Are you and your organization ready for change?
Too often organizations define the change effort they want to pursue without first identifying whether there are people, resources, legislation, etc. present that must be in place before the change effort can begin. We will explore the circumstances you may want to explore before beginning any change effort and the areas to explore as potential prerequisites to the change program and its eventual success.
During the course of any change initiative, many different challenges will appear, and the most successful change efforts will anticipate those challenges and have a plan for dealing with them. Part of that anticipation begins with identifying how ready the organization is for change and understanding what some of the top challenges are.
In a 2008 global CEO study conducted by IBM on the enterprise of the future, IBM identified the top challenges to successfully implementing strategic change as:
- Changing mindsets and attitudes (58%)
- Corporate culture (49%)
- Underestimation of complexity (35%)
- Shortage of resources (33%)
- Lack of higher management commitment (32%)
- Lack of change know-how (20%)
- Lack of motivation of involved employees (16%)
You will notice that many of the items on this list are more about the people factors of change rather than the process or technology factors of change. The weight of the human dimensions of change is reflected in my PCC Change Readiness Framework™. This framework focuses on the psychology of key groups surrounding the identified change, the capabilities needed to successfully execute the change, and the organization’s capacity to tackle this change effort (along with everything else).
You will notice that I don’t speak about organizational psychology or culture in my PCC Change Readiness Framework™. The reason I don’t highlight culture in the same way that many other people do is that in today’s more social, customer-centric business, we must look more broadly than the typical inward focus of company culture when it comes to identifying the readiness of not only employees, but leaders, customers, and partners too. Inevitably, many of our change efforts will have some impact on one or more external groups (possibly even non-profit entities and one or more governments).
You will notice that within the PSYCHOLOGY box there is a common focus on the mindsets, attitudes, beliefs, and expectations of the individuals. Culture is incorporated into the psychology realm by focusing on what the shared understandings are around the potential change, but more broadly too. And, finally you will notice that my PCC Change Readiness Framework™ highlights the need for successful change efforts to move towards gaining commitment to the change from leadership, acceptance of the change by employees, and a desire for the change from customers and partners.
Within the CAPABILITY box of my PCC Change Readiness Framework™ we must investigate whether our change effort has any regulatory or statutory implications and whether we are ready to adapt, adopt, or influence the changes necessary in this sphere. We must also ask ourselves a series of questions:
- “Do we need to get permission from anyone to do this?”
- “What knowledge, skills, and abilities needed for this change do we already possess?”
- “What knowledge, skills, and abilities needed for this change do we need to acquire?”
- “What relationships do we possess that will be useful in advancing the change?”
- “What relationships do we need to build to help advance the change?”
- “What are the enablers of making this change successful?”
Within the CAPACITY box we have to look at where our resources are approaching, or have already achieved, change saturation. This means they are unable to productively participate in any more change efforts or adopt any more change. But we also have to look at the availability of our resources:
- Executive sponsors
- Space in our desired communication channels
It is easy to take for granted that the organization will have the capacity to undertake your change effort, but often there are capacity constraints that you will run into, especially as the pace and volume of change increases inside an organization. The one that is easiest to overlook and fail to plan for is making sure that you’re going to be able to communicate your change messages in your desired messaging channels (they may already be full).
In my upcoming collaborative, visual Change Planning Toolkit™ you will find the companion tools for the PCC Change Readiness Framework™, two large-format change readiness worksheets to download for printing that will help you collaboratively explore all of these topics and more.
Finally, when you consider all of the potential stumbling blocks in advance of the change that we highlighted above, evaluate your readiness in each area, and make a plan for closing any gaps (before you even begin your change effort), you will greatly increase the chances of its success.
P.S. In case you missed it, click to read Change the World: Step One.
For more insight on determining whether your business has what it takes to make a change, see Simplifying Your Business: Are Your Leaders Equipped?