International Organizational Change Management Institute
Critical Success Factors for Sustaining Change
Frederick Reynecke, change management expert
No organization that aims to progress (innovation and growth) can remain unchanged. Change is the standard quality for growth and development, and should be permanently on the organizational strategic change agenda.
One of the best-known, best-accepted truisms of management states the only constant in business is change. This means that change is inevitable, and if organizations have to remain competitive, they have to embrace change and become agile.
The sponsor’s role is not over at implementation, it should continue after that too. In order to sustain change the following can help to sustain change.
Understanding Change Management
We need to start by getting a grasp of some characteristics of change management:
- Change management can be understood to mean voluntarily putting in place systems and processes that help the organization transition to a desired set of outcomes
- Change is a planned process that is carried out across the board and its benefits need to be conveyed to the employees across all levels
- Organizations can bungle with change management initiatives if they lack foresight and planning
- Anticipating the kind of change it needs to undergo and not changing when it is thrust upon it is the hallmark of a successful organization
- Conversely, it goes without saying that that organizations that are reluctant to accept change flounder.
Tangible Reason for Change
- Know your stakeholders. Understand how the change can affect each stakeholder group and key individuals
- Anticipate risks. Identify pockets of resistance before they surface, along with any potential business disruptions and risks
- Assess the magnitude and pace of change. Determine whether the magnitude and pace of change is energizing or paralyzing the organization
- Set priorities. Prioritize activities, tackle the most critical barriers first
- Influence the influencers. Identify people who command the most respect, and then involve them as champions for the change
- Seek real commitment. Understand people’s needs and aspirations — and then make an effort to accommodate them. Listen to your customers
- Equip leaders to drive change. Unique knowledge and skills are needed to help people get through this challenging and often traumatic period. Make leaders the role models for the desired behavior and make them responsible for it. Link it to their performance.
- Make sure leaders are aligned on the issue of change, understanding the benefits, impacts and challenges.
- Recognize there may be winners and losers. The impact of change varies from one stakeholder to the next, and some may not be happy with the outcome. Understand, engage, and inform all stakeholders
- High-touch, not high tech. Connect leaders with employees and empower line managers to discuss the impending changes
- Acknowledge the past. Acknowledge the past changes and clearly articulate how the current initiative fits
- Reach external stakeholders. Do not focus just on employees
- Experience beats communication every time. Get people directly involved in change
- Establish an interactive dialogue. To confirm that the audience received and understood the message. Repeat the message and use mediums they want and use (social media)
- Get the story straight. Deliver consistent messages to all internal and external stakeholders
Clear Understanding of Culture
- Understand the existing culture. Formally assess the key attributes of the current culture and their influence by the change
- Understand the existing culture and how it must change (including subculture);a culture creating value. Understand and accommodate each sub-culture
- Design the new culture. Work with leaders and stakeholders to identify key drivers of the current culture to create the desired culture
- Focus on changing the drivers that matter. Align all people-related initiatives, establish the right leadership models and introduce new terminology for the desired behavior. Measure and reward!
- Be consistent. Misalignment of cultural drivers and behavior confuses people
Skilled Employees for the New World
- Start learning efforts early. Establish a dedicated training team early on, letting them work with the other project teams.Educate early, train later
- Tweak the approach. Tailor training to specific stakeholders based on their role in the new organization.
- Refresh knowledge regularly. Refresher courses and advanced training help reinforce skills and build new capabilities. New technologies can also help strengthen lessons from “class”
- Practice new skills to shape new behavior. Supplement hard skills training with behavioral learning programs
- Use creative ways to teach. Think of non-traditional training to help increase performance and productivity. Use blended learning. Can mobile learning work?
- Measure effectiveness. Assess whether people can perform effectively in the new environment
Infrastructure to Reinforce new Behaviour
- Start with critical workforce segments. Ensure ongoing alignment with business strategy. Proactively align HR management with the organization’s strategic needs. You cannot afford to loose people that have a rare and valuable skill or perform work that directly aligns with the organization’s strategic objectives.
- Align rewards to support new behaviors. Benchmark AND analyze internally rewards effectiveness
- Develop and Engage employees to retain valuable talent. to deliver efficiency and performance