Facilitating Change for a Programme Manager
A manager in a major company had a problem. He’d been given a programme that would shake his organisation to its core. Like many companies nowadays, their marketplace was changing fast. They could not continue along the path they had followed for years. The employees, on the other hand, were quite happy doing just that and could not see the need for so much upheaval, and tended to ignore it.
The manager needed to gather everyone together to understand and work with the change in direction – he knew he couldn’t do it alone.
Enter Making Projects Work. Working closely with the manager and his colleagues, we designed a process for an initial, one day workshop with a whole department. This would build up the case for change by examining the current state of the organisation and the shifting external context. It was very important that this was done as a group, with everyone participating, including the programme manager and the senior management team.
Sure enough, a picture gradually emerged of an organisation that had to change. With that foundation built, we helped the group to focus on the future. They built up a picture of their ideal future state, looking at a range of themes. Building on what already worked, they identified a set of actions to move them in the right direction and prioritised which ones were most important. All of the outputs were visible to everyone as all the working was done on large boards. We took photographs of these and, a day later, presented the programme manager with a ‘book’ from their day. Everyone was amazed at how they could read the words so easily without having to unroll the huge paper sheets covered in post-it notes. (These had been stored away in the caretaker’s cupboard for reference, and, as far as I know, are still there today!)
What’s changed? Well, the programme manager now has a good foundation to build on. There is a shared awareness of the need for change and a set of agreed and prioritised actions which the whole department signed up to. Looking back, the day out of the office was the turning point for the programme. It’s just at the start: the shared understanding and common vision will be a potent force supporting the change.