At the start of July, I ran another of the popular PM courses on “Managing Change and Leadership” As usual, I promised the delegates a summary from the session and the delay was due to me reviewing a new book on Managing Change (see below).

We started the session with a review of the particular challenges that were faced when managing change and leadership:

  • Promoting a global identity
  • Building a sales culture
  • Managing leadership (managing upwards)
  • Establishing a bid process
  • Generating more enthusiasm for business development
  • Creating a culture of active client development

We spent a fair amount of time considering the impact of reward systems (for both partners and non-partners) that supports the status quo. There was also some discussion on case studies where the importance of physical environment, new markets and new services were examined. The thinking (cognitive), behaviour (emotions) and systems changes were placed in the context in the various models explored.

In the communication section, delegates talked about the use of internal social network analysis to assist with the identification of key influencers. To understand how such tools work, a simpler tool is available for exploring external networks in LinkedIn

At the end of the session, I asked what they had found most useful:

  • Development of a compelling vision
  • Storyboard technique
  • The value matrix
  • Segmenting people based on their influence and needs
  • Taking time out to review the change programme holistically
  • The 10 commandments of change management

Books on leadership

During the session, lists of books for further reading on change management (especially Kotter) were provided. But I was asked to recommend my favourite book on leadership. Personally, I really like John Adair’s methodology – he has written many books but a good starting point is probably “Effective Leadership: How to be a successful leader”. For the time pressed seeking pragmatic advice, the books by Kenneth Blanchard are worth a skim.

Asking around, other favourites included: “Leadership: Plain and Simple” by Steve Radcliffe (Financial Times Series) and “The Three Levels of Leadership: How to Develop Your Leadership Presence, Knowhow and Skill” by James Scouller and, of course, HBR’s 10 Must Reads on Leadership. Let me know what you think is your favourite.

BTW – I thought that the following blog on the six distinctions of highly successful women was worth a read

The Sunday Times “Managing Change” by Patrick Forsyth

Patrick is a respected and long serving member of the professional services marketing community (although this book is aimed at businesses generally) and has written many books. This new 140 page paperback, published by Kogan Page, is a quick and easy read. It is probably best positioned as a book for change management beginners – or perhaps for a fee-earner newly promoted to a management position.

Change management is a large, multi-faceted subject covering organisational development, psychology, strategy and leadership disciplines. Patrick adopts a pragmatic approach (there are few theoretical or academic references) as he explores strategic, innovative, management and technical (where the case study is the use of QR codes) change.

Whilst there is acknowledgement of the influences on behaviour (and there are some good observations on motivation), there is little on personal, team or organisational psychology although there is some useful material on resistance. The use of technology and social media in the structured communications process is not explored.

There is reference to the Harvey and Brown readiness for change model – stability of the environment against management adaptability. I found the frequent mentions of the Japanese Kaizen principles (for quality management systems) somewhat strange – particularly as there was no other references to the cultural influences that have a significant impact on change management programmes.

There’s some good basic stuff on mentoring, training and appraisals and the final section on key questions is a helpful aide-memoire.

Patrick offers the following framework in a mnemonic:

  • Shared vision
  • Understanding of the organisation
  • Culture compatibility
  • Clear communication
  • Expert assistance
  • Strong leadership
  • Stakeholder commitment

And to add to the personal transition models, he offers:

  • Uninformed optimism
  • Informed pessimism
  • Realism
  • Informed optimism
  • Acceptance and support

Chapters include:

  1. The nature of change
  2. Preparing for change
  3. Prompting successful change
  4. Communication change
  5. Change in practice
  6. Fit for change