to:

  • clearly establish the need for the change,
  • identify specifically what needs to be changed (as well as what doesn’t need to change),
  • involve employees in the project and in planning how to execute the change initiative,
  • develop a specific communications plan,
  • create a road map for change,
  • produce a stakeholder engagement strategy,
  • design integrated training programs,
  • develop a strategy for dealing with resistance, and
  • devise and implement a strategy for monitoring results and sustaining the “new normal”, i.e., maintaining the desired outcomes of the project and realizing the benefits and value to the organization.

Encountering Resistance

Projects introduce change and change introduces uncertainty. Resistance to change is a common risk factor encountered by project team members. People are often reluctant to accept new procedures or ways of doing things. In addition, they may remember similar previous failed projects. There is also the fear of losing jobs, especially if the project involves technological innovation, process automation, and information systems. Change is always inevitable but so is resistance to change. Resistance is the action taken by individuals and groups when they perceive that the change that the project is introducing is a threat to them, to what they know and are comfortable with, and to their work relationships.  It is basic human nature for people to try and keep their methods and customs constant.

Projects introducing change(s) introduce uncertainty and uncertainty is often viewed as a threat.  People may have trouble developing a vision of what life will look like on the other side of a change, so they tend to cling to the known rather than embrace the unknown. People don’t fear change per se, they fear the unknown. They fear being changed. Your employees represent your organization’s talent. They are the people on the ground day-to-day. No one understands your business or your clients and customers better than they do. Yet, operational changes are often dictated to them rather than created with them. Not only is this a waste of the talent and insights your employees possess, it accentuates resistance to change. Preparing a project requires recognition that the project will encounter resistance to the change initiative it is introducing and the resulting need to develop strategies for coping with and overcoming resistance.

These are several effective means for dealing with resistance[3]:

  • Empower Team Members and Involve Them in Decision-Making – When people have a say in the solutions they implement, they feel more accountable for them and do what’s needed to ensure success.
    • Reduce Uncertainty – While identifying what needs to be changed and why the change is necessary must be communicated, it is also critically important to identify what will not change to provide an anchor or island of stability for employees in the waters of uncertainty being introduced by the change initiative.
    • Allow People to Speak – Jerry Seinfeld pointed out “When you interrupt, you’ve stopped listening. People need to be heard.” Focus your attention on the welfare, interests, and needs of others. If you’re the one who is talking, you’re not listening to others. Engage and connect, reflect and provide feedback.
    • Educate and Communicate the Benefits of Change for the Individual and for the Organization – People grow and learn new things every time something changes. They discover new insights about different aspects of their life, skill sets and experience. They learn lessons even from changes that did not lead them to where they wanted to be. Projects drive change and change triggers progress and present new opportunities for individuals to learn and grow (e.g., develop new skill sets and competencies, develop stronger interpersonal skills, etc.) and for organizations to develop and evolve (e.g., introduce new products or services, achieve operating efficiencies, open new markets, etc.). Things move forward and develop because of change.
    • Accommodate If Possible – Focus as much as possible on preserving relationships with other project team members and those affected by the change(s) the project is introducing rather than on achieving a personal goal or result.
    • Isolate and Contain When Necessary and Appropriate – Handling the Competitors – the people who just won’t let go until they have won and others have lost – try to get them to focus on the big picture, a long-term goal where they’re not in direct competition with anyone in the team. Or dealing with the Drama Queens and Drama Kings – who whine and complain about everything, turning everything into drama and drawing energy from the drama while all the while draining the energy of others, and/or the Volcano – who explodes whenever things don’t turn out the way she or he thinks it should – seek to establish clear boundaries so that everyone is aware of what is and is not acceptable as professional office behaviour and that it is important that everyone treats each other with respect. Ensure that it is clearly understood that unprofessional behaviour is unacceptable and will not be tolerated.
    • Counter At Level – Resistance happens when two or more individuals (or groups) have different objectives, attitudes or opinions about the project and the change(s) it is introducing. When the resistor is a member of senior management, things can get sticky. To counter the resistor, someone at his/her level in the organizational hierarchy needs to assume the role of change champion and must openly confront the resistor every time he/she voices a negative opinion about the project.  The confrontation must be honest, factual and focussed on the benefits and the value that the project will enable for the organization. As Project Manager, you need to ensure that your change champion (i.e., project sponsor, project director) has every iota of information about the project that he/she may require to effectively counter the resistor.
    • WIIFM (What’s In It For Me) – Targeting the project’s stakeholder engagement strategy and communication plan to specific stakeholder needs, concerns and expectations is a move in the right direction. Gaining the support of key individuals who are influential in the business, or “allies”, will help support your arguments and help you to gain traction. Be as specific as you can about the individual benefits that the project will enable. Personalize them as much as possible. For example, when Apple introduced the iPod, it wasn’t marketed as “2GB of mobile storage”, which would have done little to make the benefits clear to individuals; rather, it was marketed as “1,000 songs in your pocket”, a far clearer and readily understandable statement of its benefits on a personal level for individuals.

Navigating the Transition State

At the end of the day, every project, regardless of its size, needs to begin with an intended outcome – one that is understood and meaningful to the people involved and affected.  It is important to communicate the vision of the desired future state and the reasons why the project is being undertaken. Ensuring the buy-in of project team members and key stakeholders by engaging them and sharing the value to the organization that will result from the benefits achieved through the project’s outcomes is critical to project success. Equally, seek to obtain the buy-in and support of your front-line employees, who must implement the change while maintaining current production of outputs or provision of services, by highlighting the benefits to them personally (e.g., continued organizational viability could mean increased job security for employees as well as opportunities to develop new knowledge, competencies, and skill sets, etc.). Your employees are your organization’s strength – its talent – and are the foundation upon which your organization will evolve and build its future.

Respect your talent. Seek to understand and empathize with what they are going through. As much as possible, limit work-in-progress, especially during the transition. Overloading project team members with too much change too fast is a common and destructive problem.  The first action to rectify the problem is to make the current work-in-progress visible to all stakeholders, i.e., provide everyone with the “big picture”.  A simple Kanban board could suffice. Consider breaking down the project into smaller parts or smaller batches with short-term goals.  While maintaining the overall vision of the desired future or end state, create many short-term targets that are achievable and less expensive and have lesser possibility of failure than one big long-term goal. Smaller batches build momentum and help the team learn faster too.

During the project’s lifecycle, recognize that changes to the project and its outputs will inevitably occur. These changes differ from the change/future state that the project is introducing and either directly affect the outputs of the project or affect agreed project delivery baselines (e.g., schedule, cost, quality). Try to keep your projects ‘change friendly’ so as to effectively manage significant changes while empowering team members to handle responsive change at the detail level. Exploit the opportunities created by change requests for your team to learn and grow to enable them to deliver a better product to the customer.  Establish metrics/KPIs as an integral part of any change request and use them as a basis for gathering feedback from the customer/user as quickly as possible to inform further decisions and deliveries. The ‘feedback loop’ (e.g., something is delivered, it gets used, feedback is captured) should be as short as possible and ideally involve the end customer/user in order to become more responsive to customer/user priorities and needs.

Discard, as well, the notion that heroic leaders are needed to deliver successful projects and make sustained and significant changes.  Again, respect your talent. Your employees are experts on their job so involve them in the process.  Recognize that different team members may assume different leadership roles during the project life cycle. Expand the level of active involvement of team members and stakeholders through the areas and levels affected by the project.

Empowering and involving team members helps them to take ownership and accept accountability for achieving the project’s goals. The project may introduce significant workplace change(s) that may require people to undertake new roles and responsibilities to increase the odds of a smooth transition. Evenly distribute roles and responsibilities across the team, and publicly announce these project-related roles. This will give team members a personal investment in making the project a success.

Involving The Team

When you initiate a project to change how you do business, the products you’re offering, or the services you provide, what you’re really doing is asking people to change how they do their jobs. And if they aren’t set up to make that transition successfully, your initiative is guaranteed to fail. Before you start making functional changes, start with mindset changes.

Identify the people or teams who will be impacted by the change that your project is introducing. Then define exactly how their role or a function will change and create a plan
outlining what impacted employees will need to transition successfully. This could include education, leadership, new roles or a new departmental structure, coaching/training, etc. But plans, while important, do not capture value; value is realized through the sustained collective actions of the people who ultimately must embrace, execute and live with the new changed workplace. Involve your talent and leverage their knowledge, skills and abilities.

Projects must include plans for identifying leaders throughout the organization who will support the change(s) that the project is introducing and should push responsibility for design and implementation down, so that change “cascades” through the organization. People impacted by the project will naturally look to their leadership for answers when change is introduced. They will question the extent to which change is needed, whether the organization is headed in the right direction, and whether they want to commit personally to making the change happen and, therefore, make the project a success. You need to embrace transparency and communicate openly and honestly about the change(s) the project is introducing to enable managers and leaders at all levels in the organization to be ready for the inevitable questions that will be directed towards them and to provide clear, consistent and honest responses. Training, coaching and mentoring of managers, leaders and talent influencers throughout the organization may be required.

The Future State: New Beginnings

Beginnings involve new understandings, values and attitudes. Beginnings are marked by a release of energy in a new direction – they are an expression of a fresh identity. Well-managed transitions allow people to establish new roles and responsibilities with an understanding of their purpose, the part they play, and how to contribute and participate most effectively. As a result, they feel reoriented and renewed.[4]

Empowering team members and creating a philosophy of continuous improvement, involving them and encouraging them to suggest change, builds a climate of respect and of open and collaborative communication and commitment. Ensure that your organization updates organizational policies and procedures to reflect the changes realized, institutionalizes, integrates and embeds new practices, and updates training programs for new and current employees to reflect and instill the “new normal”.


Your people – your talent – are by far the most important asset your organization has. Improving your operations and planning for what the future decides to throw at you next first requires understanding what your talent is capable of and what they need from you to be successful.

Most projects are about introducing change(s) of some sort – changing systems, behaviours, activities, products, services and even organizational cultures. If the people in the organization do not embrace and support the change that your project is introducing, the project is unlikely to succeed. Successful project leadership requires involving those who must live with the change “on the factory floor” or “on the front line”, communicating with and engaging them, capturing their interest and enthusiasm, listening to their ideas, concerns and suggestions, empowering them to bring about the change, supporting them as they work through the change, celebrating progress, and embracing and internalizing the outcomes. For the project to be successful in enabling the change, the people in the organization must make it happen. This means leadership must be shared among project team members and they must engage, involve, empower and support each other and the people in the organization while ensuring open and honest two-way communications.

Leadership is often equated with making decisions. But in reality, it’s about creating an environment where your talent – your employees – can make better decisions, grow in their roles, promote high productivity, morale and satisfaction, and provide the best possible experiences for your customers. For projects to be successful, leadership needs to have a good understanding and appreciation of the importance of the human side of change management to achieve the desired results.

[1] Bridges, William. Managing Transitions: Making The Most Of Change, Perseus Books, Reading, Mass. 1991.

[2] Gartner (2018). Change Management. https://gartner.com/en/insights/change-management

[3] Daniel Lock, Fundamentals of Change Management, eBook,  www.daniellock.com; Kealy Spring, 2021, Overcoming Resistance to Change Within Your Organization, https://www.betterup.com/blog/resistance-to-change; Susan M. Heathfield, 2021, What Is Resistance To Change?, https://www.thebalancecareers.com/what-is-resistance-to-change-1918240; Paycor, 2019. Overcoming Employee Resistance to Change in the Workplace, https://www.paycor.com/resource-center/articles/overcoming-employee-resistance-to-change-in-the-workplace/

[4] William Bridges Associates, 1988, Bridges Transition Model, https://wmbridges.com/about/what-is-transition/