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Winning Change Management Delivers

Blog: Jim Sinur

It matters not what kind of situation organizations find themselves in; change is always present. Change often implies an organizational and individual risk that creates angst. These facts alone should drive organizations to be great at change, but unfortunately, they generally are not. In today’s world, it seems like stability is even more elusive, with change and potential change hovering around every corner. Therefore, it puts a premium, making change management a core business capability. What should organizations do to improve the change process to survive, thrive, and capitalize on change? There are three things that I would point to that are enumerated below:

Continuous Alignment on Goals:

Change is no longer a project with a defined start and end. Instead, it is continuous and accelerating. Because of the agility needed in the world today, there is a significant need to keep teams focused on their goals and any change or refinement of those goals. It means that the goals become a first-class visibility object in the change process. Because alignment is crucial because the change cycle will likely be split into many pieces, all progressing while changing the interactions of several advancing teams. There are two key enablers to making this happen. One is a shared repository of goals and all the supporting content for all to see. The other is a strong collaboration and communication capability to keep everyone abreast of progress when goals are stable and changes if the goals shift.

Focus on Watching the Change:

In an emergent world, change management must provide Just-in-time feedback to all recipients in a synchronized fashion, so all can act on it appropriately. Change sponsors often only look at the emergent change’s operational and tactical results. It is a significant miscalculation. Sponsors need to be laser-focused on the actual change process itself. This way, the results will align with expectations, but more importantly, drift can be detected early to adjust during the change process. The sponsors will lead the way to the teams keeping a sharp eye on the progress of the change management process.

Upscale Team Change Skills:

Because of the increased frequency of the multitude of sources of and impact of today’s change, organizations had better make change management a core competency. In some instances, this will become a survival skill, whereas, in other circumstances, it will be a necessary part of a game plan to win. As we all know, people are the key to change, and they have an emotional tie to the changes. While they might like the vision, some folks fear the change. Here, empathy is crucial in keeping leaders and team members on an even keel. In addition, clear visibility and effective communication are necessary without all the overhead of meetings.

Net; Net:

Change management is crucial for organizations to succeed and drive outcomes. It is common knowledge that study after study points to a 70% change failure rate. On the horizon, all organizations are seeing more change coming. We are at a critical juncture to “Get Great at Change” or else. The convergence of more change than ever and being poor at it paints a grim picture. Change management has risen to the top processes to get great at. You can’t just hire a consultant that works with your executives and declare change; you must get much better at the change management process to make changes effective. It should become a core competency.

Additional Readings:

There is one organization that gets it and helps you grow competency in change management that doesn’t take a vacuum cleaner to your pocketbook. Here is a pointer to some of their writings

Change Itself is Changing
Don’t Stop Believing in Change
Big Change is Enabled by Cared For People

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