Unleashing the full capacity of your people

Change Management: The entire organization needs to participate

I found a great article on Change Management on the Booz and Company website (actually two: See my other post on “How Aha! Really Happens.”)

The article boiled down the success factors to just five (which is a manageable number, a critical element in adopting any new idea.)

First let me quote their definition of Change Management, which fits the Bovo-Tighe philosophy so well:

“Successful change management targets leaders but also engages people across the organization, while adjusting key enabling processes such as performance management.”

There is a bit of consultant-speak in there (“enabling processes”), but the engagement of people across the organization is critical. My partner David Tighe wrote about the perils of change management last year, stating that people-driven change is best, and that remains true.

However, if you must make strategic changes, here are the five factors to control for:

  1. Understand ALL the impacts the changes will have, and spell them out. We hope against hope that the need for change itself has been fully diagnosed, but at the very least understand in detail how the changes will impact alls aspects of your organization.
  2. Build an emotional as well as rational case for change. Your people must embrace the change, not just hunker down to “live through it.” Engagement ahead of action (and revisions based on inputs received) is critical here.
  3. Leaders must lead and be changed themselves. Do not impose change that is one-directional, and unevenly applied. Leaders adopt the new paradigm first, and model it for those who will follow.
  4. Make the change as organic as possible, with peers helping peers to navigate the process. Avoid “top-down” directive approaches.
  5. Embed the change in the fabric of the organization. Change takes time to take root. Results come only after hard, long periods of work that change the underlying culture of the organization. Quick, rushed changes will not stick, and waste resources in the end.

Of course, the best culture is an engaged one that changes organically from bottom up, without formal direction or special initiatives.

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