One of my favorite quotes comes from Charles Darwin, who famously said, “It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent, but the one most adaptable to change.” As we begin 2018, I am amazed at how these wise words could not be more appropriate for the modern business world.
Everywhere I go, organizations are experiencing major, rapid change. Whether the changes are driven by new technology, operational efficiencies, streamlined structures, or the introduction of innovative products and services, achieving system optimization at an accelerated pace is the name of the game. I have found that there is no shortage of good ideas, but there is a shortage of well implemented change.
In my view, the biggest challenge for the new year is acceleration-- getting our organizations to do a much better job of sequencing changes, using our constrained resources more efficiently, and helping ensure that system optimization is achieved for the substantial investments being made. Leaders must understand that how a change is implemented is just as important as what is implemented.
That is why as we enter into 2018, our jobs as change professionals could not be more important. We must focus our time on those activities that will get the greatest impact. With this in mind, my words to participants in our change management Accreditation programs bear repeating … the most important work we do will be in unplanned interventions, and in how we contract with our Sponsors for what we need from them.
So, here’s my advice on how you can best contribute:
- Ensure you are implementing your changes, not installing them. We recently published a completely updated Mini Guide to Installation vs Implementation. If you haven’t seen it yet, make sure you download it from IMA’s website and take a look. There is great value in understanding the difference between these two concepts.
- Use AIM, a change management methodology that is not a lock-step protocol, to guide you on how best to spend your time. The bottom line is, you don’t have the time to do things that are not driving toward system optimization. Spend your time on high-impact activities!
- If you can only focus on one thing, make it on securing Sponsorship. The only thing that is going to accelerate a change is the cascade of active Sponsors, level by level in the organization, who are Expressing, Modeling and most importantly, Reinforcing the change.
As 2018 begins, let’s do our part to ensure value realization is reached even when you have limited resources. Here’s to changing the impact of “change management!”
Now that sounds like a good new year’s resolution.
President, IMA & Developer of the AIM Methodology