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Project Manager : Project Manager Oct Nov 2012
www.aipm.com.au Project Manager 13 THE HUMAN BRAIN IS HARDWIRED TO PREFER PREDICTABLE PATTERNS OF BEHAVIOUR The only constant is change Project managers are, essentially, change agents. But too few are seeking advice on how to manage change effectively. LEANNE MEZRANI IN DEPTH WHEREVER PEOPLE ARE, THERE WILL BE change, and wherever there is change it needs to be organised. is pretty much makes change management the structural underpinning of every strategy in every business. Implement that change e ciently and e ectively and, according to Prosci's 2009 change management bible Best Practices in Change Management, you are six times more likely to achieve your original objectives successfully. But de-prioritise it with under-resourcing, or mismatch the methodology to the problem at hand, and the foundation of change -- people actually accepting the change and adjusting their work practices -- will be riddled with cracks. "All too often we forget that a solution delivered on time, on budget and to business requirements delivers zero value unless people adopt the change in their daily work," says Catherine Smithson, Managing Director of change management rm Being Human. As the name of her company suggests, Smithson believes that a focus on people is crucial for successful change management, a sentiment echoed by many involved in developing change management strategy. Sound simple? Unfortunately, people are not machines. ey are ckle and their habits hard to break, says Dr Lynda Bour ne, a project management consultant and AIPM Fellow, and this means that reshaping an organisation's culture to be more conducive to change requires a lot more work than most project managers realise. Leh Simonelli agrees. "A lot of organisations fail in their change quest because, as Professor Paul Brow n (Neuroscientist and co-author of New Science for New Leadership) says, the human brain is hardwired to actually prefer predictable patterns of behaviour," Simonelli says. Research is increasingly backing this up. "Change may ask people to develop new skills in a quest to change their behaviour," says neuroscientist and co-founder of the NeuroLeadership Institute Dr David Rock. "Some may feel unable to do that [...] consequently the fear kicks in." Fear, of course, dramatically reduces motivation to undertake change. Dealing with this e ectively is essential to project success, and may require what Bourne describes as 'sensebreaking', a deliberate strategy to undermine the current status quo. e aim is to destroy ingrained ways of thinking, interpreting information and managing the business. Bourne warns that once broken, they cannot be repaired. A new strategy must immediately ll the void, she continues, and project managers play an important role in its longevity by identifying and encouraging early adopters to champion change. "If you are working in projects in the long ter m you can try to do that," says Simonelli. "But I take a slightly di erent approach. I get a sense of people, if they are in what (
Project Manager Aug Sept 2012
Project Manager Dec Jan 2013