Approach to Change
How is your change initiative going? Are managers and employees singing from the same hymn sheet or are you seeing constant bickering and recriminations? Are positive results emerging for all to see or is your organization's performance going backwards? Is your program meeting targets and deadlines or is money and time being continually sucked into a black hole?
Whether you are implementing a new local accounting system in your department or your organization is embarking on a comprehensive culture change program, it makes sense to take a breath and review how you are traveling. Here is a quick eighteen-point checklist that you can use on your current change project. You can either answer the questions on your own, or better still, get your team in to discuss the answers as a group.
The following questions are based on the CHANGE Approach to managing change in organizations. This approach recognizes that a disciplined process is required for leading and managing change, from the initial good idea to eventual institutionalization of the new way of working. These six phases of the change process are:
Articulate why change needs to happen and why it needs to happen within the planned timeframe.
Get on board the key decision-makers, resource holders and those with the potential to subvert the change process.
Define in specific and measurable terms the desired organizational outcomes.
Assign responsibility to specific individuals for the various tasks and outcomes.
Build organizational systems and people competencies necessary for affecting the change.
Institutionalize the change to make it "the way we do things around here"
The checklist questions act as a quick diagnostic by surveying the critical activities in each phase. Neglect in one or more areas will likely result in the change program suffering.
- Is there a clear and compelling reason for adopting this change program?
- Is the objective data needed to convince the skeptics available?
- Do people feel the urgency to change?
- Do we know what are the motivators for each stakeholder group?
- Does the senior executive team support this change?
- Are all stakeholders engaged in the change process?
- Do stakeholders take ownership of the vision and goals?
- Are people involved in devolving the goals to lower levels of the organization?
- Are performance measurement and reporting systems set up?
- Are change management and new operational accountabilities clear?
- Are the right people selected for the right roles?
- Are project management principles and methods being used?
- Is the training plan sufficiently scoped and adequately resourced?
- Are teams being developed and supported for high performance?
- Is support in place ensuring transfer of training to the workplace?
- Are performance results reported and successes celebrated?
- Are remuneration, rewards and recruitment systems aligned with the change objectives?
- Do managers and supervisors lead by example?
How does your program measure up? If you get your team together, the actual answers are not the most important thing. The resulting discussion amongst the group should highlight where you will need to direct your future efforts. You will get the most benefit from this checklist if you check progress with your team and review the checklist every few weeks.
Vicki Heath is a Director of Business Performance Pty Ltd; a management consulting firm specializing in people and process capability. Her company's guides, tools and templates assist organizations engage and develop people, manage organizational change and improve project delivery. Vicki may be contacted by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Find out more about how to apply the CHANGE Approach™ to your change initiative. Check out our comprehensive resource kit, packed with practical strategies and exercises. Visit the Managing Change in the Workplace information portal to download the free Introductory Chapter and start using this practical change management guide and workbook today.