Managing Organizational Change (Leadership Training Series Book 1)

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Again, the range of possible activities is broad. It's a question of working out what will best help you meet the change challenge in hand, as you have defined it in your objectives and scope, and how to work alongside other people's and projects' activities and responsibilities. The essence of this is to identify the tasks that are necessary if you're going to give change the greatest chance of success.

Remember, these are just some typical change management activities. Others may be required in your specific situation. Equally, some of the above may not be within your remit, so plan carefully, and coordinate with other people involved. Finding This Article Useful? You can learn another 64 project management skills, like this, by joining the Mind Tools Club.


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Receive new career skills every week, plus get our latest offers and a free downloadable Personal Development Plan workbook. It will help you understand how people will react to the changes, so you can better plan how to support them through the process. This article describes these, and discusses the things you need to consider when choosing the best design for your situation.

A training needs assessment is a structured way of ensuring that the right people are given the right training at the right time. Change management is a broad discipline that involves ensuring that change is implemented smoothly and with lasting benefits, by considering its wider impact on the organization and people within it. Each change initiative you manage or encounter will have its own unique set of objectives and activities, all of which must be coordinated. As a change manager, your role is to ease the journey towards new ways of working, and you'll need a set of tools to help you along the way: there's a wide range of change management tools here at Mind Tools — this a great place to start!

This site teaches you the skills you need for a happy and successful career; and this is just one of many tools and resources that you'll find here at Mind Tools. Subscribe to our free newsletter , or join the Mind Tools Club and really supercharge your career! Expert Interviews Audio Forums Infographics.

Quizzes Templates and Worksheets Videos. For Your Organization. By the Mind Tools Content Team. Who's Responsible? Whichever is the first level that does not apply to an individual, team, or organization is the first step to complete in helping them change.

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As change management becomes more necessary in the business cycle of organizations, it is beginning to be taught as its own academic disciple at universities. There is a growing number of universities with research units dedicated to the study of organizational change. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. For software version changes, see Change control.

Business process reengineering Change management ITSM Employee engagement Human resource management Leadership development Organization studies Organizational culture Organizational structure Performance management Stakeholder management Strategic change Talent management Training and development Transtheoretical model. International Organizational Change Management Institute.

Retrieved PM Hut. Retrieved November 16, Project Management Institute. Archived from the original on September 30, Retrieved August 10, Diffusion of Innovations, 5th Edition. Simon and Schuster. Human Resource Management. In Bradford, David L. Warner eds. Australia: Uniforte Pty Ltd. McKinsey and Associates. Retrieved 24 March CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform. Happy Melly Express. The Association of Change Management Professionals. Retrieved 20 November Academy of Management Annals : — Project Laneway. Retrieved 8 February Mind Tools.

Retrieved 18 February Archived from the original on These factors bear three distinct characteristics.

Improving Organizations: Guidelines, Methods and Resources for Organizational Change Agents

First, companies are able to measure them in direct or indirect ways. Second, companies can easily communicate their importance, both within and outside organizations. Third, and perhaps most important, businesses are capable of influencing those elements quickly. Some of the hard factors that affect a transformation initiative are the time necessary to complete it, the number of people required to execute it, and the financial results that intended actions are expected to achieve. Our research shows that change projects fail to get off the ground when companies neglect the hard factors.

In , we started with the contrarian hypothesis that organizations handle transformations in remarkably similar ways.

We researched projects in a number of industries and countries to identify those common elements. Our initial company study revealed a consistent correlation between the outcomes success or failure of change programs and four hard factors: project duration, particularly the time between project reviews; performance integrity, or the capabilities of project teams; the commitment of both senior executives and the staff whom the change will affect the most; and the additional effort that employees must make to cope with the change.

We completed our study in , and in the 11 years since then, the Boston Consulting Group has used those four factors to predict the outcomes, and guide the execution, of more than 1, change management initiatives worldwide. Not only has the correlation held, but no other factors or combination of factors have predicted outcomes as well. If you think about it, the different ways in which organizations combine the four factors create a continuum—from projects that are set up to succeed to those that are set up to fail. At one extreme, a short project led by a skilled, motivated, and cohesive team, championed by top management and implemented in a department that is receptive to the change and has to put in very little additional effort, is bound to succeed.

At the other extreme, a long, drawn-out project executed by an inexpert, unenthusiastic, and disjointed team, without any top-level sponsors and targeted at a function that dislikes the change and has to do a lot of extra work, will fail. Businesses can easily identify change programs at either end of the spectrum, but most initiatives occupy the middle ground where the likelihood of success or failure is difficult to assess.

Executives must study the four DICE factors carefully to figure out if their change programs will fly—or die. The duration of time until the change program is completed if it has a short life span; if not short, the amount of time between reviews of milestones. The commitment to change that top management C1 and employees affected by the change C2 display.

The effort over and above the usual work that the change initiative demands of employees. Companies make the mistake of worrying mostly about the time it will take to implement change programs. They assume that the longer an initiative carries on, the more likely it is to fail—the early impetus will peter out, windows of opportunity will close, objectives will be forgotten, key supporters will leave or lose their enthusiasm, and problems will accumulate.


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Companies should formally review transformation projects at least bimonthly since, in our experience, the probability that change initiatives will run into trouble rises exponentially when the time between reviews exceeds eight weeks. Whether reviews should be scheduled even more frequently depends on how long executives feel the project can carry on without going off track. Complex projects should be reviewed fortnightly; more familiar or straightforward initiatives can be assessed every six to eight weeks. Scheduling milestones and assessing their impact are the best way by which executives can review the execution of projects, identify gaps, and spot new risks.

The most effective milestones are those that describe major actions or achievements rather than day-to-day activities. They must enable senior executives and project sponsors to confirm that the project has made progress since the last review took place. Good milestones encompass a number of tasks that teams must complete. Moreover, it suggests that several activities were completed—identifying stakeholders, assessing their needs, and talking to them about the project. The team must provide a concise report of its progress, and members and sponsors must check if the team is on track to complete, or has finished all the tasks to deliver, the milestone.

They should also determine whether achieving the milestone has had the desired effect on the company; discuss the problems the team faced in reaching the milestone; and determine how that accomplishment will affect the next phase of the project. Sponsors and team members must have the power to address weaknesses.


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  6. The Hard Side of Change Management?
  7. When necessary, they should alter processes, agree to push for more or different resources, or suggest a new direction. By performance integrity, we mean the extent to which companies can rely on teams of managers, supervisors, and staff to execute change projects successfully. In a perfect world, every team would be flawless, but no business has enough great people to ensure that. Besides, senior executives are often reluctant to allow star performers to join change efforts because regular work can suffer.

    In companies that have succeeded in implementing change programs, we find that employees go the extra mile to ensure their day-to-day work gets done. Since project teams handle a wide range of activities, resources, pressures, external stimuli, and unforeseen obstacles, they must be cohesive and well led. Smart executive sponsors, we find, are very inclusive when picking teams.

    They identify talent by soliciting names from key colleagues, including human resource managers; by circulating criteria they have drawn up; and by looking for top performers in all functions. While they accept volunteers, they take care not to choose only supporters of the change initiative. Senior executives personally interview people so that they can construct the right portfolio of skills, knowledge, and social networks.

    They also decide if potential team members should commit all their time to the project; if not, they must ask them to allocate specific days or times of the day to the initiative. Executives often make the mistake of assuming that because someone is a good, well-liked manager, he or she will also make a decent team leader. A CEO who successfully led two major transformation projects in the past ten years used these six criteria to quiz senior executives about the caliber of nominees for project teams.

    The top management team rejected one in three candidates, on average, before finalizing the teams. Companies must boost the commitment of two different groups of people if they want change projects to take root: They must get visible backing from the most influential executives what we call C1 , who are not necessarily those with the top titles.

    And they must take into account the enthusiasm—or often, lack thereof—of the people who must deal with the new systems, processes, or ways of working C2. Top-level commitment is vital to engendering commitment from those at the coal face. No amount of top-level support is too much. In , when we were working with the CEO of a consumer products company, he told us that he was doing much more than necessary to display his support for a nettlesome project.

    When we talked to line managers, they said that the CEO had extended very little backing for the project. They felt that if he wanted the project to succeed, he would have to support it more visibly! A rule of thumb: When you feel that you are talking up a change initiative at least three times more than you need to, your managers will feel that you are backing the transformation.

    Sometimes, senior executives are reluctant to back initiatives. Senior executives found it gut-wrenching to talk about layoffs in an organization that had prided itself on being a place where good people could find lifetime employment. However, the CEO realized that he needed to tackle the thorny issues around the layoffs to get the project implemented on schedule. He tapped a senior company veteran to organize a series of speeches and meetings in order to provide consistent explanations for the layoffs, the timing, the consequences for job security, and so on.

    He also appointed a well-respected general manager to lead the change program. Those actions reassured employees that the organization would tackle the layoffs in a professional and humane fashion. Companies often underestimate the role that managers and staff play in transformation efforts. By communicating with them too late or inconsistently, senior executives end up alienating the people who are most affected by the changes.

    That usually happens when senior executives articulate subtly different versions of critical messages. For instance, in one company that applied the DICE framework, scores for a project showed a low degree of staff commitment. Organizations also underestimate their ability to build staff support.

    A simple effort to reach out to employees can turn them into champions of new ideas. For example, in the s, a major American energy producer was unable to get the support of mid-level managers, supervisors, and workers for a productivity improvement program. Partly because of the straight talk, the initiative gained some momentum. This allowed a project team to demonstrate a series of quick wins, which gave the initiative a new lease on life.

    According to staffing tables, people in many businesses work plus-hour weeks. If, on top of existing responsibilities, line managers and staff have to deal with changes to their work or to the systems they use, they will resist. Project teams must calculate how much work employees will have to do beyond their existing responsibilities to change over to new processes. Go beyond that, and the initiative will probably run into trouble. Resources will become overstretched and compromise either the change program or normal operations.

    The Hard Side of Change Management

    Employee morale will fall, and conflict may arise between teams and line staff. To minimize the dangers, project managers should use a simple metric like the percentage increase in effort the employees who must cope with the new ways feel they must contribute. They should also check if the additional effort they have demanded comes on top of heavy workloads and if employees are likely to resist the project because it will demand more of their scarce time. Companies must decide whether to take away some of the regular work of employees who will play key roles in the transformation project.

    Companies can start by ridding these employees of discretionary or nonessential responsibilities. In addition, firms should review all the other projects in the operating plan and assess which ones are critical for the change effort. At one company, the project steering committee delayed or restructured out of subprojects so that some line managers could focus on top-priority projects.

    Another way to relieve pressure is for the company to bring in temporary workers, like retired managers, to carry out routine activities or to outsource current processes until the changeover is complete. Handing off routine work or delaying projects is costly and time-consuming, so companies need to think through such issues before kicking off transformation efforts. As we came to understand the four factors better, we created a framework that would help executives evaluate their transformation initiatives and shine a spotlight on interventions that would improve their chances of success.

    We developed a scoring system based on the variables that affect each factor. Executives can assign scores to the DICE factors and combine them to arrive at a project score. Companies can determine if their change programs will succeed by asking executives to calculate scores for each of the four factors of the DICE framework—duration, integrity, commitment, and effort. They must grade each factor on a scale from 1 to 4 using fractions, if necessary ; the lower the score, the better. We find that the following questions and scoring guidelines allow executives to rate transformation initiatives effectively:.

    Do formal project reviews occur regularly?



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