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  • Writer's picturejohn pryor

Healthy approach to change

Changes make a difference in your organization. That’s why we do them! So, when faced with rolling out a new change to your organization, you want to do it right; you do not want the organization to stop in its tracks while the change is happening and, in the end, you want people engaged and adopting the new way.

We all face questions on how to best manage change. There are a variety of approaches organizations will take to do change right. Some bring on outside support. Others establish an internal change management group to manage their change programs. Some purchase and certify on a methodology and include it in their roll out programs and project plans. Others consider doing nothing different at all – they already manage change well and don’t need to modify how they do things.

Any of these might be the right answer for your organization. But wouldn’t you like some data to help make that decision?

When it comes to an approach for managing change, organizations often focus on a change process and on tools, yet ignore the organization. That seems backwards. At the Change Corner, we suggest that leaders flip that around and do a deeper dive into the current culture and capability of the organization first, and then apply a model and tools where and when they need them. Doesn’t that make more sense?

To make that deeper dive more focused, we’ve looked across a spectrum of change management literature and identified seven fundamentals that bring about adoption of change. From there we built a practical diagnostic that explores these seven change fundamentals in an organization.

Conducting the diagnostic allows leaders to test the health of these fundamental areas in their organization. The resulting data guides better decisions on how to manage change initiatives. For example, if an organization is strong in all seven change fundamentals, leaders should question making any modification to how they bring about change. However, if an organization is weak in one or two fundamental areas, the decision on how to address those weaknesses becomes focused. Perhaps all that is needed is attention on delivering communication. Or perhaps the engine that creates change is in place, but the struggle is with sponsorship. Wouldn’t it be better to focus on that one fundamental and strengthen sponsorship rather than purchase change management software and certifications? Perhaps the diagnostic shows that all seven fundamental areas need work. In that case, the likely next steps are developing an entire program, and not shoring up one weaker fundamental area.

Change Corner’s diagnostic is straightforward and easy to conduct. The diagnostic report gives leaders the data they need to understand the strengths and weaknesses in the organization’s change programs.

The seven fundamentals of change

Here are the seven fundamentals of change and a short description of each.

Awareness - a description of the current state prior to the change, the future state with the change in place and the gaps needing to be addressed to make the change happen successfully.

Sponsorship – credible leaders legitimizing the change through active communication and driving consequences.

Measurement System – indicators such as commitment, behaviors and performance that show how the change is progressing and when you have arrived at the future state.

Education – a learning system for sponsors, change agents who deliver the change and for stakeholders impacted by the change

Motivation – reward systems to encourage staff to experiment with and adopt the change. Also includes corrections for those failing to adopt the change.

Involvement / Access – providing for stakeholder input into processes and decisions regarding the change. Providing stakeholders access to practice with new tools, behaviors and processes in a safe place.

Communication – frequent and consistent messaging about the change.

Change Corner’s diagnostic focuses on your organization, not change methods and tools. It is a solid step in determining the health of how well your organization manages change.

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