Category Archives: Change

Are Project Managers Change Managers?

Interesting talking to a number of contractors recently – some preferring to be referred to as Change Managers as opposed to Project Managers and vice versa – when I pushed back and asked why the need to define, I had a mixed response:

“As a Project Manager I deliver change”

“I am a Change Manager but I deliver as a project”

I wonder if being branded one or the other has a psychological effect of the individual. Back in the day when budgets were less frugal and organisations saw the value of a fully enhanced team, it was not uncommon to see a Project Manager Working alongside a Change Manager – this is still apparent in larger organisations but less so across the board. And I wonder if Change Managers partially feel compelled to sell their service as all encompassing (they can deliver a project as well as the change element) to be included in the running for more PM positions and likewise a Project Manager feels the need to sell their additional skill-set as change management aware in order to deliver as smoothly as possible. I delivered new products into manufacturing across EU/SA/USA and often found that without the sympathetic element of change management I would indeed find workstream leads to be challenging at the best of times. By simply spending time to explain the benefits of prioritising my projects and listening to any concerns, hopefully dispelling any anxiety rather than the company prescribed “Head Office said do it, so DO IT” approach which tended to get peoples backs up – unsurprisingly! It is this experience that lead me on to embrace change management within my practice – as such I feel I have taken on both the roles of PM and CM. Could I split the two now, good question, I am not sure they should be. Do I believe a dedicated Change Manager should be part of the project team? Depends on the size and complexity of the project really, if you have the budget and a great deal of “users” affected by the implementation then it is a good idea.Changing times

Some things to consider when delivering change:

  • Be open – sometimes it isn’t always possible to be completely open from the outset as the changes may be sensitive and not in the public domain. But it is important to make sure you are as open as you can be from the start. Explain that changes are afoot, what this means to the individual, and generally prepare people.
  • Listen – hard when all you may be hearing is peoples woes about additional work, fear of job losses, attitudes such as “we’ve done it this way for xx years, if it’s not broken then don’t fix it”, but everyone deserves to air their views and will it make for a happier recipient environment if they all feel they have had some input.
  • Put yourself in their shoes – take a look at the changes from the user’s perspective – try to explain the benefits in a manner which is understandable and actually means something to the individual.
  • Structure – put together a strong communication plan, as you would for key stakeholders, think about the users and those directly affected by the change. Regular meetings and updates – even regular posting on the intranet so everyone feels like they are being kept up to speed.
  • Bribes – don’t be afraid to bring cakes to the meetings, many a successful meeting has been satisfactorily managed through a little nurture!

I mentioned “individual” above, this is where a lot fall short when delivering change, try not to think of a group make people feel like they have been heard individually. It makes a huge difference when you can have your say and your questions answered; open door policy for all – you won’t be as inundated as you think and some may have very valid points for consideration. 

The Rise Of The Female Tech Entrepreneur

Women have always appeared in the Fortune 500 rich list here and there, but it’s only recently that their roles have become newsworthy – mainly thanks to two powerful women taking top jobs at the world’s biggest tech brands. As these companies become more powerful on a global scale, the actions of their CEOs come under scrutiny on a daily basis; if the CEO happens to be female, you can practically guarantee a news story will follow.

In this article, we’ll look at four female entrepreneurs that have climbed the ranks to positions of power.

First, there’s Sheryl Sandberg, the woman who assists CEO Mark Zuckerberg at Facebook. Sandberg is an ex-US government employee and was previously a high flyer at Google before becoming the first woman on Facebook’s board. Her official title is chief operating officer, and she appears regularly in the press.

Women in BusinessSandberg is a vocal believer in women’s ability to graduate towards senior roles in business, and her book Lean In is dedicated to discussing the topic. She extensively analyses the possible reasons for women holding back in the workplace. She also believes women should be comfortable in their own skin, particularly in a corporate environment, and is keen to promote equality at work and in the home.

Ursula Burns has served exactly three years as CEO of Xerox and has been tasked with the modernisation of the brand – no mean feat for a company that was founded more than a century ago. Her appointment is notable in the US: she was the first ever woman of colour to be in charge of an enterprise as massive as Xerox, and she is in the top 20 most powerful women on the planet.

On the company’s homepage, Burns says she values “ethical business practices”, and openly criticises organisations she believes to be sexist or discriminatory. It is estimated that she earned a cool $9.9 million last year, and her 2011 salary was comparable.

Marissa Meyer is perhaps the best-known example of a female CEO hitting the headlines. Now in charge of Yahoo!, Meyer started her working life at Google when the company was just starting out. Her speciality was A.I., and she quickly rose through the ranks to become Vice President of Search Products and User Experience.

Since 2012, Meyer has lead Yahoo! through a turbulent transition period. Rejecting extensive maternity leave, Meyer has banned employees from home working, although she herself worked from home towards the end of her pregnancy and paid to have a nursery built next to her corporate office. Despite ruffling feathers, she is determined to forge ahead with major changes.

With a background working in top jobs for The Walt Disney Company and eBay, and holding qualifications from Princeton and Harvard, Meg Whitman was well-placed to become CEO of Hewlett-Packard. Overall, Whitman is thought to be worth $1.3 billion; she spent $144 million on her campaign to become Governor of California three years ago. She lost.

Whitman has worked with some of the biggest names in the US, counting Steve Ballmer and Mitt Romney among former colleagues. At eBay, she was criticised for purchasing Skype, but that didn’t prevent HP from poaching her in 2011. Whitman is perhaps the most established high-profile CEO in the Fortune 500 list.

Sam Wright is a freelance writer working with

What Are Your Options If You’re Being Mistreated By An Employer?

Statistics show that almost half of all working people have been affected by bullying or harassment in the workplace, either by being the victim or by witnessing it happening to someone else. This statistic is far too high. If a child is being bullied at school then it’s taken very seriously by the parents and teachers involved and something is done about it. However, in the workplace people may be scared to come forward and report bullying behaviour for fear of the repercussions.

What constitutes bullying in the workplace?

  • Verbal abuse including shouting and swearing at a colleague or employee.
  • An individual being singled out for criticism or blame which is unjustified.
  • Playing practical jokes and pranks on an individual repeatedly.
  • Purposefully ignoring a particular employee’s contributions regularly.
  • Disrespectful language or actions aimed at embarrassing or humiliating an individual.

What constitutes harassment in the workplace?

  • Negative comments or actions based on an individual’s gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, disability or religion is classed as harassment rather than just bullying. Harassment in the workplace on any of the grounds above is governed by law in most countries so the perpetrators can be prosecuted.

What are the effects of bullying and harassment in the workplace?

  • Effects on the individual: Stress, anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, low self-esteem, absenteeism, low productivity in the workplace, insomnia, high blood pressure, and digestive problems.
  • Effects on the employer: A high staff turnover and loss of revenue due to constantly having to train new staff; low morale amongst staff and therefore lack of motivation and low productivity; a difficulty in recruiting quality staff members as word spreads through the industry about the hostile working environment at the company.

As you can see, absolutely nothing good comes from bullying and harassment in the workplace. So if it’s happening to you or someone you know it’s imperative that you take action. There are several ways to tackle the problem:

  • Bullying in the workplaceTry not to react to the bullying. If you react in the heat of the moment your emotions will cloud your judgement and may lead you to say or do something which you later regret.
  • Take a step back and try to look at the situation objectively. Have you misinterpreted your colleague’s actions? Speak to friends or family to see if they feel like the actions of your colleague can be construed as bullying.
  • Keep a diary of any incidents that you deem to be bullying. If you have them down on paper you’ll be able to identify any patterns, and have a better body of evidence to present in the event of a grievance or tribunal.
  • Escalate the problem where possible. If it’s a colleague harassing you then inform your line manager and let them deal with it in the correct manner. If it’s your manager bullying you then speak to their manager or a union representative.
  • If none of the above works to resolve the situation and you end up feeling forced to resign due to ill health brought on by the stress of the situation, it’s always advisable to seek advice from an employment solicitor.

An example:

A friend of mine was recently a victim of bullying and harassment in the workplace. She has a disability, and one of her colleagues took it upon themselves to highlight this and use it to discriminate against her and humiliate her on several occasions. Her self-esteem and confidence were really knocked by this and she didn’t feel she got the relevant support from her line manager. Eventually the situation forced her to resign due to stress and anxiety. Upon doing so she contacted a local employment solicitor in Loughborough, her home town, and sought advice on pursuing a claim against her employer. In the end her employer was made to pay compensation to her, which gave her back her confidence and enabled her to find a new job which she’s very happy in.

The moral of the story is: If you feel you’re being mistreated it’s down to you to do something about it! Don’t stand back and let the bullies win, keep a log of all of the incidents, don’t rise to the bullies, and seek advice from an employment solicitor. Remember there are acts and laws in place to protect us in our place of work, so use them to your advantage and stand up to the bullies!

Best books on change management

Have you ever looked out for the numerous books that are available on the topic of change management? With such a wide range of options, how will one know which book to select and which one will be worth reading? Here are a few books that would be very worth your time.

Navigating Through Change‘Navigating Through Change’ is the title of one book written by Harry Woodward and Mary Becham Woodward. This book presents its readers with a guide to live through all periods of change that are specific to human issues. Woodward is a change management consultant to many big IT and medical firms. In this books, he also offers a detailed strategy for change management that you can apply to a number of situations to help get through change from the very first impact up to its lasting consequences. Harry Woodward has also written another popular book titled ‘Aftershock: Helping People Through Corporate Change’. This is a practical guide to help employees survive the painful process of change in the organization. It gives you different examples of change – such as technological innovation, new management and limited resources – and tells you how to survive in each particular situation. This book has been field tested and not only does it help employees but it also helps managers to develop crucial skills and strategies to deal with the employees’ reaction to change.
Managing TransitionsAnother business consultant became the author of a book named ‘Managing Transitions: Making the Most of Change’. In this book, William Bridges attacks that area of change which people not only avoid, but do not even recognize. This area is the human side of change. This book addresses both employees as well as managers in the business world today who are well aware that change is required to improve the performance of a business. William Bridges herewith emphasizes on the fact that it is humans who are responsible for making the change happen.


Leading Change‘Leading Change’ is one book written by John. P. Kotter that gives another view on change management. His main thesis of the book is that the reason why strategies for change often fail is because the changes do not really alter the behavior of humans. In this book Kotter points out the most common mistakes that effect change and he also provides steps for overcoming such obstacles. The process of these steps includes analyzing competition and thereby creating a sense of urgency and the identification of potential crisis. In addition to this book, John Kotter has authored another well read book titled ‘Force for Change: How Leadership Differs from Management’. Here, he not only addresses the issue of change, but also how change management is closely associated with leadership and management differences.

The books mentioned above are all dealing with different aspects of change. Therefore, deciding to read these few books is guaranteed to give you an overall perspective of the issues of change management and how employees as well as managers should deal with change.

About the author: Eric Lewis is an experienced blogger in various fields. He loves writing articles about translation services and books. Follow him on Google+.