Saturday, August 31, 2013

Four Seasons of Changes: How to Improve Organizational Change Effectiveness?

Being clear on the strategic imperative to change is important.

The speed of change is significantly accelerated, however, more than 70% of organization’s change management fail to reach expectation, what has your organization done to improve organizational change effectiveness? How should senior executives take leadership upon it?

1. Analyze the Root Causes to Change Failure 

  • Resistance to change is often because people are unsure of what success will look like after the transformation. They've been successful in what they're doing. Why shall you change that? This is why silos evolve in many organizations. A group has defined for themselves what success means, but how about for the rest of organization? A way to break that pattern is to develop a tangible, neutral description of success for the organization and how each role contributes. 
  • “What’s in Me” Perspective: The organization is highly populated by "intellectual workers." The degree of explicit control that management exerts, or can exert on these individuals is limited, and often, protect them as the revenue generators, thus diminishing the impact of organizational change initiatives. To get cooperation and not cause problems, you need to find a way to show them that the changes being made are really in their best interests and will make their jobs easier.

2. Planning is the earliest stage of change management 

Planning work is about stakeholder engagement and about working to achieve stakeholder ownership of the emerging strategy, plan and roadmap. Engaging those who will be impacted by the change and enabling them to be part of shaping their future. That is one of the best ways of tackling change.

  • Have managers do a SWOT analysis for their business area. Ask them to describe what a typical workday would be like in an ideal state 2-3 years from now, and how that differs with the typical workday today. Depending on how competitive they are, publish a process performance dashboard so everyone can see how their business unit is performing compared to others. If you feel that you have been able to influence the process, then you are more likely to own the process and the outcome, and then be part of the team that realizes the proposed changes to establish the intended new operating model 
  • It can not be effective if arbitrary changes are being dictated from above without anyone listening to those being affected. You need to get the managers involved and make them feel like their inputs are being listened to. If you involve them in the decision-making process they will feel like they have some ownership of the changes and will be more cooperative and feel they have a stake in the changes succeeding. There are ways to get these managers to go for the changes you want and even have them thinking that they were at least partially their own ideas. 
  • Change is a focal point for EA, Enterprise Architects are also ‘Chief Designer’ for business transformation. As some say, change is 'manual'-as there's command-control leadership style to push behavior adjustment, while transformation is natural evolution as it needs to engage mindset shift, culture re-invention

3. Making Change Happen Step-by-Step 

Being clear on the strategic imperative to change is important (alongside the 'what's in it for me). Is there a burning platform or a burning ambition (or both) that compels your business to become much faster, better and mature at delivering change?  Make change happen step-by-step: 

  • Communicate, communicate, communicate, and the empathy-based messages around what it will mean for you. And the more you can stress that change equals opportunity, not just risk being managed, the more effective change would be; Pay very careful attention to the 'what's in it for me' -- sometimes this is something very relevant and tactical for the resistant individual, and sometimes you have to reach higher into the strategy. But effective, genuine communication of not only to what of change but the why of it, tailored to specific audience 
  • Everyone should identify with one or more roles. Each role is accountable for producing certain units of business value. To do that, they are entitled to certain information or resources from other specific roles. 
  • Monitor the performance: Trust but verify: Are they getting what they're entitled to? Do they not have the skills? Are they compensating for a missing element of the enterprise? Are they simply not performing? If their skills fit the role and success is well defined or if they are still resistant there's a personnel problem. 
There is no shortcut for change. "Change management" is the overarching umbrella, that encompasses extensive planning, outreach, communications, discovery of concerns / objections / potential points of failure, addressing fears and resistance, developing a shared vision, communicating valid and compelling reasons for cooperation, recognizing sacrifice and incremental success, measuring outcomes in a shared and mutually understood and agreed upon fashion, being able to declare an end-point and successful conclusion.


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