Driving change an anything can be hard and sometimes emotionally bruising. Some time ago I was asked to build out a new Project Management Office which would mean gaining buy in to the discipline of Project Management as well as overcoming the perception that this new department would take over control of projects. The whole idea that another department would now be running projects and assigning resources caused suspicion and distrust within many.
Sometimes the only way to counter that is to make yourself very accessible and approachable, to actively listen to others so that they can see that front and foremost in your mind is your desire to help and assist. Overtime those that met with my team and worked with us became the greatest supporters of what we were trying to do as we help them individually and the company as a whole deliver real value while protecting people from being overburdened with too much work that was impossible to deliver.
In the short term, however, me and my team were easy targets for what could be seen as verbal and written ‘bashing’ with some of the ideas and changes we were suggesting and implementing and in a very public way. Some were quick to judge and slow to change and it was a bruising lesson on implementing change at a pace that many found uncomfortable but a pace that was needed to ensure we all could follow through on what was a helpful and desired change. Those who had done the ‘bashing’ eventually ‘hugged’ us but behind the scenes.
I remember my boss at one point commented on this and sat down and told me seeing the reaction to the change and the toll it would take on myself and my team he would never put anyone in that position again. I am reminded, though, as I embark on true change in an organization that as much as it can be hard to deliver what you have been charged to do that and remember that:
1) the result of your change is meant to help and advance the organization
2) your boss must be your biggest supporter and also your personal therapist
3) change is hard but aren’t the best things achieved through hard work and conviction
The bruises fade and the memories of them too but what you achieve, hopefully. lasts…