Are You Ready to Change?

Posted by Leadent Solutions on February 20, 2013

Perhaps the largest barrier to change in any organisation is the perception that change is difficult to implement and sustain. Whilst this will be true for some projects, evident in their approach, for others, it’s all down to preparation and assessing the appetite for change within an organisation. In this economic climate, organisations are becoming more open to new ways of working and new ways of improving performance. One key part of this process is change readiness. Any organisation considering a far-reaching change management programme, such as business transformation or the introduction of new technology, needs to ask itself the following questions;

  • How can you communicate the purpose of the programme to the business? In many organisations, sending out blanket emails or lengthy articles wrapped up in an update document, just don’t work nowadays. With the advent of social media and an ever increasing mobile workforce, communication methods need to satisfy the needs of all staff affected by the change. Incorporating a change readiness assessment into the communications plan is a must as this will ensure the assessment is given the attention it deserves.
  • Are you capable of delivering the training in-house? Training and learning must be a fundamental part of your investment. This must be linked to showing a return on investment via the value the change will bring. This may be difficult if the project is linked to new technology and systems. Assess the need for expertise in this field and engage early in the process.
  • How will you deal with the behavioural change required by the project? This is difficult and is often overlooked. Link the expected behaviours with the required project outcomes. If the project impacts on leaders, then how do you expect that leader to behave in the future and what impact will this have on the individual? Leaders need to be on the same page in line with change programme expectations.
  • Can you sell the message that change is for the better rather for change’s sake? Make sure that when assessing your organisation’s change readiness this is at the forefront of the process and analytical work. It will be crucial when engaging the business, especially if you’re finding it difficult to see the wood for the trees.
  • How can you make best use of your budget? At no other point in history has there been so much scrutiny on spending money in an efficient manner. Make sure you make the link between changing the mind-set of the organisation and the expected increase in performance and productivity. This should be a fundamental part of the change readiness assessment.

Our approach to change readiness is broken down into sizeable chunks. Each of the seven elements asks some fundamental questions ahead of the required change and measures how prepared you are for a change project/programme. Once the details are gathered, clear mitigation strategies should be developed to act on change readiness outputs. Our methodology ensures that all stakeholders understand what is involved in the change project/programme and what is expected of them.

  • Compelling Case – are you satisfied of the need for a change initiative? Are you comfortable that the case for progression is clear?
  • Clear Strategy – how does the change initiative fit into the business strategy? Make the link clear and unambiguous
  • Defined Plan – How will the initiative actually be delivered, who knows about this?
  • Available Resources – Lack of available resources is common, but be clear where these will come from and secure their commitment
  • Skills & Capabilities – are you comfortable you have the right resources with the correct skills, capabilities and knowledge to deliver the initiative?
  • Readiness to Act – How is the organisation set up in terms of preparedness for the change initiative? What is the appetite to follow through on outcomes?
  • KPIs – one of the most important elements of any change initiative. How will you know you have been successful and are you communicating in an effective manner?

Much of this sounds like common sense, but putting it into practice is often another matter!