One of the fundamental challenges facing leaders today is how to regularly transform the business through major change initiatives, with minimum disruption. Change is changing: it is becoming more frequent, radical and complex. Research suggests that 70% of projects fail to secure their anticipated benefits because organizations install new systems, processes or practices, but fail to implement the change fully—people are not sufficiently personally committed to the new ways of working to sustain them.
Developing the internal capability for Change Management is an essential step in assuring the successful implementation of any change project. It is also a factor that will enable the organization to continue to optimize its performance in response to changing service demands and new strategic drivers.
To develop the internal process management capability organizations should:
- Define the roles in Change Management, and where possible, involve the future change managers in the analysis and re-design
- Establish and implement a “skills transfer” work stream, to develop internal change management skills
- Establish measures for change and set out the management, monitoring and analysis steps for ongoing change management
- Establish owners for change with responsibility for that area of change from end-to-end and resolve any problems of multiple ownership or lack of ownership
- Identify the appropriate control activity to prevent change areas reverting to their “old ways”, and continue to feed the conclusions into the implementation planning
Leaders must be able to transform their organizations regularly to deliver long-term competitive advantage, in an environment where organizational change is becoming more frequent, complex and risky. Failure rates are high because organizations install new systems, processes or practices, but fail to implement the change fully – people are not sufficiently committed to the new ways of working. In this article the author reveals that to overcome these challenges and build a sustainable change capability the knowledge, skills and processes must be developed by people inside the organization. Only when organizations learn new ways to implement change initiatives will they sustain them long enough to realize the benefits.
The sheer complexity of organizational change requires a more disciplined, informed, competent and structured approach, underpinned by a highly committed, visible and determined leadership. Quick fixes, while tempting, don’t deliver sustained change. A deeper, systematic, consistent and integrated approach is required now—which needs to become a core competency of successful organizations.
“Change is ultimately all about people if they don’t change nothing significant changes. But making the transition letting go of the old and reaching out for the new happens one person at a time. You can’t just flick a switch.”
To overcome these challenges and build a sustainable change capability, the knowledge, skills and processes must be developed by people inside the organization with reduced dependency on external consultants. It is important to identify prevalent risk factors which can be mapped to six critical success factors that must be in place for successful, lasting change implementation.
These factors must be translated into a robust, but flexible process methodology which covers the key areas of implementation practice that change leaders need to excel at, in order to develop the critical mass of commitment and personal ownership required to succeed.