How do you generate the most questions EVER in response to a Prosci Webinar? The answer: invite a client to tell the story of how they successfully built an organizational change capability.
On November 16th, I had the opportunity to deliver a webinar with Jacqueline Cabrera, Organizational Readiness Leader, from Florida Power & Light (FPL) called “Case Study in Building Change Capability.” In the webinar, I opened by introducing a definition for ‘change capability’ as “building a core competency to transform how change happens in your organization” – not ‘why’ change happens or ‘what’ changes to introduce, but ‘how’ you manage change.
With this definition as a backdrop, we explored four key findings from Prosci’s Best Practices in Change Management (2016) study related to change capability:
1. Secure Adequate and Effective Sponsorship
In all nine of Prosci’s change management benchmarking studies, extending back to 1998, active and visible executive sponsorship has remained the greatest overall contributor to success. Why would this contributor to success be any different if the change happens to be building change capability?
Webinar participants were asked to connect building an organizational change capability to the strategic and financial success of their organization. In other words, speak the language that executives care about, including generating financial return in times of change and moving the organization in the direction they want to go. Some of the responses included:
- Return on investment
- Employee engagement
- Mission and values
- Benefit realization
- Safety culture
- Project results
- Regulatory compliance
- Business sustainability
- Innovation and continuous improvement
- Client loyalty
- Organizational agility
2. Treat Change Management Capability as a Project and a Change
Treating a change management capability build like a project and a change means being structured and intentional in your approach. You will need to:
- Understand where you are today
- Create a vision of where you want to go
- Design a solution
- Write a charter, business case and project plan
- Apply change management to get others to do change management
3. Define the Future State of the Organization
Defining the future state of the organization provides direction and a way to evaluate your progress. It also creates stability when the excitement around change management ebbs and flows. We use “we” statements to capture the intent of building a change management capability. Below are examples of the “we” statements at each level.
- Enterprise change capability - We consistently meet and exceed expectations in change. We share a common language for change.
- Project change capability - We appropriately budget for and resource change management on all projects. We have change management present at the start of every project.
- Individual change capability - We all see “leading change” as part of our job. We have the skills to do it and we are measured on how well we do it.
4. Use a Multi-Faceted Approach
This is where things got REALLY good! I transitioned the webinar to Jackie to provide an overview of the work they have done at FPL to build their organizational change capability. Here are some of the insights she shared:
Florida Power & Light is the third largest electric utility in the United States, serving more than 4.8 million customer accounts or more than 10 million people across nearly half of the state of Florida. The challenge they set out to address after deploying a very successful smart grid project in 2008 was to think bigger than just this major change. They decided to develop a standard approach to change management and leverage early change management wins as a catalyst for building enterprise-wide engagement in change outcomes through best practices. Their solution included:
- Selecting a scalable, right-fit methodology
- Training a core team and building awareness with key leaders
- Licensing Prosci content, tools and training
- Training internal instructors to disseminate and spread the approach
FPL chose to partner with Prosci as a result of change management best practice research; model, process and tool development; knowledge transfer; and a focus on competency building. Jackie then discussed five application highlights:
- Starting with sponsorship
- Dedicating resources to create a change management team
- Tailoring competency-building
- Fostering organic pull
- Leveraging a change network
Details on each of these and the results and next steps are all available in the FPL client success story. As you can imagine, webinar participants were eager to ask Jackie questions related to sponsorship, training, funding, team resources, measurement, alignment with project management, timing, details of their change journey, and so many more. Our Q&A time could have spanned another hour with the amount of interest and engagement by webinar participants!
I then closed the webinar by putting ‘change capability’ into context of organizational agility. As a result of extensive literature study, research analysis, and client engagement, Prosci created a list of 10 attributes of agile organizations. “We have an embedded change management capability” is one of the 10 attributes – there’s another ‘we’ statement! We surveyed 250 Prosci webinar participants earlier this year and only 29% said they agree or strongly agree with that statement.
“In today's environment, change agility is no longer a luxury, but a necessity.
-Tim Creasey, Chief Innovation Officer, Prosci
There’s so much opportunity here! The bottom line is: change agile organizations are the ones that will be most equipped to respond to what lies ahead.
It takes structure and intent to build organizational change capability. Florida Power & Light is working hard at it and producing great results. In 2016, FPL employee engagement scored 82% - up 24% in the last 2 years, an improvement attributed significantly to the work they are doing by a vibrant and engaged change management team and exemplary executive sponsorship.
Sound interesting? I recommend you grab a cup of coffee (or tea or water) and take just over an hour to listen to the webinar. I hope you feel inspired, and challenged, and mostly hopeful about building change capability in your organization.