Organizational Change: Leading your Project Team

My organization is currently reorganizing to include both the hierarchy, missions, and physical work spaces.  Organizational change can take people outside of their comfort zones.  Change can be distracting and projects might suffer if team members get distracted by the change.  Refocus your team and assist them with adjusting to organizational change.

Many people are uncomfortable with change and great work has already been done in this area. Many managers are familiar with “Who moved my Cheese?” and “Our Iceberg is Melting.” These are great resources, but each person is different and how they react to change is unique; authentic leadership is required to work with your team and help them with change.

Change takes us to new places

People often fear the unknown, even small changes can have large impacts on team members.  Some team members may even be resistant to moving down the hall to a new office. Assist your team with understanding the change process.

  • How will the change happen?
  • When will the change happen?
  • What is the impact of the change to specific team members?

Rumors about change are far worse than just addressing change to your team as you become aware of options.  This can lead to mistrust in the leadership and the organizations.  It is far better to provide information to your team and let them know that it is pre-decisional. Your team needs to trust you for effective change.

Let your team know how changes impact your project.  Many times organizational restructures merge different business units to work together more closely. At other times organizations are downsizing and team members may be afraid that the project and their job may be going away.  Be prepared to discuss the good and the bad aspects of change with your team.

Why Change?
You as the leader need to convince your team why change might be good.  At the end of a long work day when I get to change from heals to flats, I don’t need anyone to tell me why that is change for the positive.

Change doesn’t have to be bad, change can be exciting and a time for growth and new development.  Let your team know any rewards or benefits that might be gained from the change.  Changing from one project to another while working for the same organization is a great way to build your CV or resume.

Why Change?

Change can be difficult if an employee feels under valued or marginalized.  It is critical for a leader to ensure that new and old team members are all valued and to balance the new dynamics of the organization.  A well running project team may end up going through the five stages of team forming all over again.

Some team members might fear failure on the new team.  Ensure that team members have a clear understanding of their role is on the new team.  As the leader, you can set the tone and let them know about new opportunities and how they can be value added.

Change is Natural
Change is inevitable, just as the seasons change, organizations change. It is important to remember that change is part of the larger scheme of the universe.  Without change, businesses die, the Polaroid camera and big box video rental stores are two examples.

By definition: A project is temporary in that it has a defined beginning and end in time, and therefore defined scope and resources.  This means that by definition projects are temporary and this means change.  Often team members can become very emotional when a project is approaching the closing phase.

Change is Natural

Timing of the change can be important, just as change is a natural to seasons, it has to be at the right time.  Snow in July is upsetting in much of the Northern Hemisphere.  As your project is approaching the closing phase or reaching major milestones that will create change, remind your team.

Change can be hard in both our professional and personal lives.  Being prepared for change will make it easier.

Life is a Project!

To learn more about the employees and change check out this awesome video from Robert Tanner!

8 Reasons Why Employees Resist Change
Management is a Journey


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