Friday, July 3, 2015

Leading Change by Questioning

Change shouldn't be treated as a singular occurrence when it is an ongoing, continued process and dynamic capability within the organization.

Change is a vital element for the contemporary organization to stay competitive. But most of Change Initiatives fail to achieve expectation. What are the principles and practices, techniques and mechanism shall you use to manage change. Change by questioning, can you frame the right questions and answer them right as well.

What is your compelling story? The big WHY question - ”Why do we have to change?” is important to understand the strategic imperative about the changes. Creating a compelling reason for change is something that companies often miss and a change program is then initiated without an anchor. If you have a real, simple, and compelling story that the targets of the change can embrace and support, so they feel like participants rather than victims. Change is always easier if you have insight and knowledge, less fear of, the unknown risks. Changes are best when they do not look like changes. Enabling and motivating teams to select best options and providing framework or tools help them align all the options from all teams, so that organization leaps forward as a "natural outcome" of every individual's effort.

What is the vision and value about CHANGE? Two main questions before you embark the change initiative are 1) Are you prepared for the resistance? 2). Are you sure you understand where you are and where you want to go? Change is always easier if you know the net value of the change compared to the net value of not changing; there has to be enough net value increase to make it worth the effort of handling the actual physical activities and handling the mental fear of risks (uncertainty). These following questions should be answered before any change is started, but they should also be validated and perhaps adjusted "every day" of the change journey as the current situation and its net value changes.
-What's the current situation and the net value of this now as well as in the future if it's not changed?
- What's the future situation (vision) and the net value of this in the future if there is a change?
- What's the (robust/"safe"/trustworthy) plan to change from the current situation to the future situation?

Is the management willing to take risks? Any change has either a positive or a negative impact on all the stakeholders. Firstly, it is very important to identify all the stakeholders impacted by a change process. Secondly, you need to then ask questions around which of the stakeholders would be impacted positively and which of the stakeholders would be impacted negatively by the change. Once you have identified the impact on various stakeholders, you need to ask how you can modify the process, or how you can execute the roll out so that the positives are enhanced and the negatives are reduced. Take calculated risks, avoidance of risk, in many ways holds the organization from change.

Who will be the executive sponsor to really be the face of the change? An important point is to verify/validate/research that there is truly a need for the change and what the benefits will be for those affected. Details of the plan can then be formulated including Change Management and Performance Management personnel, employees affected, identifying key managers, etc. Must engage everyone and have clear and timely communication by questioning.
-Is the need for change greater that the resistance perceived in the organization?
-Are the sponsors and doers convinced it's the right time to make the change?
-Has the readiness of the elements that would need to change and costs associated been assessed and approved?
-How would the vision be shared for the change continuously? - communication of behaviors, processes, tools, and practices that would be needed
-Have the systems that would nurture support been addressed?
- Are there sufficient mechanisms thought of to empower teams and build/maintain involvement during the change.

Last but not least, the most difficult part is “how you communicate to the employees?” Organizational change can be very tricky. It's very important to motivate your employees in the right way as to why a change is occurring. There will always be resistance for a change, motivation comes from within. You need to be honest with your employees, but remain positive! It addresses the various stages of the Change Process, so many times change is treated as a singular occurrence when it is an ongoing, continued process and dynamic capability within the organization. It also clearly highlights the many levels at which change is felt in the organization and acknowledges the importance of implementation, acceptance and success at each level.

It is so interesting that the number of factors influencing change is so complex. There are over 50 barriers to change which makes it difficult for managers to deal with, especially as they have tight schedule and budgets. A set of questionnaires is important to navigate through change journey, to keep the end in mind and to overcome the roadblocks on the way.


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