Change Management Methodology: Robust Enough for Transformation?

Posted by Paula Alsher on Tue, Mar 04, 2014 @ 04:12 PM

External market forces are having a huge impact on global organizations.  The question this raises from a change management perspective is whether your current change management methodology is sufficiently robust and scalable to fully address the impact of these forces on your organization.  Change Management Methodology Comparison

It may be time for an evaluation, because what worked for your organization 7 or 10 years ago may not be sufficient in today's environment. This is especially true for changes that are going enterprise-wide across your operating units.  

And if you have NO change management methodology, maybe now is the right time to evaluate your options for supporting your organization's transformational change efforts!


The Global Forces at Work

Name the industry and it is likely that the marketplace is causing a seismic shift in the way your organization operates.  Organizations are needing to re-think everything!

Healthcare transformation is widely discussed-- budget pressures, pricing transparency trends, increased competition, new technology, physicians moving from private practice to become hospital employees, empowered consumers....  Each of these changes is dramatic in and of itself.  But combine them together and the workforces are feeling a "one-two punch" like never before.

Other industries are not immune. The business environment is shifting rapidly with more intense competition, globalization, swift innovations in technology, continued economic uncertainty, and more pressure on profitability.

What is really different today is that so many changes require orchestration and coordination across the enterprise!

The every-day, business as usual changes are still around, but added to those are transformational efforts that take every ounce of energy and resources the organization can muster!  These changes require more than a set of tools, templates and/or checklists to support the human side of the implementation!


"One and Done" Doesn't Work 

While tools, templates, and checklists are certainly helpful supports, in today's environment there is a great temptation for change management to become another check the box activity.  

For example, we know that between 30-50% of the success of any transformation depends on the demonstrated commitment of Sponsors that must cascade level by level in all the affected business groups.  You can't make the cascade happen by completing a checklist or a tool!

Change Agents must develop individual relationships with each Sponsor; this is a relationship-driven activity, not a checklist activity.  

Equally important, the search for Sponsorship is never over!  For instance, you may have the Sponsorship you need at project launch, but when you are deep in the transition phase of the change (going from what has existed in the past to what you are seeking in the future) you will need these Sponsors to do some different things. You're not done with Sponsorship until you get to full implementation!

So taking a linear, step-by-step approach to complex change is just not sufficient to actually drive the change. If you're frustrated by having to go back and deal with Sponsorship again, that's the reality of complex change!  

So take another look at your change management methodology.  Is it linear, driven by completion of checklists?  Or is it "cyclical and iterative?"


Five Questions to Ask


1.  Is this methodology flexible?  Can I use just what I need, or do I need to follow a rigid prescription of steps for every situation I might face?


2.  Is the methodology packaged in a way that makes sense to non-experts?  


3.  Is it operational in focus?  Does it provide guidance on what to do in a variety of situations and levels of complexity?


4.  Is the methodology robust enough to address systemic changes?  In other words, does it provide guidance on how to address highly complex changes that cross multiple business units-- changes like acquisitions, one company solutions, cultural changes, etc.


5.  Does the methodology have a business focus or is it more conceptual?  


These questions will help you determine if your current methodology is a match for the complex changes you face right now.  Of course it needs to be packaged in a user-friendly way, but will you have structure and scalability to address transformation?  Maybe it's time to take a second look!

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Topics: Transformational Change, Change Management Methodology, Comparing Change Management Methodologies