Change Management is a hot topic at PMSA 2014 Conference

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This coming September, at Project Management South Africa’s (PMSA) 2014 national conference, FTI’s Project Management Portfolio Manager, Carol Mould will speak on the burning issue of managing change. Around 70% of organisational change efforts fail in South Africa.

This dismal success rate of change initiatives - likely to be implemented by change managers and project managers - has implications on the bottom line. The converse - effective change management - can deliver a competitive advantage to organisations, enabling swift responses to market changes and seizing of new business opportunities. Carol’s talk at the conference in Johannesburg shares practical solutions and evidence–based insights to help project managers make change management efforts more effective. It will also provide clear principles for getting buy-in and commitment from those affected by change.

Resistance to change and lack of commitment, from the very individuals that the change intends to help, is the biggest challenge facing project managers and change managers. It ranks high as a cause of project and change effort failure. Based on personal experience, Carol learnt about the importance of senior management support when she embarked on implementing an IT project office together with a new methodology. At the time Carol was a Project Management Consultant within a large retail organisation.

“Whereas the IT department took to the new methodology quite quickly and gave feedback of the benefits they experienced, the business was slower to embrace a new way of interacting with the IT department. We therefore needed to address the risk of failure of the new processes and a return to the old way of doing things, where generally, the business areas making the most noise got their projects done first,” says Carol.

We had initially held several discussions with the executive management group and, after early resistance and fears of becoming too “mechanised”, they bought into the value of having a managed inventory of projects. “But there were other stakeholders who didn’t buy into the change,” says Carol. We experienced further problems that stemmed from resistance from subsequent layers of management who had not been involved with the project office until that point. Quite far into the project we realised that the executive managers were actually not visibly supporting and advocating the new project office processes and we needed to take a step back and change the approach as it was not working. Using a purely rational basis for advocating the changes was not the way to go.”

“A second alternative solution was created with a major emphasis on a communication drive that involved the executive group of each unit within the retail group. We appealed to them to become personally involved and to encourage their staff to adopt the new processes. The brand executives personally sent out the workshop invitations to their own teams. In addition, some of the participants of the workshop had already begun to use the new processes, and they volunteered stories of their positive experiences. This had a more subtle effect on the other participants who considered adopting the processes because they wanted the same benefits for themselves, rather than feeling coerced to adopt the processes by the consultants. The end result was a higher adoption of the new processes,” says Carol.

Lying at the heart of Carol’s passion for performance improvement and change management is her quest to understand human behaviour. Drawing on her recent studies, an honours degree in organisational psychology with a specialisation in change management and a masters degree in organisational psychology, Carol will demonstrate at the PMSA conference how to manage change by synthesizing psychology, behavioural economics and neuroscience. “These different fields of study are converging and providing scientific evidence to show the irrational, often unconscious ways in which humans behave. In order to implement changes successfully, and for the changes to be sustainable, we need to understand why people do the things they do and how to appeal to their instinctive thought and behaviour processes,” says Carol.

“Ideas from thought leaders Daniel Kahneman (“Thinking fast and Slow”), Dan Ariely (“Predicatable Irrationalty”), and Charles Duhigg (“The Power of Habit”) will be discussed in relation to change management, in order to offer new insights and food for thought to anyone concerned with the successful implementation of changes in organisations,” says Carol.

Conference participants can also look forward to the launch of FTI’s new intensive two-day course called Practical Change Management. “This practical, outcomes-based workshop provides a highly successful overall approach to navigate the organisational change management landscape and the tools and skills to handle the knock-on effect that organisational change brings,” says Carol.

“Conference delegates will receive a conference special discount. For individuals who cannot attend the conference, the course will run in October and those who book early will be able to claim an early bird discount,” says Carol.

For more information about the PMSA 2014 National Conference taking place from 29 September to 1 October 2014, please visit To book or find out more about FTI’s Practical Change Management course running on 10-11 November 2014 in Cape Town and 27-28 November 2014 in Johannesburg, please contact Lauren at /021 6834506 or Nondi at / 011 8079478.

About Carol Mould

Carol Mould is a Portfolio Manager at Faculty Training Institute (FTI). She is an experienced facilitator, trainer, consultant and coach. Her main interests lie in motivation, performance improvement, career coaching and change management.

She has honours degrees in Information Systems and Psychology, and a Masters degree in Organisational Psychology.

Carol served on the committee of the Western Cape branch of Project Management South Africa (PMSA) for 10 years in various portfolios including 3 years as Branch President. She is currently a practitioner member of Coaching and Mentoring South Africa (COMENSA) and a member of the Project Management Institute (PMI®), and Project Management South Africa (PMSA).

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