While many organizations have change management methodologies that have some tools that are individually useful, there is still something missing! That "something" is a unified, disciplined, repeatable change process that is applied to every change project-- albeit in a "fit for purpose" manner. This is why many home-grown change management frameworks don't match up-- they are a hodge-podge of tools thrown together, along with steps and methodology taken from a variety of sources. A little Kotter; a little Prosci; a little Bridges; a little AIM. It's not an integrated system. It's change jambalaya!
The individual parts are okay, but they are not designed to work together. At the same time, and in contrast, other functional areas of the organization have a clear set of processes and procedures. Procedures for finance, HR, IT are common. But for the human side of projects it's a little of this, a little of that. Different vocabulary. No clear implementation role definitions. Undefined success metrics. Everyone is simply doing their own thing. Frankly, it can be messy, and a little ironic when the goal is achieving standardization or enterprise-wide, cross-functional changes.
You should implement in a manner that reflects the end result you seek! When we come across this situation in our own change management consulting practice our advice is simple: Choose One Approach! Of course, we hope that people choose AIM, but we know that multiple approaches are confusing, and that confusion slows down change implementation.
Here are 10 characteristics of a rigorous, business-disciplined change approach. How does it compare to your own framework?
- Clear definition of roles and responsibilities for implementing changes, especially the roles of Change Agents and Sponsors
- A “success definition” across 5 dimensions for every change project (on time, on budget, all technical, business and human objectives met.) The human objectives are defined early on in the project lifecycle as the desired behaviors that “we seek to see” in the future state. All 5 dimensions are measured and monitored
- Shared vocabulary across the organization on roles, success metrics, etc.
- A process for identifying and mitigating the risks for systemic organizational weaknesses
- Education on the roles and responsibilities of the change process so that individuals understand what is required
- Intentional alignment around what is “expressed, modeled, and reinforced” regarding a change, level by level in the management structure
- At its optimized level, elements of the change process are built into other protocols. For example, capital spending projects are not approved unless the 5 success metrics for the project have been defined
- Ongoing measurement of the organization’s implementation capacity
- A process for prioritization and sequencing of changes
- A deliverables-based change plan that is integrated into the technical project plan so there is one plan that is seamlessly managed