Organizational changes are not all created equal. Understanding implications and being aware of impact on people and culture are as important as setting the structural or technical content of the change. Bringing a qualified change practitioner on board will have a significant impact on your budget. Make it a wise investment: align precious resources with the level of change management your organization needs.
Start by considering three types of organizational changes. In their book Beyond Change Management, change gurus Dean Anderson and Linda Ackerman Anderson focus on “how deep” in the behaviors, mindset and culture the change must go to be successful.
1. Developmental Change: Improvements or enhancements to what is already in place. Usually addresses skills and performance. Some adjustments in processes and work practices.
2. Transitional Change: Implementation of a new state to fix an important problem. Usually focused on technology, structures and work practices. Requires a change/shift in behavior.
3. Transformational Change: Something totally new for the organization to thrive or survive. Different mindset, behavior and culture are needed.
An agile and effective change infrastructure represents an important success factor in all cases. Changes that are “developmental” proceed through training, skill development, and communications given the organization has a healthy work climate. It makes sense that the change practitioner’s capabilities should reflect these interventions. Maybe someone on your team already has the skills, interest and ambition to take up this role? When change must run deeper, change management becomes a different ballgame. Leaders must think of themselves as role models. Cultural alignment could be at stake. This is where a seasoned change leadership expert can add tremendous value.
Here is a common mistake with costly repercussions: focusing on basic elements of change management when in fact people need to think, work or show up differently. For example, are you implementing new technology with the expectations that people will keep doing the same old thing? Such an investment translates into improved performance when there are changes in structures, processes and roles – and in people’s behaviors.
Consulting with the right change leadership consultant at the onset of a project is a smart investment, especially when the budget is tight. Yes, I am extremely biased here, and not only because I consult and coach for a living. I have seen the high value provided by a thorough change assessment and insightful recommendations that serves to align a framework to your desired outcomes. Think about enrolling someone who is willing to be a real partner, who understands the constraints you are facing and can tailor solutions to your realities.
Why not start with a free consultation? Contact Maryse Lepage at ThinkBeChange to talk about orienting your change strategy toward the right focus of intervention.
Photography: Stephanie Brossmann