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Managers' Mosaic Update

January 2014

It's been nearly two months since McMaster's new finance and research post-award system launched. In this update, we will look at ways to help your team through the transition.

McMaster is in the midst of its largest administrative project ever and a significant change in both system software and business processes. The project team would like to thank you for your support and patience through this transition.

These changes will require managers to take an active role in leading their teams through change. Here are three things you can do to meet the challenge:

1. Connect with your team

This is a good time to practice management by wandering around. Connect with your staff, understand how they are responding to the change, ask them how they are doing, and hear their concerns. An empathetic ear goes a long way to reducing stress.

Create opportunities for you and your team to share information. Simple small events, like a tips-and-tricks coffee or a lunch-and-learn session creates a forum where your staff can both learn and share their expertise. We are still on the steep part of the learning curve and some staff feel overwhelmed by all that there is to absorb. Giving them an opportunity to share what they have learned will help them realize the progress they have already made.

2. Communicate expectations and provide support

Set realistic expectations about the coming months: it will take time for the project team to work out the initial system kinks and it will take time for the University as a whole to learn the new system.

Be sure to clearly communicate your expectations to your team during the transition. Providing clear directions about which tasks to prioritize will help reduce stress levels.

Listen to your team to understand their expectations of you! Being a manager is a two-way street; make sure you're available and providing support. For example, if three people have hit the same roadblock, can you take that issue on and let staff do other activities while you resolve the issue with support.

In both words and in action, actively and consistently demonstrate your support. Support includes guiding people away from unhelpful grief (for example "I had all my account numbers memorized and now they've changed") towards new benefits (for example, "I can see who still needs to review and approve this voucher").

3. Coach your team

You don't need to be Vince Lombardi, but coaching makes a huge difference.

Make sure your staff take full advantage of the training and open house learning opportunities, as well as online courses now available. We strongly recommend that you confirm with each of your staff members that they have already received training or are scheduled to do so. It is important to make this a priority! It’s not reasonable to expect staff to use the system without complete training.

Don't forget the big picture: your team also needs to understand why the university is making this change and how it will eventually improve McMaster's ability to support students and research over the next decade.

Additional resources

The Mosaic Change Management team is available to help you and your staff through the transition to PeopleSoft. Some teams need more support than others. We are available to provide advice and assistance. To that end we are holding a number of three-hour workshops that will focus on best practices in Change Management, the role of today's change leader, and the ADKAR Change Model. TMG leaders are invited to register to attend one of these workshops, as offered on the following dates:

  • Friday, February 14, 9 a.m. -noon, MUSC-308/309
  • Tuesday, February 18, 1 p.m.-4 p.m., MUSC-308/309
  • Tuesday, February 25, 9 a.m. - noon, MUSC-308/309

Participant must pre-register for these workshops.

These sessions will be facilitated by Paul Short, Human Resources Services Director of Change Management at McMaster. Paul brings a wealth of knowledge and practical experience in change leadership. Questions about change leadership? You can connect with Paul at


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