Articles 1 min read

Change management from a distance? by Nathanael Backhouse

Credit to Bryan Mathers for the fantastic image (

In this article, I will discuss how online collaboration tools can be used to continue and even accelerate your change management programme, when your project team and target audience are working remotely.

I won’t go into the reasons why change management is so vital for any project of change, but let me know in the comments if you would like an article to demystify change management, showing how it can be fun, engaging and instrumental to achieving real change on the ground.

My own use of collaboration tools and remote techniques has been at the heart of launching new HR systems, processes and operating models – but the approach can be equally applied for IT, Finance and many other business transformation programs. 

So here we are, it is April 2020 and the world has changed. Adaptation is our middle name, and we have found new ways of looking after loved ones, socialising, living and getting work done. It may appear predictable to write about the pandemic, but it serves an important point: We should aim to take the best of technology, whether we last used it in our personal lives or our working lives, and apply the best of it to make a positive impact. Additionally, many of us will have transformation or change projects on hold or slowed down because of the global pandemic. This article sets out practical methods for restarting these projects with pace.

So how can we take the best of technology and apply it to our current change management projects? How can we restart our projects when team members, stakeholders, sponsors and country teams are working remotely?

I recommend using these techniques not only as a stopgap, compelled by remote working, but in spite of it – these are engaging methods to achieve desired change, at any time:

1. Design for the end user. 

2. Plan your project scope carefully.

3. Choose the right methods.

4. Choose your tools wisely.

5. Engage your sponsor, build your Change team.

6. Make it fun, build excitement.

7. The power, reach and speed of remote.

8. Communications and campaign launch.

9. Levers & Pulleys.

~-~ Further detail on these 9 methods can be found in the slides below ~-~

Update: In the slides, I compare Microsoft Teams with Zoom. Microsoft have just announced (13 April 2020) they will be allowing 9 participants to be viewed simultaneously – not as useful as Zoom’s 49 participants, but a move in the right direction!

Change management is essential, exciting and powerful. I hope you are enthused by the ideas above and keen to continue your change management, whether on site or online. Please keep an eye out for my next HR Transformation articles either here on LinkedIn or at and contact me, Nat Backhouse, to find out more.

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