As experienced change management practitioners, though, we've encountered members of the C-suite who are aware of issues that can negatively impact their organization but need assistance to address them properly.
While every organization, senior leader or scenario is unique, here are some of our observations on strategies and tactics that have been successful in driving sustainable change.
Designate a champion
While most sports use playoffs to determine a champion, the business world is different. A range of factors can be involved in both the hierarchy and reporting structure of an organization.
Change management at its essence is not sexy or glamorous, though it can certainly be thrilling and gratifying when a series of strategic measures fall into place and stick.
Some organizations underestimate the value of appointing a dedicated executive sponsor. It's our opinion – supported by a Prosci report– that a strong executive sponsor can have a major impact on driving a successful outcome.
A good executive sponsor not only keeps a watchful eye on each phase – closely monitoring budgets and timelines -- but also serves as a cheerleader, rallying staff to meet all challenges along with way.
Patience is a virtue
We live in a world that craves instant results and gratification. However, successful and sustainable change takes time, involves multiple processes and phases and requires structure and a measure of discipline to keep things on track. Leaders who understand this are a blessing.
For each organization we work with, we begin with a baseline measurement and then evaluate each stage to measure its success, using what we call our Transformation Engine.
This includes closely monitoring factors such as the productivity and morale of staff which can have a negative effect in both the short and long-term.
To learn more about our specialized approach – including the Transformation Engine – read our October 1 post.
While some members of the C-suite have a preference to charge ahead with their transformation so they can get back to their regular business, our experience is that the more information and support that you can provide along the way, the easier it will be for people to adapt to change.
Our experience is that change doesn't break down in the executive suite or boardroom. It occurs right on the frontline. Organizations that are able to win the hearts and minds of their staff have an increased chance for success.
This is important because we've learned through multiple change management activities that we've led that organizations don't change. People do. And unless you are able to connect with your employees and properly explain the what and when, you may keep getting asked about the why.
How is this accomplished? By getting buy-in – right from the outset. And it begins by highlighting the need for change and how the organization will get to its final destination. The more details that an organization can provide in a transparent, authentic way, the less resistance it will encounter. This way everyone in the organization is working together -- in synch – towards the same goal.
Fresh eyes on the prize
Some organizations undergoing massive change decide to go it alone and try to tackle change management in-house. That's fine and entirely their choice. However, there are several benefits to connecting with firms like ours.
First, our deep expertise and range of services can be a major asset through multiple phases. We live and breathe change management with a particular focus on people.
Due to the size of our firm, we also have the ability to continually connect with senior leaders -- and those linked to frontline staff – to learn more about the challenges and opportunities that exist and provide a flexible game plan. This often includes the development of valuable training material, including specialized toolkits.
A fresh pair of eyes can also be a major benefit. We have a knack for providing a different perspective after multiple interactions with various levels of organizations.
Putting it all together
As you can see, there are a lot of different factors involved in achieving successful change management. But if there is one common element, it is people. And it all starts at the top.
Members of the C-suite who take a disciplined approach, value the role of an executive sponsor, and provide their staff with the proper support and inspiration, have an excellent chance of succeeding at transformation. That’s not only a sign of good planning but also good business.
To discuss ways to drive sustainable change in your business, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.