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Leadership and Stakeholder Engagement: Empowering Change versus Imposing Change

by Diep Le on Jan 31, 2013

Change is inevitable and any effort to manage change is uniquely complex. Organizational Change Management (OCM) is centered on managing the people side of change, and there are some key strategies you can use to involve your stakeholders throughout the process so that change is empowered, not imposed. The goal is to involve stakeholders in each and every change so that they are empowered to guide its success.

Have you had to quickly familiarize yourself with a new job performance or recruitment process? Have you had to use a newly implemented timecard or billing system? How well were these initiatives received and how long did it take for folks to adjust to the changes?

How quickly individuals adopt a new change and become productive in it depends on Leadership and Stakeholder engagement.  This key discipline discourages imposing changes upon individuals.  Instead, it encourages actively and adequately involving stakeholders throughout the process while also applying thought leadership. The idea is to effectively communicate and advocate for meaningful change in such a way that people don’t feel it is being done to them, but with them. All individuals want to feel empowered in the workplace and as though they are important to its success.  Without Leadership and Stakeholder Engagement, changes can be perceived as edicts that can quickly alienate your stakeholders.

To empower meaningful change, you can leverage a multitude of tools and techniques. CapTech utilizes a wide range of tools to assess and promote leadership and stakeholder engagement, including the following:

  • Business Case for Change/Project Charter -- Provides an overview of the project, business reasons and expected benefits for undertaking the project, as well as obtains authorization by the project sponsor to proceed with the project.
  • Evaluation Strategy and Expectation for Sponsor Questionnaire -- Provides insight into the scope of change as perceived and/or defined by the sponsor.
  • Sponsor Action Plan -- Effectively builds consensus with the sponsors to determine which activities will be implemented in order to engage all stakeholders.
  • Stakeholder Analysis -- Identifies which stakeholder groups will be affected by change and how they will be changed.
  • Champion Framework/Change Agent Network -- Establishes a framework that defines the organizational leaders and influencers, as well as outlines the method of engaging them and obtaining their support for the project.
  • Audience Analysis -- Identifies who the target audience(s) will be and what new skills and training will be needed.
  • Commitment Curve Assessment -- Quantitatively measures the level of readiness of the organization to accept changes.

To achieve the greatest level of success with your changes, focus on opportunities to involve leadership and stakeholder collaboration from the start. Empowering change by engaging early on with the people directly affected by the change and communicating its benefits increases the likelihood of acceptance.  Even the smallest lack of awareness or indifference to your stakeholders can quickly manifest into a problem that will negatively impact your business. Being sensitive to your stakeholders can bring about a change in a progressively evolutionary way, rather than a reactionary one.