Most people say “Isn’t that what a PMO is for?” when the subject of a Change Management Office comes up. The answer is, yes and no.
Where the PMO acts to standardize how initiatives are raised and executed, and manages the mechanics of the demand on corporate resources, project reporting and interrelationships over an entire portfolio, the CMO can act to provide an enterprise view of the aggregate impacts to staff across the portfolio. Like the PMO, the CMO can provide a framework for internal and contracted change management resources to work within for consistency in approach, and can serve as proactive strategist as well as intervener whenever barriers to forward motion surface.
A CMO can take many forms over its lifespan, and grow alongside your organization just like a PMO and in fact CMO functions reside within an enterprise PMO for many organizations. However, Change Management can be instinctively assigned an HR meaning within the minds of executive, management and staff. And positioning the CMO within HR is appropriate if the primary emphasis of Change Management work is expected to involve organisational development pieces of work : mergers and acquisitions, restructures, leadership development, outsourcing, etc.
While some organizational cultures will initially find the notion of Change Management threatening in the same way as some might regard the idea of seeking the services of a Psychologist, the CMO function can be positioned as a way to deal with the issues of :
- backlogged change,
- past ill-fitting or partial change implementation, and as
- support for management and staff in absorbing further changes coming down the pipe.
Additionally, a fundamental function the CMO can fulfill is to raise the change management capability within leaders at all levels. Where transformation is concerned, this work furthers the ability of organizations to focus the wisdom, talents, abilities and efforts of people on transformational change, thereby supporting Transformational Leadership methods.
It is important to be very clear about the purpose and function of the Change Management Office or function you are implementing especially where change management is brand new to the organization. Not surprisingly, implementing a CMO function works best when change management practices are applied.
The arrival of a CMO or like function can be a beacon for stewarding transformational initiatives into benefits realization, and as a catalyst for the unrelenting organizational development associated with preparing people for wave over wave of transformative change. Whether your CMO is positioned as an advisory function placed within HR, or a combination of enterprise standards and practices administered and applied through the PMO (or both), its presence can help pave the way for transformative change.