Powerful stakeholders were mobilised to support the initiative to improve project management, a clear agenda was agreed and instead of passive or 'accidental' negativity there was a genuine commitment to achieving the outcomes.
As the change leader said, "My peer group now understand and support the efforts of my team in tackling this problem".
There was a strong political will and the finance to improve the capability of project management within Network Rail, and planning to achieve the change had begun. Actions had already been taken with the target community and there was a flurry of reaction, query and challenge as to what was going to happen and what should be done.
It was clear that the complexity of the challenge was creating uncertainty as to the best way to plan for the change. CITI set about clarifying the differing agendas and finding ways of bringing together the many and varied perspectives of what needed to be, and in what sequence, so that the key stakeholders felt that their opinions and needs were being listened to, and addressed.
This resulted in an increase in understanding and commitment and a decrease in the sources of resistance to change.
Approach to solution
By conducting a series of structured candid discussions with key stakeholders and capturing extensive, powerful verbatim commentaries it was possible to identify inconsistencies and gaps in the existing and planned communications.
It was also possible to map the various stakeholders against a 'political terrain' map showing where their allegiances and alliances lay - which prides clear indications as to the best strategies to adopt when approaching them to gain commitment to part or all of the initiative.
There were four questions that needed answering:
What would count as success for the initiative from the differing stakeholders?
What was the vision of the programme board, and in particular the SRO?
How were the actions taken to date perceived?
What 'next step' would receive the greatest level of support?
These were addressed and a route map set out and presented to the key stakeholders.
Whilst the need for attention to the views and opinions of key stakeholders had been appreciated, the need to iteratively seek input and reaction to ideas, and to provide targeted interventions to maintain commitment had been underestimated. In particular, it was heavily underlined that if you ask a key stakeholder for their views, you must clearly demonstrate that you have taken them into account - even if the ideas are not taken forward.
Models / tools used
CITI stakeholder analysis techniques Structured interviews Facilitated workshops
"The classic training model, taking individuals out of the business to sit in a classroom for a week at a time, was not going to work for us. But at the same time, we knew we needed to raise our game in managing change. I have to say, your people are brilliant!"