We have just completed a series of papers and lectures that examines change. We have seen how hard change is, why so, why its very difficult to implement and a multitude of frameworks and best practice procedures to not just change an organisation but instill that culture of change.
I have had the opportunities to be involved in many organisational changes in my career history and from this perspective can critically evaluate and analyse the approach and success of them. Practical v's Theory.
Here are some notes from BCG's 'Changing Change Management'. This is an excellent paper and as my lecture stated, should be laminated and kept as a daily reminder on how to go about change.
The 3 e's for change management:
1. Executional Certainty
2. Enable Leaders
3. Engage organisation.
Lets take a closer look at these:
1. Executional Certainty: Ensures positive results by giving top managers a forward view of the progress and the means to make corrections early enough to make a difference.
- Roadmaps for change
- These roadmaps need to be tested.
- When issues arise - focus on solving the problem not apportioning blame
Secondly test these roadmaps - again a pretty straightforward and achievable concept, we cannot tell how good something is until it has been tested.
However the third point is the killer point here. I believe that this point is very interesting and is not just as simple as it sounds. Let me tell you a little story, when I graduated from Uni I move to Holland, probably one of the most pragmatic countries the world. To cut a long story short, one day at work I messed up, really bad, ten's of thousands of pounds bad... My expectation was I was going to get into deep deep trouble, however to my absolute surprise my boss did something I'd never seen before, he empowered me. His words 'if you can make a mistake like this, then there is something wrong with the process, Ill give you 2 weeks to find and fix the issue'. I was speechless, no punishment - in fact a back handed compliment and an opportunity to dig deep into the issue.
Now in (old) Ireland if that happened, the initial response was to find the deviant that caused the problem and punish punish punish.
Getting back to point 3, this is easier said than done and I believe its a cultural characteristic too. To achieve a pragmatism that looks for solutions rather than apportioning blame thats a shift in culture itself and organisations and their leaders must be brave enough to take this on, aswell as starting the culture of change.
Also all of these points must be wrapped in a thick coating of respect for the road map owner. He or she must be the champions of the roadmaps and embody that change culture.
2. Enable Leaders
So you are the MD or CEO and you know this change is vital in order to implement and achieve your organisations vision and strategic goals.
As the CEO you must have the extended leadership own the change and demonstrate to them that the changes is necessary and connected to the organisations vision and strategy. In doing so change is not a lonely little boat drifting directionless on the sea. Its part of the big picture for your organisation, sites set in line with the company and enabling leaders to speak with one voice.
Change really does start at the top however successful enrollment of the leadership team is essential. A mandate from the CEO will FAIL.
Now that the leadership team are on this ship for the greater good, with a clear direction and a single voice, their behaviors must champion the change NOW.
An engaged organisation is equipped and has the confidence to handle change by thoughtfully engaging key stakeholders and proactively enlisting employees.
We have all been there and heard the questions 'but why do we need this change?' etc. Leaders must be able to clearly communicate the WHY'S.
Again, this always comes up in every framework I have studied or used: clear roles and responsibilities for everyone. Everyone knows how and where they fit in.
You must also seek the people who are influential and support the change and leverage these people, used their power and influence to gain support, while on the other hand, enlist skeptics to demonstrate and win them over why change is essential.
Interestingly BCG say that the message must be communicated at least 9 TIMES for it to stick.
Finally, the less tangible factors need to be communicated (the seasoning) e.g. Pride of workmanship, job satisfaction, self-worth etc. - emotional buyin.
This will nourish all 3 facets of an employees contribution:
- attitude - willingness to change,
- skills - ability to change
- and knowledge - experience of how to change.
So these are the 3 e's for change. There is lots more around change. I will blog these over the coming days:
- Confronting Change Fatigue
- Practical Solutions
- How to rigor test of roadmaps
- A personal checklist to becoming an effective champion of change.