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Playing Dodgeball

C: Welcome to Slingshot 25 Shotcast, a series of bite-sized podcasts that’ll feel like an espresso shot to your brain. I’m Courtney. 

J: And I’m Jackie.

C: And something we’ve been thinking about is change. We’re thinking about that all the time. 

J: Yeah, I know.

C: It’s all the time. And here’s the thing I’ve been thinking about with change is that 

J: Can you get more specific, Courtney? 

C: That is what I’ve been thinking about. Like everybody just says change, blah, blah, change, change, change. And it’s not that useful. And so what we want to talk about today is putting some more specificity/organization labels around some of these change audiences and some of the things that go on.

Very specifically, I want to start with change sponsorship, like we talk about sponsors of change. What should we know about them? Well, we’re not going to say much about this other than active and visible sponsorship is has been for 20 years that they’ve been studying it. One of the most important criteria for whether or not your project successful.

So we work with sponsors to make sure they understand their role.  Think about your projects and just think about “do we have the right level of sponsorship”? Because at the end of the day people need to look around and look up and see that there is someone who’s sponsoring what they’re doing. The other thing I want to think about…I’ve been using this analogy in class. I like dodgeball. Do you ever dodgeball? Yeah, were you good at dodgeball?

J: No one’s good at dodgeball 

C: Oh I beg to differ! The high school boys that used to throw dodgeballs at me were very good. And they leave welts and bruises on me. They’re very good at dodgeball. And how does this apply to change? Get to the point? 

J: Yeah, that’s what we’re all hoping.

C: There is no point to this story. So I like to separate the change language into this. Sometimes we have responsibility to throw the dodgeballs at people, like project managers and change leads. Like we have a project, there’s been a business decision and we’re going to go. We’re going to send it. We’re going to send it. We’re going to send a decision. We’re going to send the communication. 

We’re going to send the training and in our navigating change class, we teach the ball sender how to do that, how to do that well. And when we’ve talked on this podcast a lot about like managing change better, I’m thinking if you have a change in decision that you’re pushing on your organization, you’re an audience, you have a role and it’s very specific to making sure that what’s been decided gets pushed out to people.

J: All right. I get that.

C: I think that role is distinct and different from the role that’s needed for people that are absorbing the changes. Like they have all this incoming information. They have not one change, but maybe four. Maybe finance is asking them to do something. HR is asking me to do something with all these things incoming.

And in that place where we have a lot of projects going on and a lot of things coming in, it’s really a leader’s job to help tend and care for and help that those people. 

J: Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. And it meshes with this idea that we see leaders as sort of the last mile, if you will. Between the kinds of things that are happening in the swirl of change around you and making it real for each and every person that has to adapt and adjust to that change. They are that final voice. They’re the ones that, the people who actually have to execute the change, who actually have to do things differently. That’s the person they look to.

C: I just invite everyone, when you’re thinking about what your organization and people are going to say, we need to help with change. Think of it through these buckets. You need help with your sponsors. You need help with the people that are managing your projects and throwing the balls.

They need some help. There are skills and there’s tools and there’s processes to help them do that better. And your leaders also probably need some training and skills. To help them help their people absorb what’s coming at them, creating clarity for them. Being more empathetic and understanding how they’re going to be impacted by what’s changing. Coaching them when they’re still stuck in their emotions of being disappointed or sad or hurt about what’s going on. 

Look at your work. Look at your organization. Because there’s different skills and different needs for each of those people. And you got to have all of them working. For your change to be successful, you just do, you can’t get there without sponsorship. You can’t get there without project management and you can’t get there without leaders. 

J: I love it. I love it. So I think that we have just maybe helped people realize that it’s not just one thing when you’re rolling change out, you’ve got these different audiences, very different roles to play and each, each one of those audiences would need support and help. Yeah. When changes are coming through the organization. 

C: Yeah. That’s better than saying, “Hey, we need help with change around here”. I love it. 

Okay. Well, that’s all we have for this episode of our SHOTcast, but we always have much more to say. If you want more, drop us a line at Until next time.

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