Change from afar

Projects involving organizational change pose a challenge for project professionals leading virtual teams. This article discusses how project managers can navigate virtual team members through change, whether large or small. In doing so, it reports the results of the 2011-2012 Towers Watson study, Clear Direction in a Complex World, which shows that organizations that are highly effective at change management and communication are twice as likely to outperform their peers and eight times as likely to continue to exhibit new behaviors after a change is complete. In addition, it cites PMI's 2012 Pulse of the Profession report, noting that more than 70 percent of respondents always or often use change management or risk management on their projects and programs. The article then explores how change is managed when teams are virtual. It explains how major change requires the support of other team members. It also details how to connect team members on a personal level. It then suggests that project managers host remote team training sessions in a virtual environment. The article then describes how a provider of learning-based solutions reorganized its North American consulting group in a way that would allow it to operate more collaboratively on a global level through the introduction of new processes, business rules, and staff composition. It also highlights the organizational assessment tools used in the launch. The article concludes by exploring how to ensure compliance after a change has been implemented and discusses one way to curb non-compliance. Accompanying the article is a sidebar that offers tips for overcoming cultural roadblocks to change for virtual teams.
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