Change \`chânj\ verb – from Middle English to make radically different
Listen to most business conversations today and you’ll hear a discussion of some type of change. These “changes” could be major transformations such as mergers, new hardware or software integrations or re-organizations/alignments of critical business processes. Alternatively, the changes could be minor, such as the retirement of a manager or a move from one building to another. Regardless of the size, change is happening within organizations.
When asked about change, leaders generally believe their organizations are agile and change-ready. However, a majority of employees report feeling unsure of multiple, simultaneous organizational changes, the business reasons behind the changes and how the changes are impacting them and their jobs.
Leaders generally understand the importance of changing and keeping up with the trends but few understand the true value in professionally managing the change.
The Impacts of Change
Change is natural and beneficial to a company. Yet, while change may be beneficial, a change to a process not only impacts the process, but the people and technology behind the process as well. This ripple effect can disrupt ongoing work as well as delay or impact customer accounts.
Most individuals would never think of planning a trip without a map and strategy. Similarly, organizations should plan the logistics of a new initiative through project management (the map) and Change Management (the strategy). These provide the analysis and the necessary people and process support of a change, thereby increasing the success of the transition within the organization. Together these components provide an integrated roadmap for successful change—or the “management” of a change.
Consider the example of a major Southeastern utility, which was required to implement a set of software and business processes to comply with a new federal regulation limiting the number of hours employees could work in nuclear plants. The change itself was relatively straightforward—employees could no longer work more than a certain number of hours.
However, the people, process and technology impacts were significant. Many long-term employees stood to lose overtime and other financial benefits. Other employees gained duties with no additional pay, including learning how to track, manage and report hours through a new system. Finally, managers and leaders had to develop new work plans based on the reduction of work hours.
Working as part of a project management team, this utility created a stakeholder plan to identify everyone who may be impacted and how he or she would be impacted. These impacts extended beyond the first level. For example, while front line employees were an obvious audience, the managers and supervisors of these employees were impacted as well. Using the stakeholder plan, the team developed a current state, future state and gap analysis to determine the many levels of impact across the organization.
Next, the team developed a Change Management Plan that included focused activities to move the stakeholders through the project and change stages.
These activities focused on:
· Awareness—helping stakeholders be aware of the change
· Desire—learning the impact on them as individuals, managers and employees and why the change was important to them
· Knowledge—training, communications, and information to prepare stakeholders for the change
· Ability—supporting stakeholders in understanding the change on their roles and behaviors, including coaching, role playing, and support
· Reinforcement—measuring the success and adapting the plan with new messages, activities, rewards as the new behaviors and tools become part of the work culture
Model courtesy of Prosci ADKAR Model
The only difference in this project deployment—and a key contributor to a nearly 98 percent project success rate at the utility—was a formal Change Management program. In fact, two years after implementation, this utility reported fewer than 200 instances of non-compliance over a three-year period compared to more than 3,000 at a competing utility. Non-compliance is linked to thousands of dollars in fines.
The Value of Change Management
This example is hardly an isolated incident. In a biannual survey by Prosci—the leading Change Management learning and research organization—of more than 5,000 Fortune 500 companies and consultants, projects that included Change Management programs are four times more successful than those without formal Change Management programs.
Major, complex changes require a great deal of planning and project management. Change Management is actually a crucial component of project management, ensuring stakeholders are identified, fully understand the changes, have the tools to work in the new environment and are supporting the success of these activities through progress measures and team celebrations. While change may be a natural part of our lives, the execution of a successful change requires a planned, thoughtful change management plan.
What’s the next change adventure on your horizon? Consider calling your Change Agent and working up a Change Map—you’ll have a more successful journey!
Content contributed by hiSoft Technology International Limited, a consulting services firm. For more information, contact Kathleen Kraft, Senior Managing Consultant and Organizational Change Management Knowledge Domain Leader for the U.S. Consulting Division, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 704-944-3155 or visit www.hisoft.com.