Change-Adept Organizations: Your Change Management Methodology's Role
Can a change management methodology be the single solution to creating a change-adept organization? You might be surprised to learn that we would say no!
Organizations that are looking to survive and even thrive in a volatile economic environment recognize that being “change-adept” is more critical than ever. We all know that there is virtually an epidemic of change in organizations today. At the same time, there is not enough attention being paid to how to actually implement all those changes. Practically speaking, we need to clarify how to get from “here to there.” And it requires multiple capabilities, "including but not limited to" a change management methodology!
As a first step, it’s helpful to identify four distinct organization capabilities that are requirements for a change-adept organization. Combined together, these capabilities:
- provide the skill and structure required to identify problems and improvement opportunities
- technically implement solutions in a cost-effective and efficient
- manage all aspects of the implementation including the human and cultural elements
- provide the organizational support needed for implementation success
Capability 1: Provide Statistical Analyses for Problem Identification
Application of problem-solving processes like Lean Sigma are extremely useful in identifying improvement opportunities and providing a common language and approach. While this capability is extremely useful, it is not a silver bullet for driving innovation and continuous improvement into the organization. It does, however, provide a data-based approach that can help prioritize and focus on those areas that will deliver greater efficiencies and improved productivity.
What these statistical analyses approaches lack is the discipline and rigor around the implementation of the solution. That's the benefit of overlaying the AIM (Accelerating Implementation Methodology) change management methodology on top of Lean Six Sigma.
Capability 2: Apply Project Management Discipline
The first capability that a change-adept organization needs is an explicit project management methodology, supported by a skilled-cadre of project and program managers. Project management discipline enables the organization to ensure there is a plan that will manage resources, identify risks, control costs, and increase the likelihood that the project is completed on time. Change-adept organizations are also implementing enterprise-wide teams that have a broad view of how best to prioritize work efforts across multiple initiatives.
Along these same lines, change-adept organizations also need a view of the portfolio of change. Many of the organizations we see really don't know where all their resources are going and decisions about what projects to take on are not being made in a strategic way. A change-adept organization has the governance and structure in place to manage change at the system and local levels.
Capability 3: Build AIM Expertise to Manage the Human and Cultural Change Elements
By definition, a change-adept organization must be able to implement quickly. Organizations that see the business value in becoming change-adept will benefit greatly from a systemic and systematic structured implementation framework exemplified by the AIM change management methodology. Absent a common framework for managing the human and cultural elements of strategic initiatives, organizations are far more likely to take too long, spend too much, and increase the likelihood that desired changes are not sustained over time.
Capability 4: Have a Network of Internal Consultants with Credibility and Influence
The change-adept organization must have a network of individuals with the competence and credibility to support implementation at the local level. It is critically important that you select these individuals based on a set of specific traits and characteristics (see IMA’s Change Agent Assessment tool for guidance.) These individuals must also be located in the right places and in sufficient numbers to support the organizational changes, and have credibility with both leaders and targets.
These four capabilities are the cornerstones for building a change-adept organization. Each is critically important, but alone is insufficient. Combined together, supported by the right kind of active Sponsorship, these capabilities can help your organization drive competitive advantage, shareholder value, and long-term success.