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!

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Top 15 Astounding Quotes on Change Management

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This week over at The Daily Post’s Weekly Photo Challenge, Michelle Weber asks us to: “let the alphabet be your inspiration.” I took this picture at the James J. Hill Business Library, in Downtown St. Paul. I love the charm historical intrigue that is felt as soon as I walk in the door. The architecture is astonishing and I love doing research within its walls.

The alphabet inspires us in writing, words, books and more. Below is a list of 15 quotes about change management that I like and believe would be great for any presentation.

It is not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive but those who can best manage change.” – Charles Darwin

Proactive change is a function of a gap between managerial intent and the reality they see now or in the future.” –  Michael Beer

You can’t build an adaptable organization without adaptable people – and individuals change only when they have to, or when they want to.” -Gary Hamel

Throughout human history, people have developed strong loyalties to traditions, rituals, and symbols. In the most effective organizations, they are not only respected but celebrated. It is no coincidence that the most highly admired corporations are also among the most profitable.”  – Rosabeth Moss Kanter

Change in any part of a system impacts all elements of that system: Products, Processes and most importantly People. The impact of each of these elements must be considered before a change initiative is engaged and then continually during the change management process.”  – Malati Marlene Sinazy, MEd (1)

Without change there is no innovation, creativity or incentive for improvement. Those who initiate change will have a better opportunity to manage the change that is inevitable.” –William Pollard

The ability to anticipate, manage and capitalize on pervasive change is often the difference between market leadership and extinction.”  – Hillary Bland IBM

Culture does not change because we desire to change it. Culture changes when the organization is transformed – the culture reflects the realities of people working together every day.” – Frances Hesselbein

To bring about successful change, it’s important to understand the key drivers for the target audience affected by the change so you can design appropriate interventions and ensure the change works for most of those affected.” – Dave Webber (Source: Bob Little, MindTools )

Successful change leadership teams build a clear plan that can be easily shared in order to start creating movement, in order to overcome the inertia of the organization, and then they focus on building and sustaining the momentum necessary to realize the desired transformation, whether that is a “BIG C” change or a “little c” change.”  – Braden Kelley (1)

Your success in life isn’t based on your ability to simply change. It is based on your ability to change faster than your competition, customers, and business.” -Mark Sanborn

We now accept the fact that learning is a lifelong process of keeping abreast of change.  And the most pressing task is to teach people how to learn.” – Peter Drucker

Acceptance is not a state of passivity or inaction. I am not saying you can’t change the world, right wrongs, or replace evil with good. Acceptance is, in fact, the first step to successful action. If you don’t fully accept a situation precisely the way it is, you will have difficulty changing it. Further, if you don’t fully accept the situation, you will never really know if the situation should be changed.” –  Peter McWilliams

“Change has a considerable psychological impact on the human mind. To the fearful it is threatening because it means that things may get worse. To the hopeful it is encouraging because things may get better. To the confident it is inspiring because the challenge exists to make things better.”  – King Whitney Jr.

It follows that acceleration in the rate of change will result in an increasing need for reorganization. Reorganization is usually feared, because it means disturbance of the status quo, a potential threat to peoples vested interests in their jobs, and an upset to established ways of doing things. For these reasons, needed reorganization is often deferred. With a resulting loss in effectiveness and increase in costs.” – Niccolo Machiavelli

Do you have additional quotes to add? Please join the conversation by sharing them below, I look forward to hearing from you, thanks for visiting my blog!

(1) Source: Peter Orban OrgMapper Blog