Action #1

Understand the full magnitude of your change ambition

When initiating any change, it is important to understand the type of change as well as the expected impact of that change in your organisation. Then design a process that addresses these impacts by ensuring that the scope includes technological or organisational initiatives as well as cultural, mindset and behavioural requirements for success – and to provide adequate resources for all of it.

When considering what type of change you are setting out to accomplish, ask yourself:

  • In short, the more transformational your change is, the more you must consider a process design that addresses the uncertainties inherent in this type of change. While developmental and transitional changes can be managed on time and on budget against a predetermined plan, transformational change plans must be continuously adjusted due to the dynamic complexities of the environment, the emergent nature of  the future state and people’s reactions along the way. Classic project management will not be able to sufficiently address this type of change. Trust us – one thing is certain, your plans will change!
  • Does the future state require change in culture, behaviour and mindset of your organisation and employees? If the answer is yes, you are looking into a transformational change, and your process must address these components as well as manage or rather navigate the constantly emerging issues that come with this type of change.

Understanding the nature of your change is one thing, the next critical component is to understand the full impact of the change you are setting out to accomplish. Many approach transformational change by focusing on the content of the change and designing a classic project management approach. Others will add some “people” activities during implementation to get employees “on board”. Successful change leadership calls for designing a process that truly integrates people and content from the start. In order to do this, you must understand the breadth and depth of the impact of your change in the organisation, so that you can attend to these issues from the start. In other words, “onboarding” should start in the planning phases. Perform an impact analysis in the early planning stages of any change effort. Then design your process to address these impacts from the start. You will also find that your impact analysis must be repeated later on – as the details of the change become more clear, new impacts may appear and old assumed impacts may obtain a less prevalent status. A comprehensive impact analysis will cover all impacts, for example:

  • Organisation (design, structure, roles, responsibilities or tasks
  • Physical or geographic set-up
  • Policies , rules, processes, procedures, instructions, etc.
  • Certifications and governing bodies
  • IT systems, integration and accessibility, customers, suppliers or other external stakeholders
  • Subsidiaries, parent companies , owners or unions
  • Culture, behaviours and mindset of leaders and/or employees
  • Other initiatives

Once you understand the type of change and impacts, then you are ready to consciously design your process. When doing so, remember to ensure relevance and meaning, and manage the human dynamics of change.