The role of a Change Manager is to ensure the business is ready, minimise resistance and increase adoption for a change occurring whether it be a people, system, process or regulatory.
A change manager will do this by implementing change management strategies and plans, supporting communications and training efforts and effectively engaging with the business throughout delivery. The practitioner who does this role may have many different names; change consultant, change analyst, change associate, change leadership, change champion, change facilitator etc, I could go on.
I’ve previously discussed the different roles of a change analyst- in this blog post, I’ll be discussing the often-blurred lines between the roles of a change manager and a senior change manager. And what makes someone a senior change manager.
In a job advertisement or description, we will see years of experience required (eg 5+ years’ experience in a senior change role) but what does this equate to in outcomes or deliverables?
A change manager will work on 1 stream of work, or a project even. Responsible for the plan and delivery but is probably not involved in the strategy. A change manager would work with mid-level stakeholders, eg managers, senior managers.
The step up to a senior change manager would see them juggling multiple streams or projects and managing interdependencies at once, they would be involved in the strategy with the program managers or change leads. A senior change manager would have also worked on larger projects, bigger budget, impact, teams- and with this, they will have some ‘battle scars’ having worked through difficult high-pressure situations. They might have a change manager or analyst to work with and their stakeholder engagement would be more at the senior level, eg heads of, GM’s.
Applying for new roles can become tricky when different organisations label these differently or you are stuck in-between. I often speak to change managers who are in this tricky spot- their contract is ending, they have been a change manager at X company, they have around 5 years’ experience but never a senior change manager title. They believe they are ready for this next step, but they are up against applicants already with it.
- It is worth taking some time to check where you sit:
- How many projects have you worked across at once?
- How many strategies have you delivered?
- What level stakeholders do you work with?
- How many employee/ customers have you rolled the change out to?
- How large was the budget/ team size/ duration of the project?
Based on the above questions, if you’ve worked on multiple projects, delivered strategies, worked with senior stakeholders etc- then aiming for a senior change manager role would be possible, as long as in interview- you can back this up with relevant examples and situations.
If no- aiming for a senior role will be a push. I would suggest going for a change manager role where the practice/ hiring manager is focussed on development.
Most hiring managers will want to help you achieve your goals, contractors included. Once in a change management role, you can express interest in progressing to a senior role, perhaps getting involved in the strategy and taking on more streams.
This is also a benefit of going permanent early on in your change career- get this valuable experience with senior stakeholders and development/training and then move to contracting at a senior change manager rate.
Want to talk about where you sit on the change- senior change scale or how to get to a senior change manager role? I’m always available for a coffee or a call.
I currently have both contracting and permanent change and senior change roles available. I specialise within financial services in both Brisbane and Sydney, my clients include Westpac, NAB, Suncorp and AMP, amongst others. Please reach out if you’d like to discuss working at any of these players now or in the future.
My contact details are:
Jill Hunter – Consultant
02 9240 6300