Merge's Blog

Tag Archives: new project launch

Change management is akin to journeying on a bus

transport, tourism, road trip and people concept - group of happy passengers boarding travel bus

For any kind of organizational change – procedural, structural, or technological – to be successful, three key players must be involved: the champion, the change manager, and the employees and/or stakeholders who have to accept and implement the change.  This fundamental premise of change management is fittingly illustrated using the metaphor of a bus.

Three key players

Think about a change initiative as a journey carrying many people from the status quo to the new normal.  For travel from one point to another to occur, first you need the vehicle, in this case the bus.  Which means that you need an investor to finance the purchase of the bus, paint it in team colours, and provide ongoing funding to keep it roadworthy.  This investor is the champion.

Then you need a driver to navigate the bus, plot a route from the beginning to the end of its journey, making stops (and detours if necessary) along the way.  This is the change manager.

And of course you need your passengers to willingly come on board to make the journey.  True, some may have to be dragged on kicking and screaming, but the majority need to come on voluntarily, and preferably enthusiastically.  These passengers are the employees charged with implementing the change, and other stakeholders who face the outcomes of the change. Continue reading

Implementing change should be like shaking a champagne bottle

ChampagneAs we kick off the new year, people everywhere make promises, to themselves and others, to make changes. Whether it’s in the professional or personal arena, the start of a brand new year always seems like a good time to stop doing, start doing, improve or enhance aspects of our lives. And if you’re in a leadership role, you’ve no doubt made resolutions about things that you want to change in your department or organization in order to make your services, products and people more efficient, effective, productive and positive. Unfortunately though, history tells us that far too many change initiatives start off with energy and enthusiasm, and then fizzle and sputter back to the status quo. So what can you do to ensure a different outcome for yourself this time? What can you do to make certain that your change initiatives stick? Consider champagne – a beverage you might have enjoyed a glass of when you rang in the new year! Continue reading

Build speed and momentum for new project success

Why flying is better than drivingTake off!

On a recent flight from Montreal to Toronto, I struck up a conversation with the off-duty pilot sitting next to me, who regaled me with interesting tidbits of trivia about flying and airplanes.  Did you know that when planes taxi on the runway, they usually roll along the tarmac at about 25 miles per hour (that’s about 35 km per hour for those of you metrically inclined)?  Yet there is absolutely NO way that a plane could take off at that speed.  In order to take off, most large jets have to leave the ground at a minimum of about 180 miles per hour (290 kph), and then in order to stay aloft, have to cruise at about 600 miles per hour (960 kph).  In other words, if you want to take off and fly, you must increase your speed up to a significant level before you’ll ever get off the ground, and then accelerate even further if you want to stay up high.

As I continued to converse with my new-found friend, it occurred to me that there were parallels to be drawn between what he was describing and the launch of new initiatives in the workplace.  When there is a new project in the works, conventional wisdom suggests that starting slowly and conservatively may be the best way to go.  “That way,” its supporters rationalize, “you’ll be able to gain experience and work out the kinks along the way.”  But my experience has been just the opposite.  When it comes to launching a new program, taking measured carefully-considered steps is in fact the kiss of death.  If you travel slowly along the runway, you will move forward, but you will NEVER get off the ground.  If your goal is to drive the plane from Montreal to Toronto, then 25 mph may eventually get you there.  But if you want to fly the distance, then you have to build up speed and generate momentum to take off, and then accelerate even more to stay high in the sky.  So … if you have a new initiative underway in the workplace, remember … establish your destination, put your flight plan in place, and then fly, don’t roll, to your destination.

Your thoughts?