I Ain't Afraid of No Change Management
I Ain't Afraid of No Change Management

I Ain't Afraid of No Change Management

11/01/2021 by Angela Hatem
Freakishly good tips and tricks for managing change, and avoiding Marshmallow Men.

There’s something strange happening at your org, who ya gonna call?  Call Arkus!”

Okay, I am no Ray Parker, Jr., but you’ve got to admit, that was a solid try.  

It’s the spookiest time of year my friends, and if your org is about to implement some new changes, things in your neighborhood might seem downright frightening.

Surprise glitches can lurk just around the corner, petrified end-users and skittish leadership can sneak up on you, unrealistic expectations can send a chill down your spine, but fear not!  

You’ve got this, and we’ve got you.  

Change and change management are never easy, but as the name of this blog post suggests, they are manageable.  

Have a plan, define success, and set the expectations.

Before you start adding, deleting, or feng shuing the bejeepers out of your organization’s environment, you need to have a plan. A roadmap that not only helps keep you on the right path, but also reminds you of where you are at this moment, where you are headed, and when you are going to get there. You wouldn’t try to take on a 70ft Stay Puft Marshmallow Man without a plan would you?! Of course not! Same goes for change management.  

A detailed plan provides focus and guidance to you as the change agent, it also helps with instilling confidence in your leadership skills, it even offers validation to the change that is about to occur within your organization.

Define, outline, and share internally and externally what you are aiming to accomplish, and what you are not. Oftentimes when organizations hear the word “change”, there are assumptions, concerns, and a bit of confusion. By being vocal and clear about what the change is or is not, and why the change is underway, you are sure to make things a little less creepy and kooky for everyone involved.  

You are good enough, you are smart enough, and gosh darn it, people do not like change! 

Much like Andy Dufrane from The Shawshank Redemption, as the agent of change management, be prepared to spend a significant amount of time crawling through a river of ick. Rest assured that once you get through it, you will come out on the other side clean and better for it.  

Change is a dirty job, but somebody has to do it, and if that somebody is you. I have a mantra for ya.  

“Your time is valuable. The effort you are putting forth towards managing change is important.” 

~Angela Hatem, Implementation Consultant, WordSmith, 1985 Presidential Physical Fitness Award Recipient. 

Remember it. Live it. Repeat it to yourself in the mirror while you rock out to some Thriller. You are a change warrior, ready to make things happen, and the good news is you don’t (and shouldn’t) have to fight this battle alone. You need a backup, a champion, someone who’s got your six (I watch way too much Law & Order), someone who occupies a corner office with an amazing view. You need...The C Level Executive. (duh, duh, duh!)

Okay, it’s not as dramatic as all that, but to be candid, when change is afoot, it sometimes doesn’t matter if you are the gatekeeper, or even the keymaster, unless you have a C, E, or an O in your title, some members of your team may struggle to hear you or support the change.  

Leadership buy-in is crucial as you implement any sort of organizational adjustment. Someone who will be internally and externally supportive of the change, who validates the commitment of fiscal and human resources, a person that can be a role model for change adoption, and someone who has the juice to say, “Because I said so”. 

Change should be a Mogwai, not a Gremlin

Remember how in the beginning of Gremlins there was just Gizmo? One sole Mogwai who needed to be tended to and cared for? He was easy to manage, easy to adjust to, and easy to put into a backpack. Then some silly fool got poor Gizmo wet, and there were like 20 Mogwais who all went crazy, became Gremlins, and wreaked complete chaos over a small New England town! Yeah that was crazy, and a great movie, but what is the moral of this 80’s pop culture reference and how does it relate to change management? Glad you asked! Less is more. Focus on your one Mogwai, avoid trying to take care of several. Don’t try to make 30 changes at once. Pick a few small and manageable changes/goals, and own them. By keeping your change process lean and agile, you allow your organization the flexibility to bendy, to move, and to succeed.  

The rules

While the rules to successfully surviving a horror movie are significantly different than the rules of successfully surviving change management they are both fairly simple in their makeup.    

  1. Have a plan
  2. Get support
  3. Stay lean and agile

So don’t be scared. Be brave and be bold. Follow the rules and remember to be kind to yourself, to be considerate of others, and to remain patient with the process.  

And while you are busy following these rules it never hurts to also avoid feeding Mogwais after midnight, to think twice about going camping at Camp Crystal Lake, or to flip flop on that possible move to Elm Street.  

For more change management tips and 80’s pop culture references reach out to me in the Salesforce Trailblazer Community or on Twitter @misshatem.