Friday, January 29, 2016

Three Big “WHAT”s in Change Management

Changes at any level within an organization (individual, team or organization) or across business ecosystem require intent.

Everything changes continuously and the rate of change is accelerated. Change is no longer just a one-time initiative, but an ongoing capability. Change capability is one of the strategic capabilities which underpin successful execution and move the organization from efficiency, effectiveness to agility and maturity. Besides the "Big WHYs" about the change we discussed earlier, here are three big WHAT about Change Management.

#1 What’re the top key elements in Change Management?  The most critical element is a shared VISION for the organization. Change is usually required when an organization is expanding its business, its mission, or is installing/implementing some new technology. In all these cases, a vision provides the guiding light and direction. COMMUNICATION is 'critical' to Change Management rather than the most important or only important factor. Besides communication, one in particular that jumps out is the need for STRATEGY and planning the change. Change Management research points to SPONSORSHIP as #1 in importance to successfully managing changes. Upward FEEDBACK is absolutely necessary. Then they need to communicate their understanding and the contributions they expect of their parts of the organization to their teams/ and employees. ASSESSMENT & MEASUREMENT: A change manager needs to assess and evaluate every specific scenario to create the change program success.

#2 What’re People’s Psychological Responses to Changes? There is so much psychology in openness to new ideas and perspectives, change or business transformation: There is not a one size fits all approach to addressing the different psychological responses and thereby reducing anxiety because there are different psychological perspectives. For example, there are those who think logically, others focus bigger picture, and others are a lot more emotional in their decision-making. It takes slightly different approaches, timescales, and skills to unlock the anxiety. It is all about perspective. What is more interesting is what drives people's perspective. Those lack of vision are either incentivized incorrectly to focus only on the short-term; inexperienced outside of the small field in which they operate; too focused on their own self-preservation; or have no energy or desire left to think long term. People neither love nor hate "change," they hate to be changed. They need to figure out the big WHY about the change, and “What’s in It for Me”? The differentiator is that people embrace change if they understand the value adding to them clearly.

#3: What are driving factors and people factors in leading changes or business transformation? First, identify key driving factors for business transformation, generally speaking, the key driving factors of any business transformation are (1) Automation and standardization practices. (2) Organizational culture reinvention and (3) the transformation of data into relevant and timely information; or transform the computer systems and technical programs that are being used to take advantage of the latest digital trend; and then business transformation needs to be carried out within the company's system and apply design principle accordingly. In addition, you cannot transform the organization without considering the human factors thoughtfully, it appears as the biggest area of neglect and the major reason why there is a lack of overall improvement in the business. Change is complex and multi-faceted these days, it is more than change agent alone that are essential for transformation. There are perhaps a number of people usually internal to the business appointed by an organization to work with an external/internal Change Manager and act as the "voice of the business," and be the conduit into the business to help with communication, process, and organizational changes.

Changes at any level within an organization (individual, team or organization) or across business ecosystem require intent. In order to ensure a successful initiative and capture the full intent of the “change,” you have to both ponder the big WHY about changes and figure out some significant “WHATs” in building solid change capabilities to adapt to the new normal.


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