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(Part II) Applying Eight-Step Methodology to Utility Projects

Updated: Aug 13, 2019

Unique Challenges.

No one expects Project Sponsors and Executive Sponsors to resist change.

There is an underlying assumption when planning for change, which is usually as safe bet. Change practitioners, supervisors and senior leadership assume that end-users and a represented workforce will be the biggest impediment to change adoption through their resistance.

Project Sponsors and Executive Sponsors are the last group of stakeholders anyone would assume to have an interest in resisting change -- especially the changes which they sponsor with effort, time and funding.

In this rare case, the Executive Sponsor—who also wanted end-users to use new software—was a little beat up. He was jaded from years of union and HR complaints, and afraid of the backlash from a represented workforce.

For this reason, there was trepidation at the top to sign off on any work-flow diagram with words that included imperative language. From an OCM perspective, this left a weak link; because, the foundation of change is in step 2 of the Eight-Steps “Create a guiding coalition.” In this tight space, Five Forces Consulting did what the leadership team wanted to do and could not do for themselves – Step 1 “Create a sense of urgency.” There was the risk that leadership—with operational obligations outside of OCM—would never catch up. Additionally, the PM could not rely on leadership to send the right message in a timely manner; so, Five Forces sold an idea to the Project Sponsor which falls in line with step 3 “Communicate the vision.”

The Project Sponsor—who worked directly for the Executive Sponsor—was not a great communicator. Unlike the Executive Sponsor, this was due to confusion more than fear. It should be noted, these impediments to progress cannot be necessarily blamed on any presumed leadership shortcomings - the whole utility was forced into a space of technologically, culturally and operationally catching up to other modern utilities, but with less knowledge, resources, bandwidth and clarity to get there fast enough.

Next: Overcoming challenges....


Copyright © 2019 - Five Forces Consulting, Inc.

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