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Best Practice Programme Management


Here are five essential tips to successfully delivering change programmes:

1. Market a compelling case for change

People accept change much better if they understand why it needs to happen. So make it real for them. They also feel more comfortable if they are involved in shaping their future. So involve them, for example, if a successful outcome means less CO2 emissions then make clear the consequences of global warming.

You're far more likely to get buy in and enthusiasm if people understand where you are coming from, and can see the benefits. And if your project doesn't have a compelling case for change…perhaps you shouldn't be doing it in the first place.

2. Build a common vision

The most common reason for projects failing is that people don't share the same vision. You need to glue your stakeholders together behind one simple and powerful story that tells what needs to be achieved and why. The trick then is to distil this down in to its simplest form.

If this is, for example, simplifying your processes, then make this your key message and share it regularly with your stakeholders, in an easy to understand format. A diagram, one pager or even a cartoon work well.

Once people are hooked in to it they then do something really powerful - they take the story and make it their own, adding personal benefits to it. Once you have users sharing why the vision works for them half your battles are won.

3. Get a senior owner

Few big change programmes are successful without a senior owner. If you haven't got one, find one quickly. A senior owner needs to be truly accountable for the programme rather than just providing sage advice.

To ensure full ownership you'll need to find someone who has a vested interest in the success of the programme, so that they remain engaged and determined that the programme will succeed. The owner also has to have sufficient seniority to remove barriers for you when they arise, and the time and interest to understand the issues you'll face.

4. Smart communications

Smart communication is the native language of successful change programmes. They are timely, tailored to the audience, clear and concise.

When updating people of your project's progress or results the simpler the better should be your mantra – busy people don't appreciate or take in long-winded PowerPoint.

Focus on telling your audience what matters to them, and you'll start to get feedback that people understand your objectives and are more willing to help bring about change. Good communications build trust and confidence between all the involved parties.

5. Get a champion to make sure your change sticks!

Business ownership of the change is crucial. You'll need trusted people within the business to have responsibility for specifying and ultimately delivering the benefits.

Get a 'change champion' on board at the very beginning of the project, and link realisation of the benefits into their own personal objectives.

Make them accountable. They'll then champion the cause to their people from the ground up, spreading the word, nipping potential issues in the bud before they arise, and helping their people to view the change more positively.

They'll then continue to own this change and the delivery of its benefits long after the programme manager has gone.

Article by Moorhouse Consulting, visit them at 


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