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The executive guide to building organizational change capability

Are you frustrated by the lack of change maturity in your organization or the limitations of executing change management as a function and not building the capability across the organization?

Any smart business today acknowledges that a resilient workforce and a leadership team that has a core competency in managing change is a strategic imperative. Being intentional about how to establish this competency can go a long way to enabling organization-wide change maturity. Positioning change management at a strategic-level is key to unlocking these benefits.

Setting up enterprise-wide organizational change management (OCM) competency – aligned to business outcomes – will have vastly improved results and fast-track change maturity when compared to only incorporating OCM practice as part of project implementation.

Project-level change is not without its benefits and by its very nature is focused on delivering targeted communication and training for the project. Benefits of project-level change management include improved overall awareness of what the project is implementing and go-live readiness. However, these change efforts often lack alignment with the overall business strategy. Other limitations of project-level change management include: 

  • Change management is viewed as a soft benefit; a nice-to-have on the project and not a strategic enabler of change capability in the organization;

  • Increased risk of people-issues getting hidden in the project without sufficient visibility before they railroad the project;

  • Limitations in the sharing of valuable people-related insights, gathered by project change managers, which if harnessed could inform better decision-making across the organization;

  • The uncoordinated effort of change management across multiple projects (whether originating in IT or HR) overloading the impacted people; undermining the credibility of the change and resulting in thwarted buy-in and change fatigue;

  • Pockets of change competency in the organization that last only as long as the project team driving change.

So, what is the winning formula?

A focus on enterprise-level organizational change management establishes a common change management methodology, process, skill, and governance across the organization. 

In doing this it leverages project-level change for improved alignment and achievement of overall business objectives. It enables a standardized change practice and capability which is scalable and repeatable. Its repeatability introduces the opportunity for continuous improvement and deeper embedment with each change that gets implemented in the organization.

It will also provide rich data, which can be leveraged to better support people in the future and better inform strategic decision-making, where the impact of people adoption is essential.

An example of getting this right is evident at one of our clients. They recognized the need early on to increase change maturity as they embarked on a large-scale business transformation, with multiple, inter-related strategic initiatives.

A primary sponsor was identified for building change capability and a strong sponsor coalition was established at the senior leadership level. Executive and senior leadership regularly champion the cause for change and demonstrate openness to change as a shared core value. Leaders across the organization are measured on their ability to lead change and transformation. As a result, projects and strategic priorities are closely linked, employee engagement levels are high, and strategic decisions are made more quickly.

Organizational change management must be elevated to a strategic priority. It must have explicit business outcomes, the necessary mandate, and resources to establish the capability. Vital to success is ongoing executive support in the organization's journey towards change maturity.

If maturity in dealing with change is your objective, starting with enterprise-level change will set you up for greater success, in both the short and long-term, as it promotes:

  • The correct positioning and prioritization of changes in the organization aligned to the company vision;

  • A common understanding of “how we deal with change around here” – building change capability, competence and resilience;

  • Enhanced leadership alignment in the execution of the organization's strategic plan;

  • Visibility of the impact of change across the organization to better inform decision-making, project sequencing, and value extraction;

  • Alignment and coordination of change management execution across the organization – building a smooth runway for change.

What is your strategy to ensure that managing the people-side of change is established as a core competency in your organization? Do you provide the same strategic priority to building change competency in your organization as the technical strategic drivers of success? Pragilis Solutions can provide a turnkey solution that is pragmatic and agile driving successful business outcomes.

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