Any large-scale change initiative will involve summoning support for the changes from across the organisation. Staff may take on a number of different roles in relation to the change process. This section identifies these roles and their application in an educational setting (depending on the nature and scale of the change not all roles may be appropriate to any particular change).
It should be noted that the language of change management can itself be a barrier to effecting change within a college or university setting where change titles such as ‘change agent’ are not widely used and if applied are likely to meet with scepticism and some resistance. For example, calling heads of department ‘change agents’ may not meet with approval! The roles required to effect change will however exist in any successful change process. Sometimes it can be beneficial to use the terminology to clearly signal the need to change.
Whatever the language used, there needs to be a clear understanding of the key roles; lack of clarity about roles and expectations is one of the biggest barriers to success. The roles are very similar to the roles of sponsor, manager and champion involved in any project.
The change team, in other words the group of staff charged with implementing the change, must have the confidence of both management and staff affected by the change. They will:
- Be drawn from all areas affected by the change
- Demonstrate commitment to the change (essential)
- Need to be given the time and recognition to undertake the role
- Support the change manager in undertaking his/her role and responsibilities
It is critical that you get the right mix of people in the team and that you create the conditions for them to succeed.
An overlap of roles is not uncommon – while acting as part of a change team, colleagues will most likely act as change participants as well making changes to their own practices. This can cause personal conflict, and create a risk to the change initiative. For example, a change agent, who would need to act as a role model, may initially have conflicting views about the change situation, and thus may find it difficult to fulfil the change agent role.
Change roles are often given to individuals with minimal consideration of the consequences. General factors to be considered when apportioning roles include:
- Getting the balance of the team right (representation of all areas affected, authority, experience, skills etc)
- Providing sufficient time to undertake the expected roles
- Meeting any training needs for the new roles
In the education setting a change manager has to deal with a large number of individuals with potentially differing viewpoints and also with an equally large number of groups and committees. Responsibility Charting can help you clarify the decision making process in your organisation (see further resources).
“Change agents are expected to utilise strong facilitation and coaching skills, but conflict management skills learned from ACAS have also been extremely useful.”
University of Central Lancashire
Responsibility charting helps to clarify who is responsible for what with respect to various decisions and actions. It is a simple, relevant and effective technique for improving team functioning and ensuring clarity of responsibilities during a change process.
A responsibility charting session can quickly identify who is to do what in relation to new initiatives, as well as helping to pinpoint reasons why previous decisions are not being accomplished as desired.
Responsibility charting is a good intervention to use to:
- improve the task performance of a team with their existing work.
- to clarify roles and responsibilities before, during or after a change process.
It can also be particularly useful where decision making is embedded in a complex committee structure as the tool can be adapted to indicate which committees or interest groups need to be involved in approving change and which need to be kept informed
The first step is to devise a decision matrix form. Down the left side list the decisions that are at issue. They may be decisions relating to policy and procedure or to the practicalities of implementation. Across the top fill in the actual and/or potential actors who are relevant to the listed decisions.
The next step is to agree the definitions of behaviours associated with the decision making process. A typical set of terms is:
- A = APPROVE a person who must sign off or veto a decision before it is implemented or selected from options developed by the R role; accountable for the quality of the decision.
- R = RESPONSIBLE the person who takes the initiative in the particular area, develops the alternatives, analyses the situation, makes the initial recommendation, and is accountable if nothing happens in the area.
- C = CONSULTED a person who must be consulted prior to a decision being reached but with no veto power.
- I = INFORMED a person who must be notified after a decision, but before it is publicly announced; someone who needs to know the outcome for other related tasks but need not give input.
- DK = DON’T KNOW
A blank indicates no relationship.
|Actor 1||Actor 2||Actor 3||Actor 4|
The tool is similar to the RAEW Analysis used in process review and can indeed be used as part of a continuous improvement approach to reviewing institutional decision making processes.
Checklist for planners and leaders of change
Adapted from a list provided by Kings College London.
Demonstrates ability to adapt operational activities to internal and external changes and to promote a change culture among colleagues and subordinates and to promote change to enhance efficiency, working relationships and customer service.
- Demonstrates an understanding of and commitment to the development of a change culture
- Demonstrates a commitment to personal role, responsibility and essential characteristics of a change leader
- Creates and maintains a culture of continuous change and improvement
- Identifies opportunities for improvement in activities
- Encourages team to suggest and promote ideas for improvements
- Ensures that co-workers are properly informed about change events
- Communicates the causes, nature, significance and impact of foreseeable change to staff
- Understands the impact of change events and processes on the organisation and individual
- Communicates and sells the benefits of change
- Consults and debates with staff at the planning, implementation and review stages of change projects
- Identifies and deals with obstacles to change
- Designs and implements a change programme
- Obtains insight from the experience of internal and external change events
- Monitors, evaluates and amends change processes.
Relating actions to institutional aims and objectives
Demonstrates knowledge and understanding of key objectives and primary aims, and relates activities to institutional strategies. Maintains a view of the ‘big picture’ in professional undertakings.
- Demonstrates an understanding of the role of the institution in delivering excellence in teaching and research and the interrelationship of both
- Assesses the changing patterns of the sector, the impact of regulators, competitiveness in the national and international market
- Shows an awareness of key objectives and strategic policies and mission
- Can demonstrate how programmes of work contribute to the primary strategies
- Maintains up-to-date knowledge of the institution’s key strategies and trends in the sector
- Has an understanding of the organisational structure and how functions interact
- Understands how key activities are funded and how resources are devolved
- Devises a system to ensure that co-workers are briefed and updated about the institution’s strategies and procedures
- Assists in the translation of corporate strategies into individuals’ performance
- Identifies standards that would form the basis of shared culture and values
- Applies emerging equal opportunities policies to management activities.
Leads and motivates others to achieve objectives.
- Acts positively to maintain integrity; leads by example
- Agrees and sets goals
- Keeps promises and follows through on commitments and agreements (on time)
- Takes a structured approach to delegation and empowerment
- Takes responsibility for actions, does not abdicate; experiments
- Adaptable leadership style
- Guides and coaches rather than instructs; involves others appropriately
- Develops team and individuals; builds cooperative relationships
- Uses co-workers strengths and recognises all contributions
- Informs and briefs team
- Obtains commitment from others through leadership and example
- Encourages feedback on own leadership style from staff; accepts criticism
- Devises incentives for team members; celebrates milestones
- Exercises judgement in explaining and implementing local promotion review procedures.
Communicating and working in teams
Communicates effectively with others and responds constructively. Participates actively and constructively as a team member.
- Develops and maintains helpful and supportive working relationship with colleagues
- Consults with managers and colleagues about important issues
- In discussions, cultures a reputation for frankness, openness, respect, ability to act on agreements
- Contributes on a regular basis to team meetings
- Takes on board others’ views, listens
- Presents complex data clearly and accurately, verbal or written
- Adapts communication style to circumstances
- Interfaces constructively with customers and suppliers (internal and external)
- Influences and persuades others, negotiates firmly when required
- Delegates effectively and consults appropriately
- Ensures that roles and responsibilities of all team members are clear
- Participates willingly and actively in team meetings/briefings/activities
- Generates ideas and responds to others positively
- Shows respect for colleagues
- Supports team development by passing on skills and using effective coaching techniques
- Acts on own initiative to help others with problems and peak workloads
- Resolves conflict sensitively
- Shows and develops trust among co-workers associated with, and in the team
- Demonstrates ability and willingness to give positive feedback to colleagues.
Managing training and development
The training provided, aligned with corporate targets, has truly changed the culture of the learning environment in the institute. It has also proved to staff, in the clearest possible terms, the benefits of systematic training in assisting them to do their job better.
From 'Implementing a VLE at the Belfast Institute of Further and Higher Education (now Belfast Metropolitan College): Changing the Culture' case study
Commitment to train and develop individuals and teams.
- Recognises the significance of manager’s role with regard to competence (functions and tasks executed effectively) and competencies (values, behaviours and related processes fundamental to professional performance)
- Establishes sustainable networks of managers to discuss issues of mutual importance thereby to enable learning from each other
- Implements a structured approach to training needs analysis
- Demonstrates a managed and sustained programme of appraisal
- Shows awareness of own development needs and acts accordingly
- Seeks specialist advice in developing training plans, for example, learning styles, methods of delivery, timing, accreditation (where appropriate)
- Ensures that all staff have a personal development plan (PDP)
- Generates team awareness and agreement on how PDPs benefit the team as a whole
- Inspires co-workers about the benefits of training to themselves and their career paths
- Provides team members with equal access to training opportunities
- Participates actively in the training review process
- Passes on practical skills and knowledge to others
- Takes action to ensure that the identified needs are met
- Reviews and evaluates training actions to ensure that they are applied effectively
- Develops practical steps to ensure successful succession evaluation and planning
- Evaluates the practical benefits of training and development programmes and advises accordingly
- Provides constructive feedback to trainers and trainees
- Contributes towards the improvement of practices and policies.
Initiating plans/projects and taking critical decisions
i) The planning process
Structured deployment of institutional and personal resources to ensure deadlines and objectives are met.
- Sets goal orientated plans and projects
- Uses reliable sources of information and methodology
- Selects and uses effective methods of analysis to identify patterns or trends from emerging information and draws appropriate conclusions supported by valid evidence
- Breaks work down into logical stages with appropriate priorities and timescales
- Reviews and monitors progress against plan
- Directs and re-directs effort and resource as appropriate
- Committed to achieving deadlines and objectives
- Able to set objectives and critical success factors.
The ability to identify, develop and apply new and original ideas for the operational and strategic development of the business.
- Receptive to new ideas and working practices
- Able to think laterally
- Regularly makes suggestions on areas of improvement
- Champions new ideas and creative attitudes
- Proactive rather than reactive
- Up-to-date with current thinking
- Prepared to take calculated risks.
Weighing up relevant information and deciding upon the most appropriate course of action.
- Takes an overview by weighing alternatives, opportunities and threats
- Considers key objectives in reaching decisions
- Evaluates short term versus long term benefits
- Takes note of precedents whilst being unafraid of setting new ones
- Employs a systems to gather all relevant information
- Knows when to ask for advice.
Meets obligations by initiating and responding positively to different conditions.
- Adapts readily to different roles, conditions, personal styles, policies, organisational variation within the institution
- Modifies existing approaches to problems to seek improvement
- Pro-active in training identification and execution
- Ready to accept different or additional responsibilities
- Accepts that change is normal.
v) Managing the project
- Understands the principles and techniques of project management as they may be applied to field of management
- Designs the distinct stages of the project and applies the techniques and tools available for scheduling, monitoring and controlling the project
- Progresses the project, basing decisions on sufficient, valid and reliable information
- Ensures that execution is consistent with the organisation’s values, policies, guidelines and procedures
- Identifies alternative information relevant to the stage of execution of the project
- At key stages ensures effective two way feedback between stakeholders involved in the project.
Dealing with poor performance
Deals with issues where performance is unsatisfactory in the context of relevant level of authority and access to professional advice.
- Maintains and develops clearly identifiable performance standards with respect to current and evolving job descriptions
- Demonstrates awareness of institutional policies on competency and ability
- Identifies poor performance in team members and acts promptly and appropriately in accordance with institutional and lawful requirements
- Provides regular opportunities to discuss problems which may impact on performance
- Gives criticism of performance skilfully
- Develops appropriate courses of action using internal or external agencies, thereby ensuring fairness, impartiality and transparency
- Takes positive steps to maintain confidence, trust and openness with co-workers
- Maintains accurate records of proceedings in connection with performance management
- Maintains confidentiality with respect to proceedings.