Enterprise Change Management w Organizational Agility as Strategy

I recently met Tim Creasey, who facilitated two days worth of advanced change management certification workshops, a change summit and round table discussions for The Minnesota Change Management Kakie Fitzsimmons and Tim Creasey during Prosci Advanced change management workshopNetwork. We had rich discussions about the past, present and future of Enterprise Change Management and Organizational Agility as a strategy.

On the first day, an executive breakfast was held at Target Corporation where Tim broke down change management as a capability into four eras that included pre-1990’s, 1990’s, 2000’s and 2012 and beyond. He then went on to discuss the topic of Organizational Agility as a Strategic Imperative. He presented different definitions of agility, along with the many pillars various enterprises use to build agility in institutions along with the diverse ways they think about what it means to be agile. A huge take away was a shared concept of thinking about agility as a state of being.

One good question that Tim asked was “How many projects in your organizations impact just one area?” Of course, the response from the crowd was laughter and then our small groups led to rich discussions about complexity that encompasses market volatility, increased amounts of information and communication, varying levels of leadership commitment, how are changes triggered, launched and funded, different ways change is governed and whether it is integrated into an organizations governance structure, we talked about ways to find the pockets of support that can exist in organizations, change and project methodologies, maturity and application of change and project management, deciphering and translating how different leaders are interpreting what the same change means for them.

In Enterprise Change Management, we integrate change into projects, programs and across releases, which means there are three very important words to take in context when working to obtain executive buy in.

  1. Context_Gap_between_what_Project_&_Change_Management_DeliverContext – the way we have conversation about change management should be relevant to that person, so when we tell a story it must be in a context that matters to them. This is why it is essential to have the ear and attention of executive sponsors early in the process, because how they are processing what the change means is critical to the way we will work with them. It is easy to say that we focus on the people side of change, but that means different things to a lot of people. Employee engagement? Morale? Training? Communication? While all of those factors may be important to senior leaders, it will mean more when we stay focused on their desired outcomes that demonstrate what we deliver, how we will integrate change to ensure it is sustainable so realization of benefits will add value to the organization. ROI, results, etc. All of this context is important because according to Prosci’s annual benchmarking research on change, the greatest overall contributor to project success is active and visible sponsorship.
  2. Language – How we talk about change and how we tell the story of change management matters, so we need to make it a point to understand the language used in the organization. Many will agree that using too much “change management terminology,” (academic or otherwise), or throwing change curves in front of people results in that look where eyes are suddenly glossed over and we have lost them.
  3. Problems – It is essential to have clarity in understanding the problem they are trying to solve, because if we are there, it isn’t that they don’t have change management. What is their expected return on the initiatives? The killer questions of what the Return on Investment (ROI) % will depend on how change behaviors are adopted by people in ways that will make it sustainable.

Monitoring and measuring people change and organizational change is different, so it is imperative we create sponsor road maps and use them as guides to remind sponsors, steering committees and our change networks how to scan the environment, maintain awareness of who takes action during each project phase. These road maps also will be a coaching to for how to identify, address and correct resistance. They will lay out tools to build individual competencies for Executives, Senior Leaders, Middle Managers and Supervisors as well as Front-Line employees. It is critical to pair that with ensuring consistent messaging, from the right sources at the right time.

Standing in the Future.”

Tim asked to imagine that three years from now we have been identified as the most change competent organizations in our industry. In small groups we wrote and shared short descriptions of what we would see if we walked around in our environments at that time and the descriptions were positioned as “We statements.”

Some of the comments I heard when we shared as a larger group included the following

  1. We have a change management capability in and across organizations
  2. We have change and project management capabilities that are mature and aligned
  3. We value creativity and innovation as part of the change management capability
  4. We have dedicated change resources and change management curricula that leads to career paths
  5. We create our own future and are empowered to make decisions and innovate
  6. We know how to help leaders position the change in ways that get all people impacted by the changes excited because they understand what is in it for them
  7. We partner with sponsors and steering committees as a unified team to drive the change
  8.  We have transparency where people have permission to speak with candor without fear of retribution
  9. We have robust data about feedback to people and performance
  10. We are using common language
  11. We have increased adoption and minimal resistance to change
  12. We celebrate success

It was a great session and a pleasure to meet Tim and his team. We look forward to having him visit again!

Tim Creasey is Chief Innovation Officer at Prosci and the has played a key role in developing extensive research, methodology and capturing best practices as the lead analyst for many of the Prosci benchmarking studies.  Tim is a dynamic international speaker and thought leader on the topic of change management. He is also author of “Change Management: The People Side of Change.”

Do you have additional “We” statements you would add? Please leave any thoughts or comments below and thanks for visiting my blog!

Individual Change Commitment for Increased Adoption

Some days I have a “love-hate” relationship with blogging because it isn’t a clean, cut and dry process. Although I have an idea of what I want to write, it takes time to figure out how to put the words together.

Bird by Bird,” a book about writing by author Anne LaMott, contains a brilliant piece called; “Shitty First Drafts” (SFD) where she explains why the first draft we write is always the worst. It is usually longer than it needs to be, it may not flow well, etc. Towards the end of this excerpt, she states; “Almost all good writing begins with terrible first efforts. You need to start somewhere. Start by getting something — anything — down on paper. A friend of mine says that the first draft is the down draft — you just get it down. The second draft is the up draft — you fix it up.

In her book “Rising Strong,” Brene Brown applied Anne’s concept of SFD to our behaviors, which I believe could be an interesting application in change management resistance. For Brown, an SFD is the first story we make up in our heads before we have all the information needed to be pragmatic about the real story. When we realize we have an SFD, she recommends asking ourselves other questions such as:

  • What do I know objectively?
  • What more do I need to learn and understand about the other people in the story?ADKAR Individual Change Commitment Progress
  • What more do I need to learn and understand about myself?

The concept of an SFD as applied by Brown aligns with how people handle change individually in the workplace. When we are in phase 1: preparing for change, collaborative conversations center around outcomes so we have a clear definition of what successful change will look like for organizations and individuals. During this time, we identify change qualities, assess the organization, integrate change into the project plan, select a change sponsorship model and more.  This post focuses Prosci’s individual change management model, ADKAR® which is an acronym based on the five building blocks for change that include:

  • AWARENESS of the need to change
  • DESIRE to participate in, and support the change
  • KNOWLEDGE of how to change (and what the change looks like)
  • ABILITY to implement the change on a day-to-day basis
  • REINFORCEMENT to keep the change in place

This model is linear and there are tools to assess where people fall in the commitment process. Our goal is to make sure end users have to tools to effectively adopt, embrace and reinforce the change so the behavior is sustained post go-live.

It is important to note that there will be groups and people who will move up the change commitment level at different strides, and in various ways. The right coaching plan roadmaps will be a great tool to guide sponsors and stakeholders so they are mentored differently to ensure message positioning is coming from the right channels and gets everyone excited. Increased adoption occurs when each group understands the current and future state, the business need for the change, how they will be impacted and what is in it for them to incorporate the new behavior(s), etc.

Please share stories, challenges or remedies you have used to deal with resistance to change.

If you would like to remain anonymous, just let me know in your post and I will be sure to honor that. Join the conversation and thanks for visiting my blog!