Like any project, a change effort needs a good manager. There is a lot of excellent information in the industry on how to manage projects. As with the Communicator role, our intent isn’t to tell you about how to do this role. Our intent is to tell you simply how important it is to do it! Without it, your odds of success drop dramatically.
The Change Team Manager is the role that makes it all work. They will be the public point of contact and will shepherd the change effort through all of its twists and turns, issues and risks, and bring it through to success.
This role makes sure: first of all that there is a plan; secondly, that everything is going according to plan; and thirdly, that everything gets back on plan when there’s been a bump in the road. They will actively manage the risks, issues, dependencies, constraints, and will make sure that all of the other change team members are doing their jobs.
No matter how small the change effort might be, it requires thoughtfulness and planning. So, even though your effort might be small, it is still important to name somebody as the Change Team Manager. In a small effort, the same person may end up covering many of the change team roles and not be officially “titled” with those roles and that can still work — as long as the Change Team Manager role is clearly identified.
For a large change effort, naming the person who is the Change Team Manager provides the world external to the effort, and more importantly the world being impacted by the change effort, a go-to person who they know will respond to their issues, questions, and concerns.
The Change Team Manager needs to be aware of what the buzz is in the community. They need to make sure that any misinformation, miscommunication, misconceptions, misunderstandings — and any other mis(es) that could potentially derail the success of the effort — get cleared up right away. They may need the Communicator, Sponsor or Champion to get the message out, but the Change Team Manager makes sure the buzz gets back on track.
We’ve discussed the many different roles that are part of the change team — Facilitator, Integrator, Communicator, Champion, Sponsor, Change Agent, Subject Matter Expert, and Owner (Stakeholder). Of all of these, however, the role that will most guarantee success is the Change Team Manager.