Monday, 23 July 2012

Is change in business just like any other professional sport?

What do all professional sports have in common?   Any sporting occasion will have:

-          Participants:  Competitors, referees, and support staff. 

-          Spectators: fans of either the competitors or the sport, & those who would rather be somewhere else. 

-          Non-attendees:  those who are affected by the result & those with no obvious involvement.
Performance and passion will vary.  Events will be recalled and reported differently; “the facts” recorded.

Change in business is no different.  There are those involved in the change, those watching with their own agenda and those with no obvious interest.  Each will behave differently - their motivations initially unclear.  Their level of investment may vary.  How they interpret what they hear and read will depend on their very personal experience. 
Leaders of successful change recognise the existence and potential of each group, whether they are involved, watching or apparently disinterested.  A segmented “group” may be large, such as a local community, or small representing a key individual.  Each group will have different or potentially conflicting needs, beliefs and objectives – the underlying motivations and causes need to be understood.
Separate communication plans for each group need to reflect these differences.  Different content, media and timing will be deployed to create awareness and then acceptance.  Messages need to be consistent and feedback appropriate. 

These segmented communications need to influence all the other tasks and actions in the project plan, including the deployment of technical solutions. 
Segmented communication plans also need to be part of any “change control”, contingency and risk assessment process, because people react in different ways, events change outcomes and stress impacts performance. 

Finally, I would like to wish every athlete and spectator at the Olympic or Paralympic Games a successful, enjoyable and safe visit to the UK.

[From the series “Changing Leading Performing” by Salmon Heaton & Kimmins Ltd]

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