Most organizations have a range of internal change consultants, typically found in different departments, such as project management, organization development, change management, quality, process improvement, LEAN and Six Sigma, and IT. These consultants all add value to the change process, but not at the same time and not in the same way. None of them oversees the entire change process from A to Z, so there is an absence of strategic oversight to what all changes need across the organization. Inevitably, value is left on the table.
The journey of organizational change – especially transformation – is anything but a straight line. If you are making changes that are transformational, it is likely things will be unruly, unpredictable, and messy in the process. Because of this uncertainty, the best course of action is to plan your change and future state as best you can, and then establish a mechanism and process to course correct your plans and outcomes as you discover the need to do so. Transformational leadership is not about sticking to the rigid intention of “make the Plan; follow the Plan!”
As CEO, you want answers. And when faced with the uncertainty of business transformation, you want answers fast and you want to trust them. However, when initiating and overseeing transformational change, driving too fast and too hard for answers is not a formula for success. In fact, it can be the very mindset and style that impairs it. Is your mind open to discovering what your organization and people need to succeed? Really open?
How do you define success in your organization’s change efforts? Without giving this question much conscious thought, the change leaders, project managers, or the change consutlants may say “solve the problem.” Or “get the solution implemented.” Or “meet the deadline and budget.” These are all legitimate answers, and common ones. However, when you ask this question of senior leaders at the very beginning of their change initiative, their answers will shed light on how they think about change as well as the process they will support to get their outcomes.
We are happy to announce that we were recently named Qualified Education Providers for Certified Change Management Professionals (CCMP™).
A powerful way to generate momentum and readiness for organizational transformation is to consciously build a critical mass of support for your new directions. Remember the “snowball effect”? It is a great metaphor for this acceleration strategy. Where we typically focus a lot of energy on overcoming the influence of resistors, a critical mass strategy is a way to create employee engagement and move resistors without a lot of attention. Here’s how:
As CEO, you know time is money. Most CEOs want organizational changes to go fast. Unfortunately, rushing things beyond what is reasonable, or needed, will end up costing you….in results, do-overs, and partial solutions that don’t fit the bill. One of our clients bemoaned to us, “We never have time to do it right. We always have time to do it over!” Does this ring true for your organization’s change track record?
Assessing data about change at the beginning of a change initiative, during its execution, and post deployment is standard for most fields supporting change (i.e., change management, project management, continuous improvement, Organization Development, Six Sigma, and Agile).
Many organizational assessments have been developed to help monitor the status of change initiatives and people’s responses to change. Change readiness assessments are common, and you can also assess change impact, Red-Amber-Green Scorecards, change capacity, leadership styles, scope of change, degree of adoption, value of training, change health, and more.
These assessments take a significant amount of time and effort which begs a question: What is the real value they bring to change leaders and to the success of projects? Do they make a difference in how projects are led over time?
Do you have too much change happening in your organization? Is there too little meaningful oversight and capacity to handle it all well? Are your leaders living in their own siloed worlds and failing to consider the broader organizational repercussions of their change projects? Do you wish you had a sane way to get on top of it all and align your leaders to do what is best for the organization as a whole?
Now you have a way: the Enterprise Change Agenda. This is the most important change leadership system and process you can build into your organization at the top. With all the change happening in organizations today the Enterprise Change Agenda gives CEOs a clear and organized mechanism to get their arms around it all and lead it effectively. It is a key strategy for ensuring the organizational alignment of change.
For a new business strategy to be effectively executed, major changes will need to be made to your organization. This may mean implementing multiple strategic initiatives and sub-initiatives. Many CEOs will set these change efforts loose on the organization at the same time, on top of any change efforts already underway. If senior leaders think their Line of Business changes are necessary, they are granted the go-ahead.
Because each is its own separate change effort, they are staffed, budgeted, governed, and monitored as independent projects. The leaders of each effort may run their projects using different change models or competing consulting firms. Autonomy is not a bad thing, but it can trigger significant challenges for the business.
Sponsoring transformational change requires you, as CEO, to understand what makes people tick, both what ignites their passion and commitment and what causes them to resist change. It is also imperative to be strategic about the changes required in your organization’s culture—a key factor that will make your change sustain long term.
As the sponsor of major change, you have a critical change leadership role to play in your change effort – one that cannot be delegated to anyone else. After kicking off your initiative, you must stay involved and contribute senior-level strategic overview of the change process – all the way through to completion. Completion does not mean when you have deployed the change; it means when your stakeholders have fully adopted the change, are operating effectively in the new state, and the organization is realizing the full value of the change. Your involvement speaks loudly for your commitment to see the change through.