My Reflections on Making Change Happen

Here’s something that beats most other reflection exercises you’ll ever do.

Make a ‘Top 3 rules for doing x’ list.

It’s a simple activity, and can be done individually or as a group after the end of a project, month, year or decade. Find a theme, and then design the ‘Top 3 rules’ that you would heavily recommend someone else abide to if they’re looking to do the same.

So to get you thinking, here’s a few of mine…

The Top 3 Rules For Ensuring Your Project Pays Off

  1. Spend more time than you expect to on defining your project WHY.
  2. Know what success means in real terms and don’t try to count or measure fake things.
  3. Actively and regularly monitor your project’s operating context & early metrics.


The Top 3 Rules For Leading Change

  1. Prioritise clarity and value above all else.
  2. Listen to those that have been through this type of change before, especially if they’re your direct reports.
  3. Your project teams are also your change salesforce – gear them up and protect them accordingly.


The Top 3 Rules For Right-Sizing Project Governance

  1. Don’t delay decisions, and ensure out-of-session decision making is easy.
  2. Never have anyone there just ‘for information only’. Everyone has to have a role and a stake in it.
  3. Have a set agenda and a firm time limit. Use a meeting cost calculator if you need to. (There are ones that actively and visibly accrue in cost as the meeting drags on).


Top 3 Rules For Embedding Agility:

  1. Decrease the gap between decider & do-er.
  2. Have clear priorities for the team at all times.
  3. Give your team what they need to get the work done, then let them do so.


Top 3 Rules For Supporting Change (e.g. PMOs):

  1. Serve, don’t police.
  2. Non-compliance is usually because your processes suck and have no value for those doing them.
  3. If in doubt, pick up the phone.


Top 3 Rules For Getting Something Done:

  1. Make time for it.
  2. No seriously, make time for it.
  3. Ask for help (or hire it) if you’re trying and it’s still not happening.


And a couple bonuses:

Top 3 Rules For Creating A Change Project That Fails:

  1. Create money-pits by outsourcing entire project functions to a large accounting firm.
  2. Communicate to a broad range of staff via email blasts and in vague, pretty pictures.
  3. Ask people to deliver the project on top of their ‘day-jobs’.


4 Useful Life & Career Reflections:

  1. Listen more than you talk – especially if you have value to add.
  2. Learn the basics of selling, even if you’re not in sales.
  3. Everyone is making it up. That’s not being an imposter – it’s using judgement.
  4. Your body can often be used to overcome your emotional state.
    Feeling weak and downtrodden? → Lift something heavy.
    Feeling tired? → Go for a walk in the cool breeze.