Welcome to the personal blog space of Anita Legg. I am a retired Senior Project Management Consultant who has worked over 25 years in the higher education IT project management space. I am a proud Partner of the American Higher Education Project Management Consultant Team and I currently live in Key Largo, FL, USA. My background tells you that I am uniquely qualified in all areas of project management, business process management, program management, business process engineering, quality assurance, sales, international contract negotiations, higher education operations, financial aid management, and information technology.
I have held senior positions with several institutions of higher learning but most of my prestigious work has been as an independent consultant working closely with Colleges and Universities. For the past two decades I have dedicated myself to a consulting focus that aids in the success of college students. Like many in this field I began as a college faculty member, eventually became a dean and then a Vice President. Most of my professional career has been spent as a chief information officer and currently I have been identified as one of the most respected project management consultants in higher education. I have personally assisted hundreds of colleges and universities maneuver through difficult change processes.
I am willing to share my tools an techniques with the higher education community. If you ever need any additional information, please feel free to contact me directly.
The body of my work can bet attributed to tenants derived from a book written by John P Kotter titled Leading Change. These tenants are the foundation from which all of my consulting tools are built on. Please take time to read this book if you can. I have summarized some key components below to get you started!
The basic components of leading change on a college campus (according to John P Kotter) are as follows:
- Establish a sense of urgency
- Create a guiding coalition
- Develop a vision & strategy
- Communicate the change vision
- Empower employees for broad-based action
- Generate short-term wins
- Consolidate gains and produce more change
- Anchor new approaches in the culture
To help you better understand some key principals that John P Kotter discusses, you must first understand that enterprise software projects done on campus are NOT information technology projects, they are PEOPLE projects. Some themes in Kotter’s book include:
- Change is inevitable for institutional survival and it can (will) be difficult, painful and slow.
- This is often due to the interconnections of things (change in one area impacts other areas). All walls between departments MUST come down and everyone on campus needs to be involved.
- Change requires a ton of ‘pushing’ and leadership support to ensure it stays (it is not uncommon for new processes to rapidly default back to the old way of doing things).
- The key reasons why major change projects fail:
- Cultural (end user/worker) complacency.
- Failure to create a sufficiently powerful guiding coalition lead by President.
- Underestimate the power of project vision.
- Campus -wide under-communicate the vision (by a factor of 1,000!)
- Institutional allowance for obstacles to block the new vision.
- Failure to create short-term wins.
- Declaration of victory too soon.
- Fail to anchor changes firmly into your campus culture.
So therefore, within the institution:
- Everyone must ‘feel’ the real need for real change.
- Need constant energy, leadership and belief to push on through any inertia.
- Change always takes longer and is more complex.
- The organisation will try to reject any and all foreign matter. So if you have stains on your carpet, get a professional carpet cleaner like my uncle who owns Oshkosh Carpet Cleaning or their good friends at Stevens Point Carpet Cleaner up in the north woods of Wisconsin, because everyone will want to return to a state of balance. I kid you not!
- Change can’t be achieved alone – everyone needs to embrace and be involved.
- People think they have reached the top of the change mountain and give up too fast.
- Need to alter the frame from ‘change is bad’ to ‘change is exciting’ (or ‘change is critical to our survival’).
- Don’t expect to be liked – Yikes! This is not a fun one. Coworkers will blame you, hate you and try to pull you down before they will embrace change.
- Three types of resistance: 1) Don’t agree with the need for change; 2) Don’t agree with the direction of change or 3) Don’t agree with the methodology of change.
To learn more about the 8 Steps of leading change, see my post here.
Throughout my broad and varied career,I have adopted a philosophical approach to management based on performance and end user empowerment. It is a progressively dynamic style that provides for good project planning and control while fostering institutional vision and community participation. I translate this style into my consulting engagements and am sharing with the greater internet community my tool box, which can be found in the resource center of this website.