The group of staff charged with implementing the change – they must have the confidence of both the management and the staff affected by the change. They:
- Will be drawn from all areas affected by the change
- Demonstrate commitment to the change (essential)
- Will 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
Someone with the expertise to lead the change, and can act as a role model for the new reality. May be an experienced project or change manager within the organisation or, possibly, brought in from outside with specific responsibility for managing the change.
The change manager has responsibility for the day-to-day implementation of the change:
- Designs the change process, strategy and approach, and agrees these with the change team.
- Takes responsibility and manages the change progress on a day-to-day basis.
- Designs the communication strategy and contingency plans for the change.
- Monitors progress.
- Facilitates key events to build commitment for the change.
- Liaises up and down the organisational structure.
Someone who has the authority, seniority, power, enthusiasm, and time to lead/carry through/oversee the changes. The change sponsor may not get involved with the day-to-day management of the change but should support and monitor progress. Usually he or she is a senior member of the management team given responsibility for effecting the change.
The change sponsor must ensure that the necessary resources are available throughout the change process and accepts ultimate responsibility for the successful change implementation:
- Agrees the change strategy and approach.
- Is an active champion and role model for the ‘new reality’.
- Monitors and communicates change progress to interested parties.
Making space for people to try new things is crucial when you are trying to effect change.
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