December: The 11 best Change Management articles, videos and podcasts

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What a year it has been. When we entered 2020, none of us expected change to accelerate quite as dramatic as it did, that the level of uncertainty would skyrocket (thereby making clear communication a must), or that how we must do change management also would change. I love change, but I hope that 2021 will be less eventful.

December, which seems so far away due to the recent holiday, produced many great resources; articles, podcasts and videos. As always, I am interested in hearing about new sources, or if you have written anything, we all should know about. As always, comments and reflections are welcome.

Before I list this month’s selection of CM resources, I’d like to wish you all a Happy New Year. Let’s hope that this year will be much better than the last one.

So in no particular order, let’s get started…


1. NAMRATA MALHOTRA & CHARLENE ZIETSMA. Getting Your Team to Buy into a Big Change

Change is hard for all, also for lawyers. This article, written by Namrata Malhotra and Charlene Zeitsma – two associate professors in strategy and management, respectively. They have investigated five elite London Law firms which have introduced a new senior role – “counsel”. The firms thought that associates would welcome the chance to senior-level lawyers without the punishing hours. But they didn’t. In fact, they distrusted the new role and resisted. For 11 years, the two researchers studied how advocates for change mitigated the objections people raised about the new role.

What the two researchers found, was that the associates strenuously denied the counsel role’s relevance for their own careers, but insisted that it would be good for other colleagues who had different priorities. Over 11 years, Namrata and Charlene identified three main objections to the counsel role

  1. Irreconcilability: To be considered a serious lawyer, you must devote everything to the law firm. Hence, the role of a Counsel is irreconcilable with professional success.
  2. Ambiguity: Associates questioned whether the role of Counsel was sufficiently distinct from the role of Partner, implying that the compensation might not be fair.
  3. Contradiction: Partners worried that the role of Counsel would potentially demotivate senior associates in their professional development.

To each objection, Namrata and Charlene have formulated a mitigating response. I recommend you to read the full article, to understand how to respond to such objections. Thank you for enlightening research and an interesting article. 

2. AARON DE SMET. From remote work to organizational health: 5 ways to help teams during uncertain times

Aaron de Smet has collected the five most-read articles of the McKinsey Organization blog. It is no surprise, that they all revolve around the massive amounts of changes, that we have had to deal with during 2020. I list them here, because I think they are worth reading all of them.

Thank you for a nice collection of articles. 

3. LISA KEMPTON. 5 Ways to help Sponsors Build a Coalition of Support for Change

Building a coalition of support is among the most essential roles of a sponsor. It will make any organizational change much more likely to succeed. In this article, Lisa Kempton sheds light on the important role of sponsors and presents five ways to help your sponsor build a coalition.

In the Prosci Best Practices, 36% of participants report that their sponsor underestimated or misunderstood the people-side impacts of a project. So, let’s make sure that we get that right.

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Lisa has listed five ways to help your sponsor build a coalition:

  1. Present a compelling case for the change. Leaders value facts and figures, so equip them with the right information and a compelling case for the change. 
  2. Use tailored and plain language. Don’t use change management terms; try to speak in a language that leaders understand. 
  3. Build a Sponsor Coalition Map. Visualize the level of support you have for the change in each business group through a Sponsor Coalition Map.
  4. Equip sponsors and change agents. Maybe your sponsors have the awareness and desire to become an effective sponsor but do not have the knowledge of how to do it. Host Change Management Sponsor Briefings to fill out that need. 
  5. Coach sponsors. Periodic, one-on-one coaching sessions help sponsors translate their Knowledge into Ability. Change teams can also enlist effective sponsors to coach new or less effective sponsors in change management.

Building a coalition of support is so important to succeed with organizational changes. This article is useful if you are in any doubt about your role as a sponsor or if you are coaching a sponsor on her/his role as a sponsor.

4. ONEKA J. CORNELIUS. How to promote mental health as a Change Leader

In this article by Oneka Cornelius, the subject of mental health is elaborated on. She pinpoints today’s critical need to be aware of the importance of mental health resources. During COVID 19, the lines between personal life and work have become even more blurred than they already were. In these times of change, all leaders must consider themselves ‘change leaders’.

Oneka lists five ways to help your team member’s mental health:

  1. Be clear, be honest. Ambiguity and vagueness are anxiety-inducing. You can diminish some of the uncertainty by being as up-front as possible. 
  2. Communicate early on. This is yet another tool to reduce uncertainty. People need as much time to pivot as possible, so communicate early on. 
  3. Be open to ideas. Be solution-oriented.
  4. Vocalize appreciation. People need to know when they are doing well.
  5. Check-in regularly. Regular check-ins from leadership to ask how someone is doing (and mean it).

If you want a few extra tips on what other actions to consider, read the full article.  

5. MORTEN KAMP ANDERSEN. Manage your culture to successfully emerge from Covid-19.

How agile, innovative and productive your organisation will be in the new work environment post-Covid-19 is almost exclusively determined by your organisational culture. I have written this article, to shed a light on the importance of organizational culture and how to measure it.

Culture is more important than ever. Culture determines leadership style, impacts employee’s engagement, customer satisfaction, how innovative your organisation can be, and ultimately, its performance. And today’s crisis is challenging all these parameters. A real effort to understand your organisation’s culture is therefore needed in Covid-19.

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 Therefore, I would like to introduce proCulture – the tool you need to map out your organizational culture. This perspective allows you to map your culture, shedding light on the way things get done in your organisation. Interviews and focus groups are key to kick-start the exploration and generate qualitative data. Check out our full report for a step-by-step of the methodology.

Remember that there is no change without excellent sponsorship, no change without leaders walking the talk, and no sense of progress of without an efficient monitoring system.

6. DAVID WILKINSON. How Organizations unwittingly obstruct their own organizational change

David Wilkinson argues that organizational barriers to change can make great challenges in the implementation of new methods, tools and techniques. The article and its conclusions are based on a study by the Swedish Social Insurance Agency, who introduced a new tool; ‘motivational interviewing techniques’, which is designed to increase employees’ return to work rates after sick leave.

The study is set out to measure the effectiveness of motivational interviews to increase return to work behaviours and shorten sickness absence across the entire country. The fact that people are frequently reticent to return to work after a significant absence, constitute a challenge for the organizations as well as the individuals. Hence, it was decided to train over 3,500 Swedish sickness insurance agency staff in motivational interviewing techniques in order to increase return to work behaviours following sickness absence. However, the implementation of this new tool, did not go as expected.

David outlines 5 issues that obstructed the change:

  1. The coaching provided for people using motivational interviewing was too time limited.
  2. The management were not focused on helping to support the use and development of motivational interviewing
  3. Employees using motivational interviewing got little to no feedback on how they were doing or their successes
  4. Many of the employees tasked with using motivational interviewing found that their workloads were not adjusted to take the actual interviews into account. 
  5. Lastly it was found that motivational interviewing was less of a priority in certain areas of the organisation than others.

David finalizes his article with a discussion of when the change is considered to be implemented. I can really recommend this article. It presents an interesting nuance of organizational change and the barriers that may appear in the process. 

7. LAMARSH GLOBAL. 4 questions to answer about the ROI of change management

The return of investment (ROI) of Change Management is difficult to measure. It can be challenging to convince your leader to allocate enough resources. Instead of calculating a definite ROI of your Change Management resources, LaMarsh provides a number of questions, which can help you determine the ROI.

  1. What are the minimum results we need to be successful? You must determine or envision what success looks like. LaMarsh defines results: Quality of Solution x Acceptance of Solution = Result.
  2. What will it take to implement the best solution? The above calculation describes the opportunity, alternatives considered, proposed solution, the total cost of ownership and projected benefits – and likely expressed in limited financial terms.
  3. What level of acceptance is required for this change to be successful? The acceptance of the solution describes its acceptance or adoption by people impacted by the change or the leaders responsible.
  4. What support do we need to provide to those who are impacted? Too often, it is assumed that the acceptance rate of a project will be 100%. Hence, the complete costs to get people to understand, accept and adopt the change is not recognized.

All in all, these questions shed light on the fact that the people side of change is a critical aspect of change. Subsequently, LaMarsh finishes the article with the bonus question for you to ask: Does the success of this change depend on behaviour change? I rarely find a project where the answer is no. Have you?


8. WHAT MONKEYS DO. Why you cannot trust your memory w/Elizabeth Loftus

Our memory is a construction and is relatively easy to influence. For example, you probably think that you know exactly where you where and what you were doing on 9/11. But chances are, that parts of the memory are not entirely true. The good news is, that you can improve the quality and accuracy of your memory.

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Elizabeth Loftus is the world’s leading expert on memory and is known for her work on the nature of false memories. She found that it is possible to plant entire false events into the minds of ordinary people and have them remember it like any other memory. Her studies on false memory made her the most influential female psychological researcher of the 20th century. In this episode of What Monkeys Do, we talk about memory and how it is possible to improve the accuracy of your memory. 

9. THE 90TH PERCENTILE: The Science Behind What Inspiring Leaders Do

In the 15th episode of ZengerFolkman’s podcast: The 90th Percentile: An Unconventional Leadership Podcast Jack Zenger talks about how to be an inspiring leader. I have included this, because New Ways of Working, remote work, Covid-19 and all are putting new demands on what great leadership is and what leaders are required to do to champion change in their organisations.

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Jack Zenger is a great inspiration of mine, and I really enjoy his podcasts. I hope you will too. 

10. COMMS SHIFT. The 4Cs Framework for Enterprise Communicators with Kerri Warner

2020 has brought about many challenges. However, one silver lightening is the new focus on employee communication. To elaborate on employee communication, the Comms Shift podcast has brought Kerri Warner to the studio. They talk about:

  • The role of the communicator in the enterprise
  • How the role of the communicator is changing
  • Breaking down the roles of employee communications in the enterprise through 4Cs:
  • The Convener
  • The Connector
  • The Caretaker
  • The Creative


11. IG TaC CONSULTING. Chapter 3 Change Management Models

In this video by IG TaC Consulting, we look at 3 common Change Management models: Lewin, Kotter and Prosci’s ADKAR. 

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