Five roles Change Managers should not perform

I’ve noticed a number of Change Manager (CM) job postings recently listing tasks change managers do not perform.  While CMs can multitask across other roles, those tasks are not part of the Change Manager Role and are not required in CM training except to highlight there existence and who performs them.

That said, many CMs transition to their CM role via other paths and bring additional skills, knowledge & experiences with them which enables them to multitask.

Roles change managers do not perform include, but are not limited to:

1. Project Management: Many project managers transition to change management because they are required to perform change management tasks when the organisation has not included a CM resource in the transformation business case. While I have posted previously about the benefits of “integrating change management into the project life cycle” because there are many activities they both perform, transformation programmes are more successful when a dedicated CM is assigned.       

CMs do not by default have the skills and knowledge to deliver projects or programmes of work and should not be requested to do so without specific PM training and experience.  

2. Business Analyst: Similar to the project manager many BAs transition to a CM role during a project, typically starting as a Change Analyst, assisting with the stakeholder analysis, interviews and other assessments, then transitioning to a full CM role.

CMs do not by default have the skills and knowledge to complete classic BA activities like process mapping and writing business requirements, they should never be requested to complete a BA role.

3. Communications: One of the most critical tasks in every change management initiative is to communicate, communicate and communicate some more. While the CM has a clear mandate to identify the audience to be communicated too, highlight the key messages, timings and who should deliver the message, the act of writing and sending the message must not be performed by the CM.

4. Organisational Strategy: CMs never define organisational strategy. That said there are many organisational design organisations & experts, who prescribe change management as part of their organisational design role. By definition the development of a new strategy is change and therefore must always address the impact of the change on the people in the organisation. It is the CMs role however to analyse the detail & impact of the change, then define the change management plan to deliver it.

5. Human Resources: There are often impacts on people as a result of the change due to a realignment of tasks, roles or job function. Significant organisational change programmes or company merges may include redundancies.

The CM may highlight roles impacted by a new technology, processes or a realignment but, must never be involved in the decision or process of the realignment. HR is a discipline learnt over many years of study and on the job, it is never the CMs role to manage this function.

What other roles have you been asked to perform or engage with but should never be performed by a change manager?

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