Reflections on Change within a Change Project
April 29, 2020
Here’s the understatement of the century: we are doing things differently these days – even a project about managing change.
In October 2019 we launched Leading4Impact (L4I), a pilot welcoming a cohort of Manitoba non-profit leaders keen to strengthen planning and evaluation culture (P&E) in their organizations.
L4I started with the idea that leadership is critical to a robust planning and evaluation (P&E) culture; Directors who are better able to implement and guide planning and evaluation processes can have a big impact on how organizations plan, achieve and talk about results.
L4I’s peer-to-peer learning, facilitation and coaching is framed by change management. Building a stronger P&E culture often means doing things differently; identifying what needs to change and why, promoting and encouraging new ways of working and thinking, and embedding supports to help these changes stick.
In late 2019 – following a 2.5 day retreat that built a shared base of planning, evaluation and change management knowledge – each member of the pilot chose one P&E “change project” to implement over the ensuing months.
COVID-19 then threw one big global monkey wrench in our small pilot – with direct impacts felt at work and home.
Meeting in early 2020, the Cohort spoke about being in the middle of, as one member put it – one big, shared change project. As a result, some P&E “change projects” were adapted, while others were put on hold
L4I continues to meet virtually, the Cohort emphasizing the value of relationships that have developed, the perspectives of their peers, and learning through each others’ experiences. Along the way, the Cohort borrows from theories of change to express paths forward – sharing stories of “conscious incompetence,” or describing personal and organizational change journeys that can include denial, frustration, anger and integration.
As the pilot begins to wrap up, it looks much different than what HiC had planned. And like the Cohort, we’ve had to adapt and learn – always finding ways to manage change.
And that is kind of the point.