You may be surprised to hear us say that being “change adept” requires multiple capabilities, including, but not limited to, a systematic change management methodology like AIM. It’s true. Change management is just one piece of the puzzle!
The need to become change adept has never been greater. In virtually every organization we talk to in our change management consulting and training practice, there are too many projects chasing too few resources. As one of our recent AIM Accreditation participants said, “It’s like trying to transform a high-speed train, but the train doesn’t stop!”
As a result, organizations are beginning to realize that focusing their constrained resources to have greatest impact in the shortest amount of time is absolutely essential. That’s what AIM does. Activities that do not lead to value realization must be eliminated. The importance of sequencing the changes is critical. But even those strategies are insufficient in becoming change adept—so what other capabilities are required?
The Four Cornerstones of a Change Adept Organization
Here are the four protocols and capabilities required to truly be change adept:
- The Ability to Drive Innovation and a Continuous Improvement Protocol
Change adept organizations provide the skill and structure required to identify process problems and improvement opportunities. Application of problem-solving protocols like Lean Six Sigma are extremely useful in the discovery of improvement opportunities, with a common language and approach.
But remember, while this capability is extremely useful, it is not a silver bullet for driving innovation and continuous improvement into the organization. Those are mindset shifts with significant behavioral change requirements. In addition, what’s missing is the ability to implement the solutions that have been identified. The truth of the matter is…a great solution poorly implemented won’t produce value realization!
- A Project Management Methodology
The project management discipline ensures there is a plan to manage resources, identify risks, and control costs. Whether your organization uses Agile or the more traditional Waterfall approach, project management ensures a project is completed on time, on budget, and to scope.
A change adept organization must have a birds’-eye view of the entire portfolio of change. Too many organizations have little to no sense of exactly how many projects are going on across the enterprise, how many resources are being consumed, and where their resources are being spent. A change-adept organization has the governance and structure in place to manage change at both the system and the local levels.
- A Common Change Management Methodology
While project management focuses on ensuring initiatives are on time, on budget, and to scope, we know this is not enough. In every project there are required behavioral changes; otherwise there is no change! Again, there is no change until you get to sustained behavior change. So while project management is a must do, change management is equally important. Change management is the risk dashboard for the people-side, providing rigor and discipline for the human and cultural elements of the change.
To increase the chances of achieving a successful implementation and thus, full system optimization, project management and change management need to be blended from the start. The principles, tools, and deliverables of change management should serve as the central hub in a project management approach, from project initiation, continuing through to plan, execute, monitor and control, and project close.
- Demonstrated and Visible Leader Commitment
There is one more cornerstone requirement even after an organization has process improvement and project management protocols, and a change management methodology to mitigate the risks on the people side. The leaders must also provide the needed commitment to implement to full value realization. This is the cascade of active, visible Sponsors who are Expressing, Modeling and Reinforcing the desired new behaviors associated with the change, down and across the enterprise. This cascade is the single most important factor in swift and successful implementation, and is even more critical than the network of local Change Agents with the competence and credibility to implement at the local level.
The four capabilities of continuous improvement, project management, change management and leadership commitment are the cornerstones for building an organization that is change adept. Each is critically important, but alone is insufficient. Combined together, these four capabilities will help your organization thrive in today’s crazy, lightning-fast world.