Change = +
It seems practitioners and some “thought leaders” like to talk about what change takes away.
That has always seemed a little strange to me.
Change Adds not takes away.
What Change Adds
There is no change without the stakeholders learning something new.
“They are going to resist this training”.
Maybe if we just changed the label from training to learning change would get easier (and more fun)?
Change should be an opportunity to learn new things. Maybe that is technology (the closest to training). Maybe some soft skills have to be added or enhanced. Maybe the learning is about the organization and its connections. Maybe there is something to be gained/learned from external input?
You can’t have change without interaction.
Even the lone individual pursuit of learning to play an instrument will likely entail a trip to the music store.
Change really is interaction.
Yes it is interaction different from the current version.
Would people around you say you are hopping, skipping and smiling to get to your current version of interaction?
And who says you can’t take some or most of that with you to the end state (and add some new hopping, skipping, smiling interaction)?
It is possible to have truly transformative change that is entirely future/end-state focused.
Since people are people though it is hard to make big changes without looking inward and back.
Change forces assessment, analysis, comparison, critique, facts and realistic retrospection.
You want to make sure what you add makes sense.
And yes you want to make sure there is room (sometimes something has to be taken away to add) for the change.
Retrospection that illuminates strengths and then takes that into the end state is re-adding right?
A new tool is not a change.
Change is not about tools.
But most change has a tool addition.
I have been on a couple of social media initiatives lately that had stakeholders fighting to be the guinea pigs for new tools (SharePoint, Yammer, training tools etc.).
New tools rarely address all concerns. And new tools require genuine skill based training.
New tools always have positive additions. You can find them if you look past the changes in process.
Tools always seems to be one or the other though. The emphasis on replacement, as in “end of life”, makes calling out the positive “adds” difficult.
I know the most painful part of change.
I see it in the eyes of “resistant” stakeholders.
I can feel when it starts and builds.
It is being forced, or having to, look at things in a different way.
It baffles me that is not a fun exercise.
If the change process is good, perspective should be addressed from the beginning. Which means there will be a chance to blend current perspective with that of the journey and the end state. If fact if the end state is not the old perspective with some new additional tweaks the change will not stick.
Change is about Adding (as opposed to the opposite). Change adds learning, interaction, retrospective, tools and perspective. Are you communicating that?
Change is complicated.
Change tends to take longer than wanted or expected.
Change involves people and people are hard to figure out.
So how do some practitioners, project managers (and their peer organizations), mid-level leaders and anyone trying to profit from change deal with this?
They try to make Change an event.
How to Make Change an Event
- Advocate the tool over the practitioner.
- Define distinct beginnings and endings.
- Create defining borders.
- Layer change efforts over a project approach.
The best way to turn change into an event is to make the tool appear to be the solution.
A tool you can sell to anyone. A service? Not so much.
Those trying to make change an event (the most guilty being potential clients for those service providers) will spend a lot of time talking about and pushing the tool- as if that was the only way to approach change.
If they have a winning (selling) argument then practitioners and stakeholders can be made subordinate to the tool.
(PS you can facilitate change with Word and Excel or with pen and paper).
Starts and Stops
Distinct starting and stopping spots sells (in both senses of the word, as in- buy this and buy into this) for change.
It is comforting to know that this scary change thing will come to an end at some point.
It is comforting to be able to pinpoint when it starts, so everyone can be ready.
Things with beginnings and endings sell easier than stuff with vague timelines.
(PS change is pretty much constant and never-ending and the instant the first person with the change idea talks to someone else change has started).
A false start (pun intended) and stop is only the first level in containing this change thing so it seems manageable and is sellable.
Making a box can create clear edges to this ephemeral change thing.
Assessing (and selling assessing “tools”) can help create some more lines around the change.
Groups can be contained or pushed out; people can be included or not; costs can be “controlled when boundaries are set.
That has the added bonus of looking and feeling just like project management which is something everyone is comfortable with.
(PS Change Management is not project management, nor does it fall under that umbrella, and it flows past boundaries like water to rocks in a downhill stream).
To make this change as an event thing really work you need to layer the approach right over the project/program process of the organization.
If you are selling into organizational change this is perfect. Project processes within organizations are littered with phases, steps and tasks that need a change component right? What better way to add work and effort than layering over each one of those requirements!
(My nicer take on Layering Change).
When change management is layered it automatically takes on the first three items in our list.
(PS Thanks to the global nature of most organizations Layered Change tends to quickly break free of its bounds and touch something outside predefined limits).
Make change an event if you choose- rely on tools, mark starts and finishes, draw out boundaries and layer your approach over existing project management parameters. Be forewarned though- tools are not solutions, change starts as soon as two people discuss it, change boundaries are always subjective and project management is usually the smallest box you can put change into.
It is Wednesday and I am not in a disillusioned mood (thankfully).
The wonderful side is coming from enjoyment of people interacting and dialoguing.
I started a conversation at the Organizational Change Practitioners Group on LinkedIn with the question,
“Can an Internal (employee) really be a Consultant?”.
It stirred up a bit of a firestorm.
Internals upset, externals soothing and jabbing at the same time (oops that was me….), the usual marketing cloaked as discussion and LOTS of good comments.
Separate from my own answer to the question (tomorrow) I am struck by how role oriented business and work has become (it seems- to be a little disillusioned- lately, as in the last few years).
There are the roles that are jobs (with the incumbent acronyms (here is an aside- did you ever notice managers, directors and senior versions of each don’t have an acronym? above that we have AVP, SVP, VP, C something) and there are the things-that-need-to-be-done that are turned into roles.
Is this because everything is so mechanized now?
If you can’t put something quickly into the cell of a spreadsheet then it can’t exist?
I keep contrasting this discussion about what it means to be a consultant with the endless contacts I get from third parties (and, gasp, other consulting firms) that want to explain some available role. Actually I have a role I sell to others.
It is called consultant.
A client can easily hire me as a “Consultant”. That is a role I guess. A role with leeway. A role that will give the client a big broad perspective (narrowed down to specific options and suggestions when the time is right).
Most important it is a role that is not previously defined by the client. If that is the case then what is the point in being consulted?
If the definition is narrowing interest to a certain area fine. But if the definition, or the creation of a “role” in general, is to pigeon hole the consultative process then I am not a consultant I am a contractor.
The misunderstanding (and frankly disinterest from some internal people I meet) is disillusionary.
The analogy I used as part of one of my comments on the LinkedIn thread was a child’s messy room. They do not see the mess. It takes quite an effort to illustrate to them the importance of “clean” first and then to get them willing to clean up (in order to have a straightened room).
I have to say many change efforts (huge mufti-million dollar ones) to an outsider look like a messy room. Those in the organization do not only not see the mess they do not understand why it needs to be cleaned up…they create a role it gets straightened, only to get quickly messed up when the role is gone.
Huge Kudos go out to Jennifer Frahm for her post, “70% of change projects fail: Bollocks!”.
The time has come to topple this change management sacred cow.
I won’t steal her thunder. Go read the post, see how she even has the guts to tackle Kotter converting-observation-into-assumed-fact.
Here is why that “statistic” has been used (use this to weed out poor consultants clients):
You are already fearful of your change. If I REALLY scare you do death maybe you will pick me as your savior (and pay me lots and begin to depend on me to salve your fear…maybe for years and years!).
If I bring up the dreaded number you will automatically think I am in the 30% category. Always go with a winner, right?
- A little Erudite mixed in
If I whip out that 70 number with no hesitation it must mean I have really studied this change thing. No way would I drop a number that has absolutely no scientific basis.
- Science based Change
If I can show you there is a way to approach this change thing step by step in a scientific way with “numbers” to show how well we are doing (we not you or I- no practitioner actually wants to OWN a number like that) then I am a shoo-in for the role.
That number has been a crutch and lever for practitioners and “Thought Leaders” for years. No one dares touch it. It is- was thank you Jennifer- a sacred cow. The perfect thing to keep going back to if it turns out you as a practitioner are in the 70 area. (Hint we all are AND we are in the 30 area because the number is bogus).
- Tool Setup
This is a post on its own. If I knock off those first five things then I can introduce you to my set of tools. ‘Cause we all know not every hammer or saw is the same or works for building a house…Change without just the right tool is what has caused those many “failures”. (I have had a couple of huge initiatives that, if the power went off permanently, I could have accomplished with pen and paper).
Don’t buy the snake oil clients.
If ANYONE quotes the 70% statistic either walk away or have fun and toy with them- ask them to cite the study with reliability and validity (just mentioning those last two words will likely make a 70% ’ers head swim).
Clients-topple the 70% change statistic now and stop its use for fear, competition, false knowledge, false science, distraction and a set up for emptying your budget. Change Practitioners don’t embarrass yourself (or set yourself up) by talking about failure that can’t really be measured.
Project managers, thanks to the addition of the change management consultant line item, are getting a taste of change management and switching from a competitive to a cooperative approach. Many organizations have, smartly, realized these are two different roles with two different skill sets. (Yes many can do both roles or exchange roles but these two do not make for a good SINGLE role within any major project- and certainly not for any kind of program or initiative)
5 things for PM’s to think about
- We do not want your job.
Or your particular influence, or any of your particular power.
You want to get things done, check off the list, accomplish. We want to do things right, consider people and business and create solutions (end states) that last. That is a perfect combination. We can be partners. Either as right hand people for your role, when we are brought in middle-of-the-organization, to guide you in your implementation strategy OR as valuable liaisons to the owner, leaders and influencers when we contract higher up than your hierarchical placement. Fight with us for power (which we care little about) and you are wasting a valuable resource.
- We have a different measure of success.
On time and budget are your usual measures.
How often do you depart and the budget goes out the window from mistakes, missteps and errors? We, change practitioners, can give you some answers. We come in before, after, during and in and out. We see a lot (and we tend to be asked to fix a lot). What if you got the reputation of not only satisfying your time and budget measures, but also leaving solutions and infrastructure pieces that sustain your work? You might even get credit for building the foundation for the next project/change/solution.
- We don’t jump to take credit for things.
Get on the good side of a CM and you might find lots of your checklist items getting satisfied with much less input and work from you.
We rarely look for credit for accomplishments because we think well into the future. We are gone before our true work is visible. You should leverage this both to get credit and to create credit from our work. If you see that connection we will help you.
- We see well into the future.
Your focus is the things that need to happen to complete this project. Our focus is on the environment and scenario after your role is over. We move backwards from that end state to gauge what needs to happen, be added and be accomplished. We both want the same things, in some ways, we just come at it from different angles and directions. If you understand that and leverage it, nasty mistakes can be avoided. Or look at it this way, our measure of risk is different than yours- and a valuable addition to your work.
- We focus first on people.
You focus on ROI, business results, metrics.
We are being asked, more and more, to be both business AND people experts (business process, organizational capability, job roles, competency measures tied to strategy are now solid pieces of my own resume- not change specific). Your biggest risk, always, is people. Either the motivation of people or the lack of resources. We fully understand how that makes your role difficult and we like tackling that difficulty.
So project managers or PMO’s as a whole, if you are waging a battle against the power levers you have or might fell slipping away, stop, take a breath. At least from an external perspective (those employed next to you may be on a different mission) we are looking for many of the same things you are in terms of work, strategy, tactics and results.
Change Practitioners (the good ones anyway) do not want your job, measure success differently, don’t take credit for things, see the future and focus on people. All five of those thing can be very helpful for you if you switch from competition to cooperation.
My blog has some white space (black in this case) this summer.
I finally pinpointed what happened.
Looking back over my career I can make a long list of times when power plays affected the ability to get a role, to be successful at a role and to keep a role for the agreed on time.
A few examples:
- Head Hunters
A couple of times I have been contacted by Head Hunters (the real kind not the representatives or staffing firms trying to wear consulting uniforms) and led through cheery “you are the perfect fit” conversations only to be screened out of submission. The power play here is the fact that the person must stay some period of time. Any mention that this is not really an employment role or that it is an internal/external mix situation is a nix. One of those situations has me smiling because the choice they made did not make it through the year, they couldn’t keep the next person and the role is up again (and pushed way down the hierarchy which dooms it to failure).
Don’t even get me started on this one. They do want you in there. They, after all, get paid for parked bodies. They rarely even know who the owner of the engagement is and refuse to admit their job is to make one phone call, fill out a form and move on. That power grab waste of time is what used to be a phone call to the person doing the work, which was one short step from getting the work started. Best story here is the time I finally decided to hold my ground and explain things to the recruiter. That included that fact that their role was really just in the way. (I was irritated because they offered me a rate which was doubled by the next staffing firm- an attempt to power grab what should be MY compensation). They hung up in disgust promising to never talk to me again and to let others know. Take a guess at who made next Monday mornings call for a different role… to me. Yes that very same disgruntled recruiter. With fake happy talk no less!
- Vice Presidents
I have decided this is the most competitive horizontal. Especially if professional services or sales is in the mix. They instinctively push things, especially change, well down the ladder. Half the time they push it so far away they really have NO control. Every time I have an SVP meeting and it is followed by VP looks at my profile I wonder why we didn’t just all sit down for 20 or 30 minutes and talk about their scenario- before any contracting.
- Consulting Firms
This one has actually lightened up a bit (mostly because the consulting firms are having to fight the procurement/staffing firm battle together). For a while there was a ridiculous protection of clients as if they were race horses in a stable. California, thankfully, one of the few non compete states, scoffs at this practice. I have my own firm. I get it. It would frustrate me if someone “stole” my clients. Then I would ask why and improve. And I don’t compete on price anymore so this power play is just kind of comical.
- Middle Management
Are always trying to usurp change- and the messenger. The few who don’t are fantastic to work with. Those are the ones I try to help get promoted so they can move from implementary leader to owner of the change.
- Anyone in any transactional vertical
Every organization has the power grabbers from other verticals- the ones who rarely have change initiatives of their own- procurement, legal, HR, the PMO (this one sometimes does have initiatives for their vertical, which makes them MORE power hungry).
My silence in writing comes from this simple fact- I am an external. I don’t care about power.
I care about solutions and results. I don’t have a title. I chose NOT to have one by being external.
Having to fight so many people I am not interested in fighting is a distraction from accomplishment. And a drain on creative energy.
Replace I with most senior consultants who have somehow managed to work around all these power plays and still stay in business. This isn’t just about “me”.
Head hunters, recruiters, VP’s, consulting firms, middle management and people inside of transactional verticals make for a world of Change With Power Plays.
How many different kinds of permissions are there in organizations?
I started a discussion on LinkedIn questioning the organizational pattern of middle leaders coming up with things, senior leaders approving or not and the organization as a whole thinking that is somehow strategy. Now I am intrigued by the answers to the posts. Most stretched the definition of permission in multiple ways.
Permission from a senior
This is the version that got my cackles up.
It is very common in organizations for work to be decided through a permission process where middle managers (or their hired gun consultants) present in PowerPoint to get approval. (In fact many project processes are an endless string of these interactions). Everyone seems to think this pattern is OK.
Here is what I see:
- Senior leaders disconnecting. It is much easier to place the responsibility for decisions in someone else’s lap. “Hey you told me, in that presentation, that this was going to work”.
- Middle managers taking over. This can sometimes be a good thing, especially if senior management HAS checked out. But it often happens because the middle managers tell the leaders just enough to get approval and then they do it their way.
- Too much democracy. I am all for engagement and participation and ownership at the work level, but there are just some times when ONE person needs to make a decision and be responsible. NO this pattern of up-deciding does not make this happen.
Permission to decide
This was one of the threads of expansion in the discussion. There are many times when we as individuals, and senior leaders in particular, need to give ourselves permission to decide.
I realized today that I have this pattern when I order something online that took research. The latest was a Quiet Cool whole house fan. I looked at ducted versions, the cost for fixing our broken air conditioner, the difference between energy efficient models and the regular classic line, and I thought and compared. But when it came time to push the buy button I had to sit, think more and stare. It wasn’t until I gave myself permission, because I had done extensive research, to decide that I was able to push the button.
Which gets at the problem with our first form of permission. Leaders do not seem to look into things on their own. If they had a little more of a consultant attitude then they would not be setting bad patterns with all those PowerPoint approvals.
Permission to proceed
Sometimes we just get locked in one place and can’t move forward. Maybe something was a setback and we can’t get over it. Maybe we know people do not agree with an approach, but we are convinced it will work if we could just get started. Maybe we see the possibility of only partial success and the work is starting to seem not worth it.
For all these scenarios we need to learn to give ourselves permission to proceed. Nothing ever turns out perfect. But when nothing starts, nothing ever happens. It is OK, and we need to tell ourselves this once in a while, to take the first step.
Permission to take a chance
This one is like the last except in this case we really do not have measures for whether the work will be a success or not.
Maybe it just feels right. Maybe we have just enough parameters to know this will probably work. Maybe we, or our organization, could just use some momentum and this next action is worth the chance.
Permission passed up, to decide, to proceed, to take a chance. Lots of permission processes are happening in organizations.
A vacation (without preloading blog posts) and a more disillusioned than wonderful (Wonderfully Disillusioned Wednesday’s posts reference for new readers) couple of days has created a writer’s block funk.
Being an eternal optimist (admittedly hardened as I get older), roadblocks, setbacks and obstacles take a while to build up enough for numbing “funks”. It happens once in a while though. I have come up with a strategy to get past and overcome this personal version of quicksand. Do something I really like that always works to make me feel better: DREAM.
When I make things up, when I ask why and what if questions about things I always perk up over possibility.
This works for big remodeling projects at home, it works with career development and it works at client sites for change big and small.
The key is to realize you are dreaming. (Few of these big fantasies every become reality).
Dreaming About Change Management
This latest funk has a lot to do with change management as a specialty/industry/practice.
Here is the CM funk list:
- Third parties in the way
- Status quo that is consistent from organization to organization
- Packaged template based, heavily marketed, approaches
- Tactics over strategy
- The Plexiglas ceiling (my new term for the inability for anyone woman or man to rise to executive levels)
- Ridiculous fixation with “resistance” and so resistance-fighting
- Constant homage to guru’s of the past
- Contracting from the middle of the organization
- Invisible or non-existent owners
- Review processes that slow change to a snails crawl
OK I’ll stop (there is a lot more though…).
Because people are people.
Even for dreamers like me it is often easier to just do things the way you always have. When everyone starts to operate that way, one place looks like another. And one person acts like another. And we get “human nature”.
While this frustrates and irritates me I get it. I also get the underlying structure that people-who-become-the-same tend to create.
But what if there was an organization with one person or filled with people who understood the why answer and wanted to do something about it? Just What if…
Let’s make this dream sequence easy (and practical) by matching the previous funk list:
- Consultants especially, contractors probably, would be sourced by internal resources.
Why is it that organizations are so intent on making project management, change management, strategy and planning internal, but are willing to divvy up the acquisition of outside resources? That is arguably the most important role in the process of change. And you outsource it? Direct contracting is in the dream. Practically is has to be cheaper. It certainly ties the organization together tightly with outside influence. Thanks to LinkedIn sourcing is easy these days (those outside recruiters have no secret hiding places for resources).
- This dream organization would work to constantly tweak status quo.
Maybe in the big dream they would actually start from scratch. They would look at their performance management process (and in many ways eliminate it). They would look at the way they communicate (start-up screen comms., a useful well designed portal, a system of one step editing and approval, cascade and direct to stakeholder processes, etc.). Creating this organization from scratch is my own ULTIMATE dream. This is the one I use when I am depressingly “funked”. If I ever get to help create this dream I will be able to say I made it, officially, in this career. Anyone else share this dream?
- Templates would be for recording information not guiding process.
Enough said about that funky and pesky-like-a-mosquito-at-night problem.
- Strategy first.
There are organizations that mostly just do tactics. They say they have a strategy, but it is more strategic implementation. Quarter to quarter to the next quarter with no one realizing four quarters make a year and a couple of years make a strategy. In this dream place high level talk would be about 3-5 years from now. Later conversations would be about what that means for today and tomorrow.
- Actual hierarchy.
I never thought I would say this, since I am not a fan of directive organizations, but companies really need to go back to old-fashioned org charts (that get published, that people can see and use). That status quo, group think thing creates a LOT of buck passing. The nature of business and society here in the US at least over the last 15 years or so is lots to the top few and little to the others. Anyone notice the org charts started disappearing at the point this started happening? Org charts are one way to have accountability. I like my dreams to be free-flowing and open. In this one category my dream would have some rigidity, structure and accountability. And it would have a clear way for people to rise to higher levels.
Resistance is an active force against something. People often hesitate and consider and evaluate change. They often get a little nervous about new things (if they learn to dream the nervousness is the kind you get before a great performance). In my mind (or dream) resistance is sabotage- active, on purpose and meant to hold something back. And of course it doesn’t exist in my dream (or in the real world).
- No reading.
I would like to say this is kidding. You can read my stuff… One of my funk items is that people read one or two things, usually the most available and most heavily marketed (and written at a 7th grade level), and then become change experts by the end of the weekend. It shocks me that so many people just parrot from the past- nothing original from them. And then they suck everyone around them into their guru initiated low-level approach and perspective. In my dream people read with a discerning eye and they act having read A LOT (from every angle). OK maybe in my dream we have to go all the way back to the education system and teach discernment (Note: the new teaching standards, because of the internet and opinion over fact, have this built-in to the new approach-Kudos to whoever pushed that).
- Contractors contracted in the middle.
It makes sense for specialist resources to be contracted in the middle. These are the people who do the work of an employee. They are needed because the organization does not have that capability, because that expertise is only needed for a short period of time and/or because the organization wants to learn that talent. (That is the spot where contractor starts to cross with consultant). In my dream middle of the organization leaders do what they do well-tactical approaches to strategy.
- Visible, existent (and accountable) owners.
In my dream world senior leaders know how to create long-term strategy. They know what those creations mean to them and their peers personally. They care about both the organization and the people (and they are rewarded for that [and rewarded realistically], not personal gain). When they have that mix-we have moved to the dream stage now-they own the results. They are active. They follow through. They actually DO some of the hands on work. Lately my dream has looped in the Board of Directors. Because in the grand dream they were once these dream owners. Now they oversee that process. They OWN accountability and results. Through others yes, but they have the leverage to make it work.
- One stop exchange.
My answer, in my dream and the real world, to the question, “If you could do one thing at every place you assist what would that be?”. The easy answer is reduce decision-making around exchange to one stop (OK maybe two to compromise). In the dream people are good at talking, interacting, keeping up with information inside and outside their organization (you know like consultants). Because they do this, are like this, when it comes to deciding things and interacting they have thought things through. When you think through you do not need quite as much editing and review. (and no the permission process is not “extra” thinking).
So there you go. It took close to 1400 words and my longest post to break the funk. Funk broken though!
The, my, change management dream has: direct contracting in the right place, flexible status quo, templates as data, strategy first, Org Charts, possibility, discernment, active Owners and one stop review. To see even one of these happen would be a dream come true.
Gail Severini’s post today, “the Enlightened Program Manager-Partnering with Change Management” got me thinking.
She says (correctly by my experience):
“The reality in most organizations is that strategy is parsed into Strategic Business Units and/or Divisions and the leader assigns it to a program manager to organize.”.
What if all strategy in organizations was not treated the same?
We have to start with those situations where this really makes sense-transformation.
True transformation- not something that just picked up the label because it is big and/or Enterprise wide. If the organization is really going to be different after this change- process, approach,technology and people (yes it is probably all of the above)- then a different kind of strategy is called for.
This would be a strategy that is orchestrated at the highest levels- CEO and Board of Directors. Everything would connect (and would be communicated as connecting) across the organization. If this is a picture it would be one map as a whole with parts and pieces within. And it would not be the map (I have seen many of these) that is drawn AFTER the parts and pieces have been parsed.
As an aside this parsing process is similar to a present to future perspective for change. It almost eliminates any view of the whole. Contrast that to strategy that is whole focused and high in the organization and an end state focus for change. Both give the whole, provide context and effectively put the “parsing” into perspective.
If all strategy were not treated the same there would always be an element that raises work (which carries lots of internal political baggage with it) to a level that is shared by all.
What if the “Program Manager” was above the units and divisions?
One way to do that would be to elevate those Program Managers Gail mentioned to this higher level-if only for the transformation.
This is done frequently in organizations by naming an SVP as the leader (In my taxonomy this would be the Implementary Leader) of the transformation. The inherent problem with this is that now you have a peer leading a horizontal (the one with the “S” ego’s and reputations). In my pie in the sky vision this Program Manager would be a role that stays after the transformation. In fact it might have been a role that was created early on in the organizations history in preparation for the big change every company goes through eventually.
I see this role as the business version of a very high level change management consultant. (In fact they would partner as right and left/left and right, in a perfect world).
The CEO would still need to be the owner and own the change, but this set up would signal to the organization that there is also an important leader to implement (and in this case the support of a senior change person who will focus on the whole, the context and the people).
What if unit and division tactical strategy scaled up?
You could edge toward this structure by creating more scale up from inside the organization to a holistic strategy.
Most companies would argue they already do this with some version of committees, executive summits, golf games etc. I have been in 70+ companies as a consultant and have yet to see any of these arrangements do anything more than quickly parse work. They all basically scale stuff up and then get parse stuff back in (maybe it is more of a grand permission process than strategy).
All strategy is not the same. Approaching transformation as if it is a program of Divisional/Business Unit work streams is status quo. Change and status quo do not blend well.
No not what is the ROI.
No not what is the best way to measure change management.
Rather, what does success look like?
For the client:
Of course this depends on who the client is. If the client is the owner of the change, success would be getting to a version of an end state that would not have been possible without CM. Maybe things happened faster than predicted. Maybe the change hangs on longer (or permanently) than originally expected. Maybe stakeholders feel more comfortable about the next change. (See the pattern here leaders? CM is as much about the next thing, or righting the last thing as it is this current change thing… when done successfully).
If the client is in middle of the organization then the future is set aside. Success directly correlates to elimination of roadblocks and speed to success measures (forget end states, and the next change and building anything- in the middle it is about now and tomorrow).
For the Consultant:
For that senior owner it may be that the consultant helped build competency or capability for that owners organization.
For the middle client it may be that all those difficult people issues were handled, dealt with and then things got better.
One is strategic and one is tactical. If you plan on being successful as a change management consultant you better be ready and able to do both. (Ironically sometimes at the same time).
Successful change management is end states that arrive better, stronger and faster than they would have without the change management consultant. OR projects simply move smoothly and fast (for those middle of the organization clients).