Organizations everywhere are experiencing more change than ever, which is highlighting the need to build lasting change capability. Why? Because those who can weather more and complex change at a faster pace have a competitive advantage in our uncertain marketplace. Regardless of how small and complex or large and disruptive the changes being introduced, understanding the time and effort required to bring changes to fruition highlights the importance of being change-capable as an organization.
Let’s consider two changes being introduced to an organization:
So, we have two different changes being rolled out at the same time into the same environment. Introducing these changes successfully requires you, as a change practitioner, to weave and tailor specific activities into the delivery plans.
For change #1, you would:
And for change #2:
These are basic examples. The effort required for activities you will need to undertake for your specific project or initiative becomes clear once you conduct the impact assessments and analysis.
To help your organization become “ready, willing and able” to adopt changes, your people managers and executives must fulfill their unique and specific roles. This includes leading, coaching and supporting employees through the transition. And, of course, the individuals in each of these roles must be ready to adopt the changes themselves.
The effort required by these employee-facing roles is every bit as substantial as the effort required of those in change-enabling roles, such as change practitioners on the people side of change and the project managers on the technical side.
To illustrate, consider the people managers of the employees impacted by Change #1. These people managers must fulfill the five key roles of CLARC. Because this change is more disruptive in nature, their effort is more time-consuming and involved:
This all takes place as the project manager works with the change practitioner to implement the collaboration tool by ensuring all employees are engaged and supported (enabled by Change Management) and informed (enabled by Project Management) throughout the rollout.
At the same time, the people managers must fulfill the roles of CLARC for Change #2, the less disruptive change:
Meanwhile, the change practitioner supports the people-facing managers and supervisors to ensure that all identified impacted employees who will be using the expense management system are engaged.
It’s important to note here that, as the changes progress, change practitioners also work with executive sponsors to support their efforts to execute their unique responsibilities. We call these responsibilities the ABC’s of Sponsorship: Actively and visibly participate in the change, Build a coalition of sponsorship, and Communicate support and promote the change.
Need to help your sponsor understand the specific activities required for each audience and project phase in a change? Download our Sponsor Start-Up Checklist.
Remember, change practitioners are change enablers who orchestrate change from behind the scenes. When it comes to managing change, the change practitioner’s role is to enable people managers and executive sponsors, who execute their specific roles and responsibilities to lead people on the front lines through change.
What does this mean in terms of time and effort? The more change capable your people-facing roles are in executing their own responsibilities, the more change practitioners can leverage their specific skills to advance the change. The less capable their people-facing roles are, the more effort the change enablers must exert to upskill them during the change—while also executing their other responsibilities.
Overall, lower change capability in your organization means more time and effort will be diverted from change practitioners and project teams during a change.
Applying a holistic approach to building long-lasting change capability includes leveraging a structured approach and toolset across the organization, and building change competency in executives, leaders and front-line employees. The investment is worthwhile. Our research shows that projects with excellent change management are 93% more likely to meet or exceed objectives.
Other benefits include:
If you invest in building change capability in your organization, employees will embrace changes more quickly—regardless of how complex, how many, how large and how disruptive they are. The greater the skills and capability of people-facing roles, the less effort required from a delivery perspective. Over time, your organization can lower costs because you rely progressively less on external trainers and consultants. Eventually, you can make change a competitive advantage for your organization.
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Joanne Rinaldi is a Master Instructor and Director of Service Delivery for the Prosci Australia-New Zealand team. A seasoned program facilitator, she also serves as a change advisor and leadership coach for clients who want to build organizational change capability. Joanne brings more than 20 years of experience with the people side of change to her work with organizations in several industries, including IT, insurance, healthcare, retail and government.
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