HR Strategic Project Management SPOMP: A book review by Bob Morris

HR Strategic Project Management SPOMP: Implementing Organizational Change Successfully: Five Powerful Strategies to Seduce and Influence Stakeholders, Sell Your Ideas, and Boost Your Career
Leon M. Hielkema (2012)

Here are several new insights on how to implement successfully major changes in almost any organization

Most change initiatives fail or fall far short of original expectations and reasons vary from one organization to the next. However, with rare exception, the greatest resistance to change is cultural in nature, the result of what James O’Toole so aptly characterizes as “the ideology of comfort and the tyranny of custom.” In this volume, Leon Hielkema recommends “five powerful strategies to seduce and influence stakeholders, sell your ideas, and boost your career in the human resources department.” Obviously, he wrote this book primarily for HR decision-makers but the fact remains that, given how difficult it is to execute any strategies successfully to achieve major organizational change, there must be buy-in and active involvement at all levels and in all areas of the given enterprise.

As Hielkema explains, “HR Strategic Project Management SPOMP approaches change projects in a different way. It does not focus on the project management technique, but on the process of influencing and persuading people. In other words, the focus is on ‘seducing’ stakeholders into the change that you want to realize.” He devotes a separate chapter to each of the five strategies, before shifting his attention to the benefits of SPOMP and then to “Making a Career.”

These are among the dozens of passages that caught my eye and they also provide an indication of the range of subjects that Hielkema discusses:

o How to Identify More Stakeholders (Pages 41-43)
o How to Plan Your Communication Moments (65-71)
o How to Form Strategic Coalitions 91-92)
o “The Power of Potential Success” (116-117)
o Indicators of Success (119-121)
o How to Quantify Indicators (129-130)
o Effective Risk Management (131)
o The Benefits of SPOMP (137-141)

Note: The acronym SPOMP is best explained in context, within the narrative.

Hielkema also inserts several dozen boxed min-commentaries, four Tables, and 20 Figures that provide supplementary information relevant to the given context. For example:

o On implementing a new training program for a client (Pages 39-40
o On the “communication leverage effect” (51)
o Table 1, “Skeleton of a process plan based on communication moments (70)
o Figure 13, “Stakeholders’ trust is usually impacted by project marketing” (101)
o Brief explanation of a “spider chart” (130)

Readers will also appreciate the two appendices in which Hielkema shares his thoughts about why only 32% of change projects are successful and why nobody actually likes change, although my own opinion is that people tend to fear what is unfamiliar; also, managers especially are frequently passionate defenders of the status quo because they helped to achieve the success it symbolizes.

No brief commentary such as mine can possibly do full justice to the scope and depth of material that Leon Hielkema provides in this volume but I hope that I have at least suggested why I think so highly of him and his work. Also, I hope that those who read this commentary will be better prepared to determine whether or not they wish to read the book and, in that event, will have at least some idea of how the information, insights, and wisdom could perhaps be of substantial benefit to them and to their own organization.

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