Organisations can create competitive advantage by being better equipped to manage change themselves. Becoming great at change management does not happen by chance. It takes an intentional and concerted effort to build change management competencies and practices across the organisation. Given the ever-changing world we live in and the increasing velocity of change, no other capability will be more important going forward.
Change management enables the pursuit of strategic goals and serves as the glue to all initiatives ensuring that the organisation is strategically positioned for success. Institutionalising change management practices, processes, capabilities and competencies can increase the overall return on investment of an organisation’s portfolio of change initiative. It is a strategic competency that supports strategy execution, and increases the organisations capacity and responsiveness to change.
Institutionalising change management requires a shift in mindset, strategy and planning. Several organisations are moving away from a project-by-project perspective of change towards building organisational capabilities and competencies and standardising how change is implemented and managed. This requires structure and intent. We call this Enterprise Change Management where change management becomes part of the DNA and fabric of the organisation. When such a deployment is successful, managing the people side of change becomes the norm, and processes and practices and tools for managing change are consistently applied and embedded in the organisation.
There are several reasons why an organisation should embark on building enterprise change management:
- Organisation Agility – the pace of change in the business environment is not going to decrease, the volatility in the environment is an indication of how rapidly things are going to continue to change, and along with it consumer expectations. An enterprise approach to change management, presents a significant opportunity for organisations to increase their capacity, responsiveness and agility. Preparing for the future is a focus organisations cannot afford to ignore.
- Organisational values – organisations deem people as their most important asset. People bring change to life by the extent they buy-into, embrace, and adopt organisational shifts. Change management as an embedded practice ensures that when changes are rolled out, they are people-centred. People are supported, equipped and prepared to make the necessary shifts in behaviour or ways of working needed to move the organisation forward.
- Leadership competency – Change management is not the remit of change managers only. It requires the concerted effort of all roles in the organisation from Executive Leadership, People Managers and staff. Developing the competency to lead change positions change leaders for better success and creates the necessary environment for change to work, enabling a change ready organisation.
- Standardisation –An institutional approach to managing change ensures there’s a consistent organisation wide standard approach to implementing, leading and managing change. Benchmarking research has shown that organisations high in change maturity, who deploy standard methods across the organisation and have a common language of change report higher project success and delivery of outcomes. Organisations that follow ad hoc practices in implementing change are more likely to experience lower return on their change initiatives as people may not make the necessary shift needed to deliver the results required.
- Organisational culture – Institutionalising change management enables a common language and understanding for change across the organisation. It enables alignment and clarity on how change will be deployed and becomes part of business practice.
- Benefits realisation –Leaders are accountable for delivering results and attaining strategic outcomes. Changes that do not realise return on investments, or deliver the intended business improvements are not something that is tolerated by stakeholders such as shareholders. An enterprise wide approach to managing change ensures that there are concrete steps to drive adoption of the changes, and the right structure and intent around the change is deployed.
Building Enterprise Change Management in Kenya and East Africa, in general, is a multi-year journey. It requires beginning with the end in mind (Stephen Covey), having a clear picture and vision of how the organisation will look and what would have been achieved. Visualising the future and the desired end result provides clarity, focus and purpose to the journey. It will help to socialise and align staff and leaders to the end result.
An Enterprise Change journey requires strong leadership for direction governance to set the right vision for this process. Leadership is required to galvanise the needed support and to ensure that embedding change as a core competency is viewed as a strategic business priority.
Change management is about mobilising individuals quickly to deliver business results. The teams that will out change their competition will leverage change leadership, and agility as key competitive advantages.
Written By Nyawera Kibuka
Free eBook: 6 Tactics for Growing Enterprise Change Capability
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