Successful change programs have change resources involved from day 1 and they are seen as integral to the program’s success. The role goes beyond impact assessments, training, stakeholder management and communication, and extends, for example, to helping to shape the scope, nature and timing of the change roadmap.
For practitioners to take on this expanded role they need to have both depth and breadth of knowledge and experience.
Being a change practitioner isn’t for the faint hearted. It’s a demanding and rewarding profession, in a dynamic and challenging environment.
Central to a change practitioner’s success is demonstrating value. However, in many quarters the function is still not defined or well understood. Consequently, there are different ideas as to where a skilled practitioner can best add value.
Importantly, if the value a change practitioner brings to the table is not understood, the role played will be diminished, and the practitioner may find themselves ‘out of the loop’ on critical issues and decisions.
So, how do you ensure that you aren’t kept on the sidelines?
3 Facets of the Change Practitioner
There are three core elements:
1. Understand the business – know the business inside and out; understand the revenue and cost drivers; be able to identify the driving forces of change in your organisation’s industry; and detail the linkage between strategy and execution.
2. Have a growth and resilient mindset – be open to new learnings and expand your field of view; read widely and be across the latest trends and research; and be willing to put forward your view.
3. Be technically capable – have a thorough understanding of the functional discipline.
It is not enough to be good at just one of these elements. You need to excel in all of them.
Applying the right mindset to your work, along with strong technical capabilities enables you to operate with energy (“vigour”).
While having a growth mindset and a strong understanding of the business empowers you to speak up and be heard (“voice”).
And lastly, having technical capability and strong business understanding enables you to be the authority in your field, so you will operate with a clear direction and mandate (“validity”).
By having vigour, voice and validity, the change practitioner can step up to the next level, and move from being seen as peripheral to the main game, to being a central player. A valued asset!
Adopting this model requires change and learning, but as with everything in life the more we know, the more we grow, and therefore the more we gain.
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