Thursday, December 26, 2013

How to Build Change Capability within an Organization

Change capability is strategic for digital businesses today.

Change is the most significant characteristic of digitalization, the pace of change is accelerating,  therefore, organization’s change capability is crucial for its surviving and thriving today, but how to build such capability within an organization?

Leadership: Leaders can use various techniques to obtain feedback from the organization regarding a critical change effort, use a process to prioritize and include that feedback in the plans going forward, communicate with great frequency and repetition, the progress and steps to adjust the approach based on feedback received and measure the results with an emphasis on what's working / not working with the change effort.

People: Developing change capability in those who'll help to drive and deliver the change, consider also the capability or ability of those impacted by the change to handle its impacts; their resilience will be massively increased if they are involved, included and educated as to what they should expect. Many people across the organization are either 1) directly involved in contributing to the change effort, 2) have the opportunity to participate and choose to hold back but know they had the chance to contribute, or 3) at least hear regularly about the key change effort, the design and progress made even if they have no direct involvement at all. The key trait is credibility, no matter what level of the organization. Of course, it is imperative to find a progressive executive sponsor, but you must also find other like-minded, well-respected individuals throughout the organization, take accountability for the change project or any transformation effort. They will serve the organization with more energy and determination

Assessment: It is important to first understand how much change capability is really required for the effort you are kicking off. Organizations can make major leaps forward in change capability by involving the entire organization in major change efforts (just one is a good start) that support key business strategies to drive performance improvement. The stage to start depends on how transformational the scope is. In some cases, it's best to start well before a project has even been conceived. On the other hand, if you want to build an enduring capability that will go on to support many projects, then it's never too late to start. An honest assessment of the lessons learned from a previous project could be a good place to begin.

Methodologies: There are good methodologies that can provide a framework for building change capability within an organization. Without a quantitative tool to understand the individual behavioral tendency toward change, it would be very challenging to define who your target is within the organization. Different people will respond differently to change understanding the behavioral predisposition and integrating that knowledge into your comprehensive change strategy can measurably increase the success potential for the change

Resources: In organizations that are saturated with changing circumstances, resources, requirements, there isn't much bandwidth to deal with change initiatives. This suggests a slower pace of change for anything new unless the need is commonly perceived as urgent. This scenario requires a few key resources that are committed to the long-term outcome.

Change capability is one of the strategic capabilities which underpin successful execution, and move the organization from efficiency to agility, however, no change is for its own sake, there's always a clear business purpose behind it, and people are the core of changes.


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