When it comes to organizational change, most people focus on change management, and there are even a couple of professional associations organized around the practice of change management, including the Association of Change Management Professionals (ACMP).
But change management is only one of the Five Keys to Successful Change:
Leave one out and eventually your change effort, no matter how big or small, will eventually fail. If you’re setting out to change the world, even a small corner of it, then you’ll want to be sure to consider each of the five keys and make sure that you proceed in a measured way that takes each into account.
Let’s look at each briefly in turn before we look at each area in more detail in future posts, and eventually in my new book in February 2016.
The Five Keys to Successful Change
- Change Planning: Change Planning is the first key to successful organizational change, and it focuses on drawing out the key issues of the necessary change and puts some structure and timeline around them. You will find you have a better experience and a more successful outcome if you use a more visual, collaborative method with something like the Change Planning Toolkit™ that I will be releasing soon to help you create the necessary change plans, goals, metrics, etc.
- Change Leadership: Change Leadership is the second key to successful organizational change, and it is important because good change leadership provides the sponsorship, support, and oversight necessary for the change activities to receive the visibility, care, and attention they need to overcome inertia and maintain momentum throughout the process of transformation.
- Change Management: Change Management represents the third key to successful organizational change, and it is probably the one most people think of when they think about organizational change because it focuses on managing the change activities necessary to achieve the change objectives. The term itself has some challenges however, as the term also refers to the management of code changes during the software development process, and its relationship with project management is confused. We will dig more into the relationship between project management and change management in a future article.
- Change Maintenance: Change Maintenance represents the fourth and probably most neglected key to successful organizational change. Many change leaders lose interest after the major launch milestones are achieved, and this is a real risk to sustained success of the change effort. The change maintenance phase is when you measure the outcomes of the planned change activities, reinforce the change to make sure the change effort has met the change objectives, and ensure that the behavior change becomes a permanent one. Neglect this phase and people often slip back into their old, well-worn patterns of behavior.
- Change Portfolio Management: Every organization will have a broad collection of larger change efforts (digital transformation, merger integration, layoffs, etc.) and smaller change efforts (including all projects) underway or in the planning or maintenance stages at all times. This portfolio of change efforts must be managed, and Change Portfolio Management represents the necessary activities for balancing all of the resource needs of this variety of change efforts.
This is the first step in the Change Planning Toolkit™ approach to organizational change that you can use to help change the world in the series of Big C and Little C change efforts that you may lead throughout your life. Big C change efforts are what most people think of as change initiatives (mergers and acquisitions, layoffs, transformations, etc.) while Little C change efforts are any project that you might undertake (after all, every project changes something).
If we want to do better than the 70% failure rate that change practitioners face in their work, we must look beyond change management or change leadership, and instead think more holistically about change and consider all Five Keys to Successful Change.
I hope you have found the article and the framework a useful first building block as we work together to build a strong foundation for successful organizational change. To be alerted when the Change Planning Toolkit™ becomes available, please be sure to join the mailing list. Also, click to access this framework as a scalable 11″ x 17″ PDF download and stay tuned for the next article in this series!
Effectively communicating the need or reason to change is an important skill and a big factor in innovation velocity. See Change Agents: Know Thy Audience.