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Webinar Recap: Project Managers are Change Managers

Please find below a transcription of the audio portion of Walter Stinnett’s Project Managers are Change Managers webinar being provided by MPUG for the convenience of our members. You may wish to use this transcript for the purposes of self-paced learning, searching for specific information, and/or performing a quick review of webinar content. There may be exclusions, such as those steps included in product demonstrations. You may watch the live recording of this webinar at your convenience.

Kyle: Hello everyone and welcome to today’s MPUG webinar. Project Managers are Change Managers. My name is Kyle and I’ll be the moderator today. Today’s session is eligible for 3/4 of the PMI PDU in the strategic category. The MPUG activity code for claiming this session is on the screen now. Like all MPUG webinars, a recording of this session will be posted to mpug.com shortly after the live presentation ends. All MPUG members can watch these recording at any time and still be eligible to earn the PDU credit. All the sessions you watch on-demand can be submitted to your webinar history. The live sessions you attend are automatically submitted. Within your history you can print or download your transcript and the certificates of completion including the one for today’s event.

Kyle: You can access your member training history by logging onto mpug.com, click My Account and then click on the webinar reports link. If you have any questions during today’s session, please chat those over at any time using the chat question box on the Go To Webinar control panel. We do plan to set aside time at the end to answer those for you. All right, we’ll go ahead and begin. We’re very happy to welcome back Walter Stinnett today. Walter serves as a program manager for Edwards Performance Solutions. He manages a large federal government training contract and teaches primarily Microsoft Project and project management courses. He joined Edwards in 2004 as a project coordinator and scheduler and provided project planning and scheduling support to a variety of commercial and federal government clients.

Kyle: Walter’s certifications include PMP, CMS, and MCTS. With that said, I’d like to welcome you back Walter. At this time I’ll hand it over to you to share your screen and get it started with today’s session.

Walter Stinnett: Thank you Kyle. I appreciate the opportunity to present today here at MPUG. Welcome everyone. We’re going to be talking about change management. Now before we get started, I just want to mention here is that our office is right next to a busy road. All of our conference rooms and rooms that are empty are right next to … on that side with large windows. So hopefully you won’t hear any cars going by, but if you happen to do, just know that I’m not outside. I’m in the office. We’re going to go ahead and start our … the presentation.

Walter Stinnett: What are we going to look at today? Well we’re going to really get an idea of what change management is. This is really an important topic really in any environment from personal environment, from business, and we’re going to be concentrating primarily on business aspects and projects. We’re going to identify some barriers and roadblocks and take a look at some ways that you can sort of overcome those. We’re going to review The 8 Step Process for Leading Successful Change by John Kotter. That seems to be, in my opinion, one of the leading processes to lead change in your organization.

Walter Stinnett: Let’s go ahead and get started. If we talk about projects, a project is a unique … a temporary endeavor undertaken to create a unique product service or result. But when you really boil it down to what a project is, one of the primary things is that it drives change. You start projects to change things. You don’t implement projects to just keep the status quo. Change is part and parcel to projects. It is taking your organization that might be in a specific state at this moment, it could be that you have one particular type of product, service, or result that’s in a specific state and you’re going to be driving that and moving it to a future state.

Walter Stinnett: No matter what you are doing, whether you’re a project manager, whether you’re a project sponsor, whether you’re a team member, you are really implementing change. Especially for those of you who are project management … Now when I’m talking about project managers or change managers, I’m talking about, yeah, project manager is the one who is going to be leading and going to be ensuring that a project is implemented, and that project objectives are met, but it’s also going to be the project manager’s the one who’s going to be shepherding that change, going to be one of the key persons to actually lead in that change.

Walter Stinnett: Now, when I say project manager, it can be really anyone who has a lead. It could be a team lead, it could be a program manager or someone who is actually leading a project to implement something, is going to be involved with change. What is change management? Well we saw just a moment ago that it is moving from a current state to a future state. Now here is some examples. It could be instilling new values, attitudes and norms in your organization. It could be, for example, if you have a customer and you have … you see where they are, maybe you are wanting to give them specific ideas and specific things on how to actually improve upon the work that they’re doing to better meet their needs.

Walter Stinnett: It is testing, and planning, and implementing all of these aspects of a transition from one structure to maybe another structure, from one process to another process, from being in a certain place to improve to another place. Now we had a contract down in an agency in Washington, DC. This particular agency had not, really to be honest, when we went in there it was a mess, because they were all over the place in terms of all of their processes. They didn’t have a centralized project management office, or a culture to really implement those project management processes to help them to be better in the work that they did, so that was their current state.

Walter Stinnett: We went in there, we actually looked all of the processes. We did interviews and such to see where they were. Then we helped them to implement a change to begin a project management office so that then they could then implement those project management processes. Now, that particular change was very difficult. The reason that it was very difficult was that there were people involved. Have you ever experienced someone, or met someone like this? “I hate this new system. It never works the way that I think it should.” Now, notice there what this person is saying and maybe you’ve experienced this that you … some of your things don’t work adequately enough, so you might feel like throwing your computer out the window.

Walter Stinnett: Or maybe you have experienced someone such as this. “Don’t even think about changing the way I do my work.” They’re protecting themselves. When you look at both of these, what do you see that is similar in both of these reactions? Just think about that for just a moment. What do you see here that is … in these two reactions that are similar? Well, it is, I, I, I. They didn’t want to change their work, “I don’t want my work to be changed. This doesn’t work the way that I want it to work.” That can be a problem when it comes to change because often we want to do the thing that we want to do and we think that is the best way so we don’t want to change.

Walter Stinnett: When we’re talking about change management, and to successfully implement change, we need to get beyond the I and get to the we, or get to the us, or get to the team. That’s going to be very important as we go through and as we talk about this. Because when you really boil it down, it’s the change, the hardest element to change is people. You can probably relate to this in your own personal life or in your business life. When you’re wanting to implement change, what is the one thing that is the most difficult? And that is people. Why? Well simply put, people are involved. John Kotter in his book The Heart of Change said this, “Never underestimate the power of the mind to disempower.”

Walter Stinnett: Think about this for just a moment. You ever had this experience, maybe with a friend of family where you are excited to do something and it may be something different and you invite them and they sort of throw a wet blanket on the plans, and you feel deflated? I think that’s what that Kotter here is talking about that when it comes to change, oftentimes people are very reluctant to change and will give reasons for not changing rather than really jumping on board right from the beginning to actually maybe give ideas and support that change. But this is a recent quote. But we can go all the way back and we can see that this has been a problem for a long, long time. It’s not a modern invention, because Machiavelli, in the Prince wrote this, “There is nothing more difficult to take in hand, more perilous to conduct, or more certain in its success than to take the lead in the introduction of a new order of things.” Way back in 1532 he recognized that change is difficult with people.

Walter Stinnett: In your organization do you feel like it’s perilous? Maybe so, maybe not. We have to deal with the people aspect of it. You can change systems and procedures but if you don’t address the human in the room, you’re not going to change anything. Just let that sink in for just a moment, you can change systems, you can change procedures, but if you don’t address the human in the room, then you’re not changing anything. How do we deal with this? How do we understand where our coworkers are, or the stakeholder are in terms of their idea of change and where they are for change? That’s got to be determined. We’ll talk about that here in just a moment.

Walter Stinnett: But even though I said that the hardest element to change is people that it is difficult and that people may not necessarily want to change, there is still good news because if [inaudible 00:14:41] change is embraced, then, and it’s managed effectively, then you can have your projects be more successful. One of the things that we need to do as a leader is to really inculcate into our teams, into our organizations, that change is just a normal part of work, it’s a normal part of managing projects. Also, we need to understand that change management is an art and a science like project management.

Walter Stinnett: Erik Van Slyke and Nancy Emerson in their article The Art of Science of Change in Management States, the science side of change management is the tactical side, driven by outstanding time managers who are detailed, schedule and task oriented. Their responsibilities capitalize on their strength. That science side of change management breaks down the less intimidating chunks and assigns those to work partners to streamline the process. They continue with the art side by saying, “Modern art breaks down the perspectives we hold as true and offers these back in a different way. The same is true for the art side of change management.”

Walter Stinnett: Designed to ensure that perspective and feedback get back into the system so the outcome works for the company and accomplishes the ultimate goal. So you have the science aspect of it, which is that tactical side, that is the actual tasks of doing the things that need to be done to implement that change and that there’s an art side to it. That looking at that change and what needs to be done and then from those that are around you beginning to look at other perspectives that they might have to try to embrace those perspectives to have the ultimate goal of change.

Walter Stinnett: Now, I don’t know if any of you have looked at modern art, but modern art takes the … our normal types of things and when you look at it, you can have all kinds of different ideas about art, it changes what we see. Really that’s what it’s talking about here, that we’re looking at different perspective, different sides of it to ensure that everything is captured in terms of what needs to be done.

Walter Stinnett: If we are to have and to be able to successful implement change, we’re going to need to identify those areas of resistance. Now, this list here is really … you may have seen some of these, you may have heard these, or you yourself maybe have actually thought these, but whatever the case, we need to identify these. One of the key things here is that we need to expect resistance to change and we need to plan for it right from the start of our change management program. If you’re able to do that, if you expect that resistance to change and you plan for that resistance, then you’ll be able to effectively manage that change.

Walter Stinnett: If we understand the most common reasons that people object, and it’ll give us to the ability to develop a strategy to address those factors. Now I understand that we can’t always be aware of all sources of resistance to change at all the times, but expecting that, that there will be resistance, and being prepared to manage it is a proactive step. It is proactive and that’s what we need to do to be able to do that. We need to recognize those behaviors that indicate possible resistance. If we do, that will raise our awareness of the need to address those concerns. As we look at this, maybe you can think of others, which is good. As many of these excuses or reasons to resist change that we can think of then the better.

Walter Stinnett: As a project manager it might be good for you to actually even maybe get together with your team or get together with someone and brainstorm all the different ways that could identify itself as resistance. The more we know, the better that we can plan for it. Now, one of the things here that we need to do is that while the people on your team, on our teams, or the core target to affect that change, there’s also the larger organization. The more organizational issues that you can address, you’ll be able to have a better opportunity to create real change. But those persons in that larger organizational environment need to be identified.

Walter Stinnett: One of the ways that you can do that is to create a plan. Now if anyone of you are familiar with the Project Management Body of Knowledge, and Stakeholder Management than you’ll probably recognize this stakeholder engagement assessment matrix. This is primarily in that used to identify stakeholders and analyze them in the context of just projects. In other words, are they unaware of the project? Are they resistant to the project? Maybe they’re neutral, or supportive and they’re leading in the success of the project.

Walter Stinnett: Well, you can also use this stakeholder engagement matrix to analyze those that might be having to be involved with the change. Maybe there’s a stakeholder who’s unaware of the change or someone who’s resistant to change, or supporting, or leading the actual change. If you understand where they are, then you can understand and better be able to bring them to a place where you want. So the C in here is current, and the D is desired. For example, stakeholder one is in this context of change is unaware of the change. Well what you would like for them to be is supportive of the change. So that gap in between unaware and supportive will help you to then determine what are those activities, what are those things that you can do to help that person become unaware to be supportive.

Walter Stinnett: This is one way that’s important because as I mentioned, we need to recognize the key stakeholders, we need recognize those who are involved in the project, and then determine, along with all of the other sort of stakeholder types of analysis, like power and influence, which is going to be important as well, and change we understand their impact on the project when it comes to influence and power, then you’ll be able to along with that, be able to determine how to actually bring them to a point to where they’re supportive or leading. They might be resistant or neutral. However you do that, this is an excellent tool to be able to analyze your stakeholders and where they are in the area of the change that needs to be implemented.

Walter Stinnett: What do you do? What are some of the roadblocks to change when it comes to people? Well let’s go ahead and look at some of those roadblocks. We’re going to be looking specifically at three levels. We’re going to be looking at the behavior of absent leaders, resistant managers, and staff. In the area of leaders, this is leaders are going to be important. When I’m talking about leaders, I’m talking about sponsors, senior executives, maybe branch chiefs, any of those types of persons who are the overall leaders that you as a project manager, or a team lead, would have to report to. You might have some issues here with absent leaders. For example, minimal communication, they are not modeling behavior, they’re too busy, not engaged. They start a process then disappear. They expect managers to take care of everything. They’re just absent in this.

Walter Stinnett: How can you actually deal with these? Well, what you’ll find in all of the ways to deal with these specific issues is the main thing is communication. Communicate from the most appropriate source, what does that mean? Well, it means that maybe the project manager is not the right person to communicate to that leader. Maybe the SME needs to … Subject Matter Expert, needs to come in to explain things. Or maybe it’s a financial person who needs to come in and explain the numbers on why change is needed.

Walter Stinnett: The thing is, is that we don’t want to tell them information like we’re blowing smoke through a megaphone. We need to answer their questions. Really, in the time of change there are really just three questions, what is change? Why is it happening? How is it happening? We need to make it worth their while so they’ll be in the game. Invite them to meetings. Provide that data. Acknowledge if there’s any conflicting priorities to work with them to try to get those resolved and stay engaged. Have them stay engaged. Have them to be involved with some of the meetings. Have their … Really to try to get them to be … to input, and give input into the actual process. Help them to maybe try to own that a little bit.

Walter Stinnett: How about resistant managers? Often seeing these things like protecting the turf, withholding information and such from a lot from functional managers. We’ve been in projects and such in which we have to go cross functional [inaudible 00:26:54] cross functions to get information. But they don’t want to give information because they’re protecting their turf. It might be that they are not assured of their … of the work that’s going on so they micromanage. What do we do for resolving resistant manager issues? Well, communication again, but in this particular instance, that communication must come down from the leadership, because ultimately it’s the leadership, the sponsors, the senior executives and such who are going to be the ones who are going to be expressing the vision and the strategy for the change.

Walter Stinnett: They need to communicate that down to the leaders, to the project managers and team leads and such. If the behavior needs to be addressed directly, it needs to be addressed. But importantly, you want to, in all of these actually, you want to listen to their concerns. This is where those inter-personal relation skills are really important to come in, you want to listen to their concerns. You want to be able to work with them to resolve the issues of their thinking as to why they don’t want to change. They may very well be, I should say they may very well in their resistance have ideas and such that could be helpful overall in this organizational change.

Walter Stinnett: Now, ground rules. As the actual process of change begins, then you can set ground rules. Kick-off meetings are very important for projects. That’s where you can really lay out things. Even if it’s a kick-off meeting to implement change, which ultimately will be often a project, then that’s when you can begin to express those ground rules and those expected behaviors. We’ve looked at the leader, down one step to managers, and now let’s take a look at behaviors of a resistant staff.

Walter Stinnett: Maybe you’ve experienced this, them, “forgetting about the change” complaining to everyone, asking a lot of questions, increase the anxiety and fear. I know for one thing is that when you are having a contract and it’s a five-year contract, and with an agency, and that’s coming in and you’ve got to re-compete, there can be anxiety and fear. While change affects everyone, it might be felt more with those who are actually doing the work of the project. I’m not minimizing the work of the leaders or the managers, but they may not necessarily be doing the day-to-day work. It would be important for the manager to really keep a pulse on their team.

Walter Stinnett: What is really key here is, is that while the leaders, they are the ones who are to express the overall strategy for the change, it is the project manager who is going to be communicating with their team. They are the ones who are down in the trenches with these team members. It’s important that strategy and such is funneled from the leader through the project manager to the staff so that things can be worked out and understood in terms of the change. Now, one of the things here that … now I’ve sort of already mentioned all of this, but in resolving resistant staff, I got ahead of my slides. But yeah, you can see here that’s important to … in all of these. Communication from management, manager needs to communicate.

Walter Stinnett: Again, listen to their concerns. Be clear on the vision and reason of change. Communicate, communicate, communicate is going to be key. Now, one of the things here is that we just recently moved to a new office and I didn’t want the change because I was moving from a traditional office to an open cube. I expressed my concern and such like that in my … no really I didn’t express my unwillingness of wanting to not … to lose my office, but interestingly, once I moved here, and in this open space, I like being in my cube in this open space even more.

Walter Stinnett: I say that to say this, is that if we don’t communicate, we may not necessarily know really how to work with our team members, to help them to embrace that change. It’s going to be important to do that. We talked about resistant staff, resistant managers, resistant leaders, but how about organizationally? What can you do to bring change organizationally? Well, we’re going to just real briefly look at John Kotter’s 8 Step Process here.

Walter Stinnett: Now, I don’t have any time really to go through these in depth, but this is going to be an introduction. I hope it’ll whet your appetite. He is one of the leaders. This process was cultivated from over four decades of Dr. Kotter observation of countless leaders and organizations as they transformed and as they executed their strategies. He identified and extracted these processes from his observations. You can go into his book, or on his website, and you can look at these. You’ve got his book Leading Change, the Heart of Change, which goes more in depth. But this is really a process that can help you to bring and lead change successfully in your organization.

Walter Stinnett: We need to create a climate for change. We need to build an urgency, because that window of opportunity that is open today may be closed tomorrow. So that if we can really create that sense of urgency, then that can bring commonality, it can clarify your energy. It can bring people together. As you do that, you can begin to build a guiding coalition which Kotter says is the nerve center for those eight-step processes. It should be members of your organization from various levels of hierarchy that are wanting to be part of that change, and agree with that change.

Walter Stinnett: You’ve got the create sense of urgency, building a guiding coalition, and then form a strategic initiative, that’s going to be key, that initiative, that strategy is what’s going to keep the fuel in the fire on the change. Then as you move up, you can engage and enable the whole organization. You have all of these. That large scale change can only occur when a very significant number of employees amass under that common opportunity. This is similar to the guiding coalition because whereas step two is talking about certain people, step four is about people across the organization. It’s going to be key that people, when they’re given a choice, that they have permission to act.

Walter Stinnett: Excitement needs to be built around the opportunity. But that can’t really be done unless … if you have all kinds of archaic processes and norms in the way. Obstacles need to be removed so that risk taking can be encouraged, that people will feel free to make the choice of wanting to do the change but not having to do the change. This is key. If any types of win, no matter how small it is, in terms of people being successful in implementing change, or being involved in the change, that needs to be celebrated because it is not an accident.

Walter Stinnett: Then finally, once you have really instilled this excitement of change then that change needs to be implemented and sustained. If you have your first successes, you need to press harder. You don’t need to … Because oftentimes when things happen, we take our foot off of the pedal, but we need to be relentless in terms of changing, continuing the change. Even if you have a few wins, don’t take your foot off the pedal, but take time to really take that momentum and build upon that momentum. You need to … by doing that you can ensure that those behaviors are repeated over the long term.

Walter Stinnett: A key here is to communicate those connections between those behaviors and the organizations’ success. I would highly recommend to go in to Kotter’s website and to get his books, to really implement it, to help you to implement these changes, because it’s going … because of course I can’t go through all of this, but hopefully this whetted your appetite to be able to want to then look into this, to help your organizations implement change.

Walter Stinnett: In summary, change is normal resistance. Actively managing change is not an option, change management plus project management means successful communications. Projects, communicate, communicate, we must have active sponsors. Everyone has their role. Everyone is important. People make or break your project. All right, well thank you very much for the opportunity to present this. Kyle I’ll give it back to you, see if there are any questions.

Kyle: Thank you so much Walter. I appreciate you sharing your insights with us today. Yeah, we do have a little bit of time left. If anyone has any questions, feel free to chat those over in the chat box there. We’ll answer those for you. Before we depart, Walter in case anybody’s interested in reaching out or learning more about Edwards, do you have contact information you’d be willing to share?

Walter Stinnett: Yes, it’s on the last slide there, the email address. But I can give that to you as well. My name is Walter Stinnett S-T-I-N-N-E-T-T. My email address is wstinnett@edwps that’s an acronym for Edwards Project Solutions, E-D-W-P-S. Also, I will say on that last page is an email to Jenna [Hussman 00:40:11]. She is our overall organizational manager, change manager. She has all of the major change certifications. If anyone wants to reach out to her as well that’s perfectly fine.

Kyle: Excellent. Thanks Walter. Thanks for the great session today. We do appreciate that. For those of you that are claiming the PDU credit for today’s session I’ll get that info back on the screen for you now. Today’s session is eligible for 3/4 of a PDU in the strategic talent triangle category. Just to confirm that is the strategic category, the opening slide actually said something different, so yes, it is a strategic category for today’s session. If you missed any of today’s session, or would like to go back and review, the recording will be posted at mpug.com a bit later today. You’ll receive an email in just a couple hours with a link to that recording. MPUG members have full access to our PDU eligible library of on-demand webinar recordings on mpug.com.

Kyle: We also have a couple great sessions coming up on the calendar. Next week on February 26th, Dr. Lynette Reed will join us for a session on building positive relationships with stakeholders. That was a highly requested topic from the community. We’re bringing that session to you next week. The following week, Ira Brown will return for a session on adding to his previous sessions on beyond macros. This one will cover automating Microsoft Project for non-techies. It’ll be a helpful session to make your Microsoft Project usage more efficient and speed things up for you. Another great session to attend.

Kyle: We also have a handful of other sessions on the calendar. You can access those and register for those now on mpug.com. That does it for today’s session. Once again, I’d like to thank you Walter for presenting today. I want to thank everyone joining us live, those of you watching the session on-demand as well. We hope you have a great rest of your day. We’ll see you soon for our next live session. Thanks again.


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Written by Walter Stinnett

Walter Stinnett serves as a Program Manager for Edwards Performance Solutions. He manages a large federal government training contract and teaches primarily Microsoft Project and project management courses. He joined Edwards in 2004 as a Project Coordinator and Scheduler and provided project planning and scheduling support to a variety of commercial and federal government clients. Walter’s certifications include the PMP and MCTS.

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