Identify your impacted stakeholders early… and refine throughout the change journey

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This is the fourth post in my series/ journey to build a software application to serve organizations, groups and individuals on large change initiativess. You can read my first 3 posts here:
1. Intro to ChangeMachineTM
2. Digitizing the change management workflow
3. Are your change objectives S.M.A.R.T.?

This post focuses on identifying impacted stakeholders early and refining your analysis along the change journey.

Don’t you hate it when you are scrambling at the last minute to get “forgotten” stakeholders to adopt your new solution? Educating these forgotten stakeholders on decisions that have been made without them can be tedious at best and unsuccessful at worst. Identifying all impacted stakeholders early, however, is not as easy as it seems. As the solution pervades an organization, new stakeholders will emerge and need to be incorporated into the change plan. This is why stakeholder analysis should be done at the beginning of a project and continuously reviewed to incorporate these new or forgotten stakeholders. Think of stakeholder analysis as an ongoing and evolving process that begins early in the initiative and is further refined as momentum and early project milestones are achieved. This train of thought will preserve your sanity.

At the beginning of an initiative, I make an early attempt to identify employees that are impacted by an upcoming change. I do this by recreating the organizational chart on an 11×17 sheet of paper and highlighting all impacted departments right down to the individuals. I also attach a few comments to each of the impacted groups, describing and summarizing the intensity of the change per group. Dissecting each of the stakeholder groups can be done by working through the following elements:
1) How will the change impact each of the specific stakeholder groups?
2) How will the stakeholders benefit from the change?
3) What are the required contributions to reach the target benefits?
4) What are the KPIs/ measurements that are relevant for each of the stakeholder groups?
**Continue performing this exercise as new stakeholders are uncovered.

Equipped with this data, you have enough information to begin moving each of the stakeholder groups through general change management milestones:
Milestone 1: stakeholders are aware of the upcoming change
Milestone 2: stakeholders understand what is changing and how they are going to change
Milestone 3: stakeholders have acquired new capabilities to work with new solution
Milestone 4: new behaviors are stabilized (no regression)

I’ve been able to digitize the stakeholder analysis process in my ChangeMachineTM application. This helps me hit the ground running when conducting an impacted-stakeholder-analysis exercise. Check out my video below for a quick tutorial:

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Additional posts/videos of the ChangeMachineTM
1. Intro to ChangeMachineTM
2. Digitizing the change management workflow
3. Are your change objectives S.M.A.R.T.?
4. Identify your impacted stakeholders early…

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Are your change objectives S.M.A.R.T.?

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Has your change initiative lost steam? Do you find that you’re constantly spinning your wheels or going around in circles? Many factors contribute to these frustrations. One of these factors could be the quality of your change objectives that were developed (or should have been developed) at the beginning of your initiative.

I like to develop change objectives using the S.M.A.R.T. acronym; specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-related. (You can scour the internet to find out more about this simple and efficient acronym). Here is an example of a S.M.A.R.T. objective:

Sell 1000 units of product A by December 31, 2014

  • Setting up S.M.A.R.T. objectives will help get everyone on the same page.
  • S.M.A.R.T. objectives will provide enough detail to make the project team and change leaders contemplate the types of resources, activities and requirements needed to meet these objectives. It’s a segway to identifying the impacted stakeholders and seeing who needs to participate in the initiative to completion.
  • S.M.A.R.T. objectives, with the time-related aspect included, will add enough pressure to get people thinking about the critical path and highlight elements that may be in jeopardy due to perceived contraints. These constraints can then be worked-out or brought up the chain of command for resolution.
  • I’ve seen, and still continue to see, many change initiatives move forward with the absence of clear change objectives. This leaves the initiative exposed to misinterpretations, misalignment and confusion. The absence of clear change objectives make it harder to gauge and monitor the progress of your change initiative.

    I think that many people steer away from documenting objectives using the S.M.A.R.T. acronym for the fear of failing to meet the expectations they were meant to achieve, such as missing the time-related component of a S.M.A.R.T. objective. Some companies view missed deadlines as grounds for dismissal – if this is the case, it may make sense to exclude the time-related component. All I am saying is that the clearer you can be in communicating what the initiative sets out to do, the better off you will be.

    Check out my video to see how I’ve incorporated S.M.A.R.T. objectives into my ChangeMachine application:

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    This was the third post in my series/ journey to build a software application to serve organizations, groups and individuals on large change initiativess. Below are the other posts/videos related to the ChangeMachineTM
    1. Intro to ChangeMachineTM
    2. Digitizing the change management workflow
    3. Are your change objectives S.M.A.R.T.?
    4. Identify your impacted stakeholders early…

    Click here to have new articles sent straight to your inbox.

    Digitizing the change management workflow

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    This is my second post in this series. You can navigate to my initial post here for an introduction to the ChangeMachineTM application.

    As mentioned in my first post, I am interested in digitizing organizational change management theories and practices. This video describes a pragmatic workflow that presents the necessary steps to start your change initiative on the right path.

    I must say that digitizing a change workflow was an interesting journey. With so many experiences and theories about change floating inside my head, it wasn’t easy to strip away the “nice to haves” of managing change and hone in on the essential steps to getting your change initiative moving in the right direction. To avoid deviations from the original purpose of your change initiative, it is essential to link your strategy/approach, activities and tasks back to the change objectives that were set at the beginning of your project. I’ve seen a lot of people, myself included, lose focus of the objectives by getting lost in change theories and practices that fail to link back to change objectives.

    Want to know more? Check out my video:

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    Additional posts/videos of the ChangeMachineTM
    1. Intro to ChangeMachineTM
    2. Digitizing the change management workflow
    3. Are your change objectives S.M.A.R.T.?
    4. Identify your impacted stakeholders early…

    Click here to have new articles sent straight to your inbox.

    Intro to ChangeMachineTM

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    One of my goals with this blog was to build, from scratch, an organizational change management approach based on my education and experience. Mission accomplished. (Click here for my blog-post on this milestone and for my downloadable ebook). what I liked about this journey was posting my progress online for the world to see. This kept me honest as I really had nowhere to hide.

    I’d like to embark on another journey following the same formula. This time, I plan to build a software application to serve organizations, groups and individuals on large change initiatives. Similar to my previous journey, I will be posting short videos showcasing the features of my application as I build them. I’m looking forward to seeing how I can incorporate change management theories and practices into an application.

    I invite you to join me on my next journey.

    Here is my first video showcasing an early version of my change management application:
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    Additional posts/videos of the ChangeMachineTM
    1. Intro to ChangeMachine
    2. Digitizing the change management workflow
    3. Are your change objectives S.M.A.R.T.?
    4. Identify your impacted stakeholders early…

    Click here to have new articles sent straight to your inbox.