Archive for October, 2012

Listening Plans

Tuesday, October 30th, 2012

We need fewer Communication Plans and more Listening Plans

The communication plan has become an element of focus on projects today, especially with the realisation that Change Management needs to be a greater part of the effort that brings projects to successful outcomes. Many who are a part of the growing “change management” community face challenges with the effectiveness of the communication plan, as traditionally laid out in the project world.  Stakeholders cry out when they are not part of project planning, the changes being thrust upon them are not practical, and have not come with sufficient training. Perhaps a communication plan itself is not enough; rather we need to add or incorporate a distinct Listening Plan.

Most communication plans focus on the methods, timing and media that will be used to communicate project status and milestones to stakeholders. Although typically there are also discussions about collecting information and opinions from stakeholders, the emphasis is clearly on what will be communicated OUTWARD. Even if the project team included requirements and opinion collection exercises in the communication plan, the description often gives the stakeholders the perception these activities are secondary in importance.  A Listening Plan would provide greater detail in describing the process approaches for information and opinion collection, how that data will be captured, what will be done with that information, and how it will be fed back to stakeholders.

Often managers struggle with “buy-in” and want fewer issues with uptake from stakeholders – they end up saying “why can’t they just roll with the punches and apply the changes.” Maybe WE need to change a bit – change our language, change our emphasis and give up a bit of control – and institute a sincere and well thought out listening plan. Therefore our stakeholders get the perception we care about their views and in return we receive critical information vital to the success of the program.

Are you getting the buy-in you are hoping for with your change initiatives? Are you willing to modify the way you approach your planning? Maybe the Listening Plan is an approach you should consider.

Additional “listening plan” and change management support is available!

 

Mindavation team members have been involved in substantial change initiatives for over 20 years.  Our consulting services include assistance in the planning, transition and execution of project and change management programs. For details, email us at info@mindavation.com. You can learn about all of the Mindavation offerings at www.mindavation.com or www.mindavation.com.au.

 

A Whole Different Kind of Resilience

Tuesday, October 9th, 2012

As the instigators of change, project managers and business analysts require a whole different kind of resilience. Project leaders can be subject to the whims of senior leadership, who are trying to balance significant and conflicting priorities. They also have to deal with the workers on the coal face, who are trying to make sense of changing goals, business processes and expectations. Both senior leaders and workers can present their concerns with a vein of fear, and people in a position of fear are rarely predictable, nor easy to deal with. At the same time, the project managers are dealing with the very changes they are instigating. This begs the question, who does the project manager turn to when they need to deal with change and the corresponding fears that may surface?

The answer to this question can differ from person to person, however there are three different approaches a project manager can take:

  1. Talk to someone! A mentor- the best mentors know when to just listen, as well as when to guide or question and share their experience to support you.  A coach- the best coaches know what to listen for, what to reflect, and what questions to ask in service of moving you forward toward your intended goal or result. The very act of describing the challenges you are facing may help surface a viable solution.
  2. Other project managers. Inherently, leading a project can be a lonely task, but it doesn’t need to be. Reaching out and sharing your project issues and concerns with your project manager peers can produce ideas or a “united front” that can be the catalyst for change in an organisation.
  3. Go away and hide! Seriously! Taking 15-30 minutes with yourself and your thoughts to focus on the issues at hand and let your mind fully engage in solving the problems you are facing can be very beneficial. Find an empty conference room; go for a walk and turn off your mobile phone or go have a coffee and release the power you have to work through your issues.

Whether you follow one of these approaches or a different one, taking the opportunity to focus on solving your own project issues can be instrumental in delivering projects successfully.

Do you have a project issue that requires your focus…today?

Project coaching is available to you NOW!

Mindavation team members have been delivering project coaching services for over 15 years. For details on individual and group coaching packages, email us at info@mindavation.com. You can learn about all of the Mindavation offerings at www.mindavation.com or www.mindavation.com.au.