L-R: Alicia Girard and Tanya Donovan

Our ACMP Vancouver chapter meeting in November was hosted by our fellow chapter member, Alicia Girard and her colleague, Tanya Donovan.  The two playfully explored the topic of leading change in less than ideal circumstances.

Their presentation began with an intriguing question:  “Cake or death?”  That caught everyone’s attention and from there they explored a UBC project that they had to bring back from the “brink of death” through thoughtful, intentional and structured stakeholder engagement.

Tanya provided the Project Management perspective and Alicia the Change Management viewpoint. We explored questions such as the opening one: “If the stakeholder base of a project is dissatisfied, would you still go forward with the project?” Would you choose to pursue cake or death?

They shared how they turned in the project opponents into supporters through engagement and open, transparent communication.  We also explored what key ingredients we would need to pursue the cake, e.g., Would we try to make the cake easier to digest? (Include only the frosting?  Mini-cupcakes?).

We talked about how to break the change down into bite-sized pieces and to get the stakeholders to explore what flavor of cake they really wanted (vs what we thought they wanted based on the requirements gathering step).

It was an enlightening and thoughtful discussion on transparency, stakeholder engagement, and buy-in.