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Strategic insights
The Complex Model

Written by on May 19, 2006

The complex model can be used for very large and complicated change management projects. It usually involved a large group of people from many different departments. It also covers change of more than one thing. The project duration is usually between 6-36 months. The project is very complex and covers the majority of the company. The project contains a significant amount of unknown factors and tasks.

The time needed for analysis is sizeable and takes more than 60% of the total project time. A senior group of people (a top-level analysis team) is gathering and evaluating what each project team should do.

The project itself will be handled by a number of "Power Teams" - dedicated project team, which covers parts of the total project.

An open information policy is vital, as many employees will have doubts about themselves and the project ("what does this mean to me?", "Will I be fired?" etc.) It is very important to inform why we need to change, and what we expect the future to be like.

As with "the Medium-sized model", it is very important to "mark the end". Change management projects are about creating new processes. Actively saying "from this day, all existing rules and attitudes no longer applies" ensures that new ideas and progress in general is kept free of wrongdoings of the past.

Marking the end is often a critical action in complex change management projects.

Unfreeze

  1. What is going on - and why
    Analysis

    More Info »

    Before anything else, you should get to know the background and the reasons for the change. What is going on, why does it happen and what will it mean for the people involved?

    This is the basis for a better awareness for the rest of the tasks.

    Helpful methods

    • Market analysis
    • Competitor analysis
    • Market position analysis
  2. "Need-for-Change" Cost/Benefit
    Analysis

    More Info »

    Every project must be financial sound, which is why this model includes a "need-for-change" cost/benefit formula. This formula is slightly different from regular cost/benefit analysis, as it is specifically designed to handle change management projects.

    Change Management Formula:
    Need change  = [DMREV] > X

    D  = Dissatisfaction with the current situation
    M  = Motivation
    R  = Realistic
    E  = Est. increased efficiency
    V  = Est. increased revenue

    X = Est. resources to complete and support the change

    Helpful methods

    • Employee satisfaction analysis (satisfaction and motivation factor)
    • "Can-it-be-done" analysis (are you motivated, do you have enough resources, cash).
    • Economic feasibility study
    • Budget
  3. Establish analysis team
    Action

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    Analysis is mostly done by the project team or the people who started the project. Sometimes a number of people are brought in to estimate bigger issues, and at times the analysis is done by the management team.

    But the analysis in complex project is significantly bigger, and takes much longer. In these situations it will often be a good idea to create a dedicated group for the overall analysis.

    Helpful methods

    • Team plan
    • Belbin / DiSC
  4. Explain the situation
    Action

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    Everyone involved must have a good understanding for the change management project and its processes. It is essential to unsure that each person understands the situation. Why do we need to change? The explanation phase is often the result of the "What is going on - and why" analysis. At this stage you need to actively communicate the results.

    This is always done face-to-face

    Helpful methods

    • Introduction seminar
    • Information event
    • Storytelling or case stories
      consider inviting energetic speakers, especially in large projects
    • Communication plan
  5. Discuss the change
    Action

    More Info »

    It is essential to discuss the change before you define the project. You need this because:

    1. It ensures motivation and engagement.
    2. It ensures free flow of ideas (which cannot be done after the project has been defined)
    3. It ensures a good foundation for future planning

    Helpful methods

    • Brainstorming (positive, negative)
  6. Listen
    Action

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    This is a summation of the previous activities. This is the point where you actively listen to how people reacted. This is where you "read-between-the-lines".

    You use this phase to evaluate the obstacles ahead - the level of resistant.

  7. Invalidate present rules and policies
    Action

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    Past and present rules are one of the biggest obstacles to success in change management projects. We cannot change if you keep working like we used to.

    Because of this, it is essential to invalidate past and present rules and policies - in terms of rules; you need a state of anarchy during the project. This will allow the project member to act free, to be innovative and to experiment with new ideas and work methods - getting the best result possible.

    BTW: You redefine new rules and policies when the project nears completion. We do not want anarchy during daily operations. The new rules and policies are built upon the new and changed situation.

    Helpful methods

    • Paper shredder
  8. Mark the end
    Notice: from this day, all existing rules and attitudes no longer applies
    Action

    More Info »

    "Invalidating the present rules and policies" ensures an innovative work environment. Marking the end set the point in time where the old way stops. From these point old habits, work methods, flows, thoughts are secondary - and usually wrong. They no longer apply.

    This phase ensure that expressions like "we use to do ...", "that is how we usually work" is no longer valid.

    Helpful methods

    • Paper shredder
  9. Define your vision
    Action

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    What do we want to achieve. What should our life be like when the project is completed? The project vision is usually a smaller part of many change management projects - and the overall strategy and vision for the company.

    Helpful methods

    • Strategy plan
  10. Define your goals
    Action

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    What do you specifically want to achieve. What is the specific effect, workflow, state-of-mind you want to get?

    You should set primary and secondary goals for your project.

  11. Know you target group
    Analysis

    More Info »

    This is the people affected by the project. What are their opinions, their background, competence and knowledge? Do they embrace change, where are they located etc?

    It is also a good idea to look at people outside the project - anyone that can have an impact on the project.

    This is the basis for "identify problems" (next phase)

    Helpful methods

    • Situation analysis
    • Target analysis
    • Knowledge and competence analysis
  12. Identify problems
    Analysis

    More Info »

    No project is free of problems, but you can minimize the worst of them. Identify problems involves two elements:

    1. People
    2. Surroundings

    People cover internal problems - i.e. resistance to change, old habits, insecurity etc. It also covers how much information you need to give, how to involve and influence people.

    Surroundings cover everything else. External problems, legal issues, market issues etc.

    Identifying problems help create a better understanding, and a better awareness to problems and the risks involved.

    Helpful methods

    • SWOT
    • Risk analysis
  13. Create your "Power Teams" - Project teams
    Action

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    A Power Team is the group of people who is specifically a part of the project team. In many case it includes many of the people who started the project.

    A Power Team should always consist of people with a good understanding for the whole. The group should consist of people with different skill-sets (like Belbin's personality types: coordinators, implementers, completers, etc.)

    Helpful methods

    • Team plan
    • Roles
    • Project organization diagram
    • Belbin / DiSC
  14. Create a plan
    Notice: With short term goals and changes
    Analysis / Action

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    Creating a project plan is the last step of "Unfreeze", and forms the foundation for the work in "Move".

    A plan should contain:

    1. The actual work (tasks)
    2. By whom
    3. When (deadlines)
    4. I relation to what
    5. How each task is connected
    6. The needed result for each task
    7. Evaluation

    The plan should be divided in phases to split the project in smaller - easier - chunks. The move phase is specifically designed handle these chunks.

    Helpful methods

    • Action plan / Activity
    • Game plan

Move

More Info »

"Move" is special. You repeat the process for every phase on your project plan. In traditional projects you create energy, work and complete and finally evaluate the result. This is however not a good way to handling project. It is not unusual that the energy is drained and changes in the project plan yields serious complications.

To solve this, the change management models ensure understanding and energy for each phase. All phases need to be evaluated and changes worked out.

  1. Explain your vision, goals and plan - in relation to the future outcome
    Action

    More Info »

    You need to ensure that everyone understands how each phase fits into the overall vision and goal for the project. This ensures motivation and a good foundation for the work ahead.

    Helpful methods

    • Communication strategy
  2. Ensure a sense of security
    Action

    More Info »

    Often change management projects make people insecure about their future. You will often be changing how people work - and in some case the change means fewer people will be needed. This insecurity creates resistance, a direct threat to your project.

    Because of this, it is vital that you change how people perceive the change. Both your power team and people outside the project need to see it as a positive thing.

    Helpful methods

    • Storytelling
  3. Get everyone onboard
    Action

    More Info »

    The special thing about change management projects is that it is mostly about people, and these people need to be motivated and engaged.

    All phases should be kicked off with a pep talk or other activities that motivates and inspires. You also need to ensure that the step "Explain your vision, goal and plan" is something that everyone accepts.

    Helpful methods

    • Communication plan
    • Event
    • Team meeting
  4. Act!
    Action

    More Info »

    The actual work needed to complete all tasks in this phase.

  5. Evaluate, notice and present improvements/results - create energy
    Analysis / Action

    More Info »

    You should evaluate the phase upon its completion. This ensures that later phases can be completed effectively and with fewer problems.

    You also need to visually present the improvements and results from each phase. This yields a positive energy (vital for the next phase). It also helps to inform people outside the project group - in turn creating understanding and security.

    Helpful methods

    • Evaluation form
    • Communication plan
  6. Encourage great work - coach bad performers
    Action

    More Info »

    In connection with evaluating the phase you need to actively help your team members to move forward. The best way is to encourage and praise great work. If a person has done a lousy job it is very effective to use coaching techniques to help them do a better job in the future.

    Direct help and guidance may also be needed.

    Helpful methods

    • Modern management methods
    • Coaching
  7. Listen
    Get the pulse of your team
    Action

    More Info »

    This is a summation of the previous activities. This is the point where you actively listen to how people react. This is where you "read-between-the-lines".

    You use this phase to evaluate the obstacles ahead, and will help to determine if changes is needed.

  8. Adjust your plan
    Slow down if necessary
    Action

    More Info »

    Project plans are never a constant, but changes to a project plan is usually seen a negative thing - poor management etc.

    If that was true, we would never need change management projects - the world would be in a state of status quo. Changes are a natural thing, something that will always happen. But it is also something we need to keep under control.

    After each phase you need to look at the situation and adjust your plan accordingly.

    Note: The change management models focuses primarily on quality over time.

    Helpful methods

    • Action plan
  9. Ensure accept for the next step
    Action

    More Info »

    It is very important that you ensure the result is accepted during the final part of each phase. Without this, you risk the old tasks is reopened and takes away valuable time. But, acceptance is not about making people agree that the task is finished. It is about making sure that the work so far has solved what it was supposed to.

    Acceptance must come from the power team and other people involved.

    Helpful methods

    • Action plan
  10. Close the current task - create energy for the next
    Action

    More Info »

    You can get into problems if old issues resurface. You can prevent this by actively closing each phase and visually marking the end.

    At the same time, you use this step to create happiness for a job well done, which in turn create motivation and energy for the next.

    Helpful methods

    • Communication plan
    • Event
  11. Repeat
    Action

    More Info »

    Repeat "Move" for each phase in your action plan.

Freeze

  1. Define new rules and policies
    Action

    More Info »

    We removed old rules and policies in "Unfreeze" to create the foundation for free spirit and innovation - a state of anarchy. However, this is not a good foundation on a daily bases and new rules and policies must be created.

    The new rules and policies must be based on the new situation, compared with our vision and goals.

  2. Present the new "way of life"
    Action

    More Info »

    At the end of the project, you need to present the change - your "new way of life". This helps ensure that the change stays permanent, preventing people to go back to their old habits.

    It also provides clarity and understanding for future work - for the entire organization.

    Notice: It is usually important to do several follow-ups at a later date.

    Helpful methods

    • Communication plan
    • Storytelling
    • Event
  3. Celebrate - create energy
    Action

    More Info »

    Yeah! We made it!

    All projects, big and small, needs to be celebrated. Its purpose is to create motivation, happiness and energy for the future.

    The project's size should be mirrored by the size of the celebrations. A big project should end with a big celebration, while small projects may be celebrated with something as simple as saying "congratulation, well done!"

    You should create motivation and energy even if a project fails. It is vital that every project is closed with a positive attitude and motivation. Without it you will face even bigger problems with your next project.

    Helpful methods

    • Event
    • Rewards
    • A smile!
    • ...
  4. Evaluate the result
    Analysis

    More Info »

    This is a total evaluation for the entire project. Here you summarize your learning points and things you need to be aware of in future projects.

    Helpful methods

    • Project manager evaluation
    • Project team evaluation
    • Project evaluation
  5. (Unfreeze - and start the next project)
    Action

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Thomas Baekdal

Thomas Baekdal

Founder of Baekdal, author, writer, strategic consultant, and new media advocate.

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