Organisational change is often triggered by the opportunities or challenges a business wants to address. These lead to technical changes that may revolve around changes to the organisation structure, new technologies, revised business processes, or culture.
With the volatility and complexity of the times we are in, change is no longer static but a daily reality and organisations must continually become more agile and progressive to meet changing consumer demands.
For a change initiative to succeed, individuals must adapt to new ways of working and behaving, a process that requires intentional action, a clear strategy, and a roadmap to bring to fruition. There are several considerations to having an organisational change process that breeds success.
Defining and Owning the Big Picture
Begin with the end in mind, as author Stephen Covey enunciates in his book, Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. Leaders of change must have a clearly articulated definition of success that is understood by all. The benefits of implementing the change to the organisation with a clear accountability matrix are paramount to change success.
Also Read: Technology Change Initiatives- Making it work
When changes start without a clear definition of what success looks like; how it will be measured and monitored and who is responsible and accountable for delivering the results and outcomes, then the change process becomes ambiguous. Eventually, the journey unclear, and fails to bring the needed alignment across the organisation.
Leadership/Sponsorship in Organisational Change
For change to be effective, it must be led and championed at the leadership level. Research has shown that leadership is the number one contributor to change success or failure. The latest best practice research report from Prosci® showed that 73% of projects that met and exceeded expectations had effective executive sponsors. These were sponsors that remained active and visible throughout the change process and intentionally engaged their people.
A change initiative that is not adequately sponsored will struggle to garner the necessary buy-in and support. During times of change, leaders must repeatedly communicate the vision for the change, lead from the front, advocate and own the change process. Sponsorship of organisational change, therefore, remains critical to its success.
Role of Culture in Organisational Change Management
Just like the wind, an organisation’s culture is more felt than seen. Change Practitioners must be alive to the role organisational culture plays in the implementation and adoption of changes. Culture determines how individuals engage, communicate, relate with leadership and line managers, and the values that are espoused.
Leaders, therefore, play a critical role in shaping the culture and ensuring that the organisation’s culture enables delivery of strategy. With the current velocity of change cultivating an agile culture, driving this competency within teams will be critical to adapting and responding to future market shifts.
Change Management Methodologies Work
Training and Communication have been the default change management tools to facilitate change. While important, the change management processes go beyond that.
A structured process and approach to managing both the people side and the process side of the change are essential in aiding the success of the change initiative. A one-size-fits-all approach cannot be used when leading and managing change, so the approach used must be customised, flexible and adaptable.
Also Read: Value-Driven Technology Changes
Having a structured approach to managing change enables the organisation to avoid common pitfalls of poor engagement that result in project delays, budget overruns, and resistance.
A Change Management Office
The latest Prosci® Best Practice Report indicates that having capacity internally, whether Practitioner, Consultant, or a holistic team can improve the success and return of a change initiative.
Globally several organisations have created functional groups responsible for managing the portfolio of change across the organisation. This group or department is tasked with managing the deployment of change management across initiatives. It is a growing trend and likely to be a key priority for several organisations in an effort to increase agility and improve the delivery of business results.
The next instalment will provide more insights on Change Management Offices and their function.
Interested in the upcoming Prosci® Change Management Training Programs? Click here to learn more.
Cedar Africa Group is Prosci ®’s primary partner in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, and Rwanda.