Three days ahead of his Feb. 4 session, Change Readiness Diagnostics: Assessing Change Readiness Through a Risk Management Lens, at the ACMP D.C. Virtual Symposium, Jim Wright, Evans’ International Account Director, provides insights into the need to be ‘Change Ready.’
Common Change Pitfalls
How often do organizations decide to embark on complex transformative change initiatives without dedicated change management resources? And how often have you seen companies only address change once organizational resistance is encountered? Often this is way too late and presents a major lost opportunity because not considering how a change affects people prevents organizations from understanding the change risks facing their transformative programs. Further, it does not allow for Managers to design a program with the impacts on people front of mind, or to embed tailored change strategies and tactics into program activities from the outset of a program’s launch. Understanding change risks early in a program’s lifecycle can aid in the appropriate sequencing and inter-dependencies of program initiatives, avoiding starting the change with the most resistant pockets of an organization, or ensuring well developed strategies and tactics are employed to effectively ensure impacted stakeholder are committed to realize the benefits from the change.
Diagnosing Change Risk
Understanding and managing the organizational change risks from the outset of a program dramatically enhance the prospects for fuller adoption and more sustainable solutions. Therefore, program design should be developed with a full understanding of change risks up front. At Evans, we employ a human-centered, diagnostic, risk-based approach to managing change. This entails working with our clients to conduct Change Readiness Assessments (CRAs) before a program is launched or early in a program’s design. Evans analyzes two categories of change risks: program risk and organizational capacity for change risk. Program risks are determined based on the characteristics, drivers and conditions for change. Organizational capacity for change risks focuses on the skills and knowledge, institutional support structures, the amount of concurrent change and the resources in place to support a complex program.
CRA findings allow our clients and partners to fully diagnose a range of change risks that can prevent a program from fully realizing targeted benefits or Return on Investment (ROI). It also allows for the design of programs with a full understanding of the Change Risks that can impede intended outcomes. Change risk identification typically includes diagnosing pockets of organizational resistance, but it can also include the identification of unforeseen risks associated with a low capacity to adopt change due to missing skills or institutional knowledge, poor institutional support structures to drive the change across an organization, or insufficient time for staff to devote to new ways of working.
Evans CRAs focus on developing a rich understanding of the hopes, fears, and biases respective stakeholder groups may have with regards to change. We employ a dimensional analysis of different stakeholder constituencies that are to be affected by the change. Evans CRAs employ techniques to fully elicit the perspectives of unique groups across organizational units, domain areas of expertise, and at different levels in the organization. This allows for fully documented change management requirements for each impacted stakeholder group. It also allows for the identification of the key change risks facing a program as well as the development of strategies and tactics – as detailed in Figure 1 – to carefully manage identified change risks. These tactics can go a long way in engendering appropriate levels of sponsorship engagement, for managing key stakeholders, and delivering targeted behavioral change communications to each group impacted by the change.
Figure 1 – Tailoring Change Strategies and Tactics to Manage Change Risk
Managing and Monitoring Risks
Once a Change Risk is identified, it needs to be carefully managed and monitored. This allows for a full understanding of the behavioral impact of a change effort on unique groups and the rates of adoption, utilization and proficiency in the use of new policies, procedures, processes and systems. Monitoring change risks is not only important for managing known change risks and tracking their evolution; it is also critical for identifying emergent risks that may impact a change program. By carefully monitoring known change risks, and the behavioral impact of a change program on affected personnel, this can allow for the recalibration of change strategies and tactics over time that can inform the careful development of change interventions that must be executed to overcome new challenges that emerge during the execution of a change program.
If you would like to learn more…
Jim Wright will be presenting at the Association of Change Management Professionals D.C. Virtual Symposium on February 4, 2016. The topic of Jim’s presentation will be Change Readiness Diagnostics: Identifying Change Readiness through a Risk Management Lens.