A program director from a global industry leader made this somewhat startling admission in a recent call with IMA President Don Harrison: at least 80% of their change projects fail to fully achieve value realization. This really got us thinking about the challenge for Change Agents, and not just at this organization. Where do you start to make a difference when you may not be in a position of organizational power?
Like so many other industries, Pharma is experiencing rapid and highly disruptive change focused on driving innovation and cost efficiencies, all at an accelerated pace. It’s a complex and competitive environment. Clinical process improvement, R&D process changes, re-structuring, new regulatory requirements, and new technology are all more challenging in what is often a matrixed, global structure. What’s more, changes go well beyond drug discovery: transformational changes are also impacting the business side of Pharma.
One of the challenges facing our change management consulting clients is the level of change fatigue across the organization. There is simply no rest from the constant barrage of changes that disrupt past habits, patterns and ways of working. It creates an unprecedented level of organization stress, especially when there are fewer resources than ever before. The change fatigue is further compounded when those Change Agents responsible for implementation confront a history of projects that are initiated, but not successfully implemented.
As organizations attempt to “be Agile” in IT, the PMO, and the business, they’re discovering that becoming an “Agile Organization” is not that simple. There are lots of questions on what actually needs to happen to become Agile, and how to implement what Agile produces.
Last week, Don Harrison, developer of the AIM Change Management Methodology, led a webinar on Implementing Agile: Integrating Change Management for Sustained Adoption. If you don’t already know AIM, you’ll find that it not only complements Agile, it is Agile, and was way ahead of its time! In the session, Don provided practical, realistic guidance on what it takes to become an Agile organization, and what risks you need to be prepared for.
Your organization probably has very specific metrics and measurement tools surrounding project management. Measuring if your project is on time, on budget, and technically sound is pretty straight forward. But how do you measure change management success? One thing we can tell you for sure…it is much more important to measure business results than how well change management worked on a project.
In our 35+ years of change management consulting, we have never once come across an organization who told us they have way too many resources with too little to do. Who are we kidding? We’ve never even met a client who had the right amount of resources for their current portfolio of initiatives!
Editor's Note: This article was originally published in July 2017 and has quickly become one of our most popular blogs to date. Because the topic is so timely we have chosen to republish it as this week's blog!
As change management consultants, we’re often asked how Agile and change management fit together. There are a lot of questions about how adding change management to an Agile project management cycle works; there are concerns expressed about whether change management will slow things down, and get in the way of the speed and innovation derived from Agile.
One of the key principles of Next Generation Change Management is to look up the power structure in your organization before you look down, especially in the beginning of a project. What we mean by this is as a Change Agent, you need to spend more time working with your Sponsors (to ensure they are Expressing, Modeling and Reinforcing the change) than trying to convince the targets (those people who will be affected by the change) about the logic and rationale behind it.
That’s promising a lot, but it’s a realistic promise, too. When you are a consulting company (and we are one) you are on a constant quest for new business and increased revenue. There is more competition than ever. Standing apart from your competition can be a challenge, especially if you are competing against one of the big consulting companies.
Building your change management capability is one option worthy of consideration.