Sunday, February 8, 2015

What’s the Top One Key Factor in Change Management

Change Management is no longer just a one-time project, but an ongoing and innate business capability.

The speed of business change is accelerating, but more than two-thirds of the change management effort fails to achieve the expected result. What’s the top one key factor in change management, is it communication, strategy, sponsorship, cultural innovation, or others, and how to manage it effectively?

Communication: Stakeholder relationships and communication are 'critical' to change management rather than the most important or only important factor. Change management is a balancing act of 'sustainability' - that is finding, enabling and facilitating the best path forward for the changing context - the organization, community, economy, culture or whatever the change is for. There are other factors that are equally critical. Communications can't be seen as the enemy. It's a word that means many things to many people and initiates a broad set of activities. Change Management influences how you communicate; it is a catalyst for authenticity, involvement, and modeling and reinforcement. Understanding the impacts of change, tailoring messages to those impacted, and working with individuals to elicit their reactions and understand their disrupted expectations may very well just be the most important thing practitioners can support.

Strategy: Besides communication, one in particular that jumps out is the need for 'strategy' and planning the change. Sometimes you have to challenge the traditional methods of communication to stand out from the noise. What channels have you used to stand out? The channels adopted in the change strategy need to take the organization into account and create a strategy to utilize or even develop a technology enablement platform for the communications that are vital. That said, organizations have so many options today for what is available for asserting communications mechanisms to support a change initiative. The cultural innovation, people, and change adaptation demonstrate the democratic approaches to governance tend to facilitate easier and superior change adoption. This approach ultimately utilizes choices, collaborative approaches and the encouragement of self-directed initiatives that extend to 'online' or web-based communities who communicate with an aim to governance and change facilitation. It's a power-sharing approach without losing focus on the goals.

Sponsorship: Many change management research point to sponsorship as #1 in importance to successfully managing changes. Change management is how you catalyze employee adoption and usage of change to capture the portion of benefits that depend on people changing how they do their jobs. That takes a good bit more than "communication and training" - active and visible sponsorship is crucial (as is being structured, intentional and resources for focusing on adoption and usage in the first place). You can have an amazing presentation with the right stakeholders, but if the person delivering the message isn't your sponsor or key influencer in the room, people won't care. Still, the top pick key factor in Change Management is situation driven. It could depend on the type of change project as well. If it is a large scale true organizational change project where you aren't simply removing one thing and replacing it with another, then identifying sponsors and influencer is key. If you are part of a change that is merely a release management type of project then, yes, communication and engagement would be a priority because the system is already in place and you are making enhancements. There are too many different types of change management initiatives, so there is no one size fits all approach to successfully managing change.

Assessment and measurement: A change manager needs to assess and evaluate every specific scenario to create the change program success. Ultimately, the success of the change program is measured by results that are important values to the organization - and the cultural adoption of these goals is part of that measure. If these values have not been clearly identified at the outset - you cannot get the true alignment of your organization and all working toward the same goals and outcomes - you lack clarity and purpose of direction.

Change Management is no longer just a one-time project, but an ongoing capability; it is hard to pick only one key factor, but varying key success factors in managing it right, and organizations have to tailor their own circumstances, make it an “innate” business capability for accelerating their digital transformation journey.


Excellent way of describing!!! I will definitely be using this information with further strategies that I am trying. Thanks again.

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