Delegation of Authority for Change Management Initiatives

Time for Change
Delegation of Authority for Change Management Initiatives
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Change management initiatives have three basic elements; Current State, Transition State, and Future State.

Work is performed during the Current State to determine “what” is to be fixed. Work in the Transition State is to determine and act on “how” it will be fixed. Then, the Future State is realized.

If the change management initiative is not organizationally structured and governed by measurable success criteria, the effort will fail. For companies embarking on make-or-break initiatives, this can be fatal to realizing anticipated business outcomes.

To ensure success, initiatives must create a chain of sponsorship to provide the structure necessary to manage the journey.

The figure below outlines how to structure a change management initiative for success. One of the key elements of organizing in this manner is to ensure that the associated governance clearly addresses delegation of authority.

Delegation of Authority Example
Delegation of Authority Example

Basics of Delegation of Authority are:

Corporate Sponsor – The Corporate Sponsor holds the ultimate responsibility for the change management initiative. They are normally a member of corporate management and after being assigned, they manage the effort.

Authority: The entirety of the change management initiative.

Steering Committee – The Steering Committee comprises members of executive management who are Vice Presidents, etc. and are knowledgeable of the need and reasoning for the organizational change.

The Corporate Sponsor is the Chairperson of the Steering Committee and chooses its members. The Steering Committee makes the assignment of Project Managers who will lead the day-to-day work of the change management initiative.

Authority: Voting rights to help the Corporate Sponsor [Chairperson] make decisions. It is “group authority.”

Initiative Project Managers – The Initiative Project Managers are personnel who have both project management and change management skills. It is their job to lead (facilitate, drive) the work that will be performed in the Current State and the Transition State. They are also responsible for timely completion of deliverables and reporting to sponsors and the Steering Committee.

Authority: Planning, organizing, leading and controlling the work under the pretext of change management and project management principles. They will monitor budgets, schedules, quality, risk, etc.

Process Owners – The (work) Process Owners are responsible for certain business processes in the company. Since companies have numerous processes, there will be a Chain of Sponsors who must ensure that their individual improvement work aligns with that of others (sponsors).

Authority: They have authority for the processes that belong to them, organizationally. The bounds of their authority allow them to decide [per the work of those reporting to them during the Transition State] what needs to be added, revised or deleted in terms of making their processes efficient and effective in the Future State.

Workstream Leaders – The Workstream Leaders lead a specific workstream (process) and report to their sponsor. They are subject matter experts on the process(es) in their organization. At the same time, their (collective) work is led (facilitated, driven) by an Initiative Project Manager.

The Initiative Project Manager will provide services to the Workstream Leaders such as training on change management principles (communication, coaching, resistance), facilitation of various workshops, etc. The Initiative Project Manager will facilitate them through understanding and analyzing their Current State as well as determining what to develop in their Transition State that will help them reach the Future State.

It should be noted that if, say, a Finance organization has three Workstream Leaders for three separate Finance processes, there might be only one Project Manager assigned to guide them.

Authority: They make daily decisions while working back-and-forth with their Process Owners to ensure alignment. They are the “front line” for the Process Owners.

Managing Multiple Initiatives

A strong Project Management Office (PMO) is recommended for managing multiple initiatives. This does not mean to imply imposing rigidity but rather consider that consistency and congruency is highly effective in PMOs.

Congruency begins with consistency in the blend of change management and project management methodologies. The mechanics of deploying these two together requires planning to ensure that the practical matters where people engage, processes are changed, technology selections are made, and change is rolled out, is done within a context of the delegation of authority framework.

Good planning in this sense allows managing multiple initiatives in a standardized manner with cleaner communications that are so vital to the success of change management initiatives. Each of the multiple initiatives will share a common framework for identifying and managing deliverables, share common change management principles, and conduct their communications in a common manner with one other.

A good framework is capable of leveling the myriad of multiple stakeholder expectations into manageable components that can measured and delivered” – Fred Wellman

Companies can benefit highly from the input from skilled change management professionals who are well-seasoned in leading complex initiatives to help with this critical planning effort.

Robert Goings

Robert is a Certified Prosci® Change Practitioner, licensed to use the ADKAR® Model, and serves as an Industry Consultant. He bridges the relationship between project management principles and change management principles with his 35+ years background for a robust venture with a keen sense of managing the associated resistance and communication via coaching and training.

Robert can be found on LinkedIn linkedin.com/in/robert-goings


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