Sunday, June 14, 2015

How to Measure Changes

Whatever the measurement system is, it needs to be consistent, repeatable, and as unbiased as possible.

We can only manage what we measure. Is change so hard because it’s so hard to measure Changes? Organizations have so much difficulty measuring change for a variety of reasons such as miscommunication, hidden agendas, unclear goals and mission, poor leadership, "doing the same things over and over and expecting different results." Change is a process with known/ controllable and unpredictable/unknowable variables. Change is ALWAYS happening around us at work and outside work. Perhaps the difficulty in measuring change management is that the very thing we are measuring is changing. There is an inherent oxymoron in the term change management. We want people to change, and manage or control at the same time. That's like trying to drive with your foot on the brake and the accelerator at the same time. So to put it simply, how to measure changes, or more precisely, the change outcomes?

One reason for such difficulty would be an inadequate measuring system: How do you design metrics to measure what changes and how these changes are measured? What are the relevant metrics and how can they be quantified and validated? Oftentimes, the organization may not have the systems and structures in place prior to implementation to actually monitor and track the change. There is a significant lag between getting these systems operational, having enough data to establish a baseline, and then actively monitoring change. Measuring change involves first accurately identifying where you are now. Then, clearly identifying where you want to be once the change is complete. Both require the necessity to be brutally honest and to establish clear, understandable, and easily calculable metrics. You must also have yardsticks along the way at regular intervals to accurately measure progress. Difficulties to measure change are a reflection of (1) lack of planning and (2) lack of clarity. if you know what your change is expected to bring then you'll know what to measure before the change is implemented. In fact, the act of change is to improve or modify something, therefore, you should already know what is not working. hopefully a measurement. If a change is implemented with no clarity then you are doing a change just for change's sake. and if you are not clear on why you are changing then measure change will become difficult. The majority of employees do not like change because they do not understand it. There are two things to take into account: Organizational change is a complex HUMAN process, so until you have systemic structures to manage it, you should wait for relevant measurement. Management science and organizational development have failed to measure the change process, and the main source of that is the lack of multidimensional theory-based assessment instruments.

A well-balanced scorecard encompasses the key strategic goals and the drivers thereof: That is to say, a well-balanced scorecard measures key strategic measures along with the things that drive those measures. Getting management to sit down and create a well-balanced scorecard takes skill--often they want to include tactical and operational measures. Think of the heads-up display on a fighter pilot's visor--there are just a few of the key gauges displayed there--just the ones that the pilot needs most to steer the ship. Same with a scorecard. It can be most helpful if you use a "balanced scorecard approach" where you have a baseline that is: either developed by doing a survey, using benchmark data, historical data or best estimation of 4-6 change categories like communications index, training scores, employee engagement, etc. Then you create a scale showing the best case up to 10, from the baseline, and worst case to 1, with a weight on each.

You are leveraging a balanced scorecard in measuring the outcome of the change. That metric needs to be SMART, so people can see what the outcome will look like throughout their transition. Second, there should be a consideration for a balanced scorecard that measures the progress of the milestones you want to achieve during the change transition, this keeps people-focused. A balanced approach may be sensible as they move away from providing towards commissioning services; looking at finance, working in partnership with others, contracting services out, building relationships that can help support new ways of offering services. How do you measure these in a meaningful way? Perhaps the answer lies in using a range of different tools rather than relying on a single method.  A Balanced Scorecard is a great idea, however, the success of that scorecard will be determined by the components of the scorecard and how meaningful those components are to the successful implementation of the change. Change Impact Analysis and Business Readiness are two key processes that need to conduct to give a person a glimpse of what to measure.

The real key to change management is the internal process humans go through in transition. Change is external; the transition is internal. When companies learn how to tap into and pay attention to employees' transition process, they'll have a richer perspective of where they are along the successful change management curve. End state goals and milestones along the way will help measure external change. Conversations and connections between leadership, management, and employees will help monitor internal/transition which equals buy-in, adoption, behavior change, etc. Managers as the coach must use powerful questions and presented with their employees to tune into the transition process. Change management succeeds or fails inside each employee and their transition. Perhaps the most challenging area in which to measure change is with respect to changing a culture. The Barrett Values Index is a quantitative, qualitative, and inclusive measurement tool for gauging organizational culture. It centers on three simple questions asked of all employees: (1) what are your personal values (2) what do you see as the company's current values, and (3) what do you believe the future company values should be? You can see how the gaps will surface quite clearly. Efforts can then be designed to minimize the gaps. And as the culture strengthens, strategic alignment happens as a by-product. So perhaps directing energy and attention at measuring and improving culture will yield synergistic results in desired change. The research also clearly indicates that the most carefully crafted and well-intended change strategies fail in the execution phase if culture is weak because shared values and buy-in at all levels are misaligned. Or using a synthesis of Socio-Technical Systems (STS) Analysis to measure change-readiness against the contexts of Goals, People, Processes, Procedures, Infrastructure, Technology, and Culture. Early interventions produce a quantitative comparison for plant managers to easily view their plant's strengths and weaknesses.

One approach is to develop a business process improvement initiative and incorporate change into it. Senior managers are more receptive to this because the benefits are more visible. It's very appropriate to use listening to people as a measurement, but with every measuring system (including listening to our stakeholders) an element of calibration is needed - is there a possibility that the measurement itself can be affected by how the listener perceives the change? Whatever the measurement system is, it needs to be consistent, repeatable, and as unbiased as possible. It's not an easy question and maybe we should only put as much effort into measuring change as the organization needs reassurance about implementing the change.

Last but not least, leadership skills. Prior to taking the journey of change, it’s important for leaders to understand an organization’s readiness and competencies to successfully achieve the desired goal and result. As to the issue of accomplishing change, that requires real management and communication skill, the most important of which is convincing everyone involved of the necessity for the change and how they and the organization will be better off. Be cautious about applying the discipline of measurement to change likely makes success more difficult to achieve. Change outcomes are much more simple to measure, but by definition come further down the line. What is much more difficult to get to grips with is the change that a growing number of people over time need to go through to create the environment for change outcomes to materialize. Try less hard to impress senior leadership by providing evidence that the change program is working - focus more on engaging more and more people as advocates and building momentum. Doing so from the so-called bottom-up is immensely powerful, and if senior leadership can be persuaded to be patient, then they will see the outcomes they seek - but only once they have got there. Adopting this kind of approach perversely also allows you to spot failure earlier as well - the sense that change will not happen manifests itself very early and doesn't need measures to tell you. 

People are always at the center of change. By cultivating people with a growth mindset and instill them with the "why" and "know-how" of the change initiatives, companies will see a more successful change implementation, measure, follow up, and sustain power. if the corporate can innovate and scale up with innovative new business lines to create an opportunity for the growth of staff, people would be more positive and embrace the changes.


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