3 easy steps for creating a case for organizational change
A New Year sometimes means a fresh start and new changes. Here, Shaheen and Mumtaz guide us in a step-by-step process for creating and applying organizational change. So before you go ahead and transform that mandate for your business, read through this blog for some tips to create a case for change that you can confidently present to your peers.
Working in many organizations can lead us to experience change. The drivers for change may be external (such as the political climate and market changes) or internal (such as organizational, policy, or technology related). These changes impact people in different ways and must be managed to maximize the benefits of the change and minimize the negative impact on people. That is, to achieve a sustainable change that values people.
HiVE members are very passionate about social impact and creating a sustainable and inclusive economy that values people and planet above profit. To start managing change and to achieve positive social impact is to build a compelling case for change.
A well-articulated and persuasive case for change connects and inspires people inside an organization and sometimes beyond. To achieve this, leaders must define the case for change at the start, break it down into clear themes and initiatives, describe what it will look like at various stages, and translate it into an exciting shared vision. Here’s how you can create your own case for change in three easy steps.
1. Describe your current state
· What is the current state and what is not working well (or could be working better)?
· What are the indicators that change is necessary?
· What are the consequences or risks of not changing?
· What is the urgency (i.e. why is this change being made now)?
· How much time do we have to change?
· What do we need to start, stop or continue doing?
By describing the current state, you engage people by showing them the benefits as part of a change (What’s in It for Me or WIIFM). You can educate people on why this change is important to the organization, and how it fits in with the organization’s vision and values. For leaders, risk management is key, so describing the consequences of not changing speaks to intrinsic motivators and prompts action. For front-line employees, you combat resistance by describing the current state, because it helps build awareness of change. A lack of information makes it easier to conclude that change is failing. So, get out of rumour mill and communicate what’s not working well in the current state.
2. Describe the future state
· What is the vision for the change?
· What are the intended organizational outcomes?
· How does this change fit into the overall organizational strategy?
· How will we know when we reach the future state?
I’m sure you’re familiar with Peter Drucker’s quote, “culture eats strategy for breakfast”. Risk-averse cultures, past negative experiences with change, groupthink and departmental silos can all eat away at your case for change if you don’t define the vision and how you plan to get there. When you involve people from the get-go, they are more likely to buy into it.
- Involve people in building the solution by describing the future state.
- Become a true sponsor for change by communicating a shared vision that is relevant, practical and urgent.
- Tie the change to key performance indicators (KPIs) so that top management has clarity of purpose.
- Bridge the gap between top management and the rest of the organization by demonstrating alignment of the change with the organization’s vision, values and strategic objectives.
3. Describe the steps that will be taken to manage the change.
· How will the change be managed?
· What are the key milestones and dates?
· How long will it take to get to the future state?
· Who can I contact for more information, help and support?
People desire certainty and independence, so it’s best to communicate how the change will be managed with honesty and transparency — even if it’s not yet defined. At least tell them it’s being designed and describe the role they will play in the creation. Else, you will encounter what I like to call ‘FOMO’ — the “fear of missing out”.
People need to be heard and know that their feedback has been given careful consideration. People also want a stake in the game. They want to be part of something successful and part of the driving force. It is important to provide people with autonomy and goals, but especially critical to ask them how they can help. When people feel that their opinion matters, they are more engaged and want to work harder.
After you’ve built your case for change you will want to measure whether it is compelling and effective. Conduct a survey of your key stakeholders and ask questions such as:
· Is the vision realistic?
· Is the vision relevant?
· How well is the vision perceived?
· Do employees and managers have the same interpretation of the vision?
· Is the reality of change exposed honestly and openly?
· Can you tell me WIIFM and the key benefits of the change?
· What’s the motivation to change?
There you have it — the formula for creating a compelling case for change. Articulate your case for change frequently and you’ll quickly undermine the skeptics in your organization.
If you use these three steps to craft your case for change, your efforts will facilitate momentum throughout your organization, rallying the people you need behind the change so the new way of working becomes “the way it’s done around here”.
This blog post is co-authored by HiVE members, Shaheen and Mumtaz Chaudhary.
Shaheen has been advising clients for 10 years on digital technology planning, management, application development, and enterprise resource planning (ERP). He has worked for the world’s largest consulting firms such as BearingPoint, Pricewaterhouse Coopers and Accenture. He started his own consulting firm in 2006, in order to provide fresh and pragmatic advice to clients in Canada and the US, spanning industries such as healthcare, finance, higher education, utilities, technology and oil & gas. Shaheen firmly believes in taking an agile approach to analyzing and recommending practical ways to use business technology. His passions are emerging technologies, entrepreneurship and user experience.
Mumtaz is an organizational change management and IT service management professional with 10 years experience in delivering transformational change programs and building engaged cultures in large-scale and complex environments. With a certification in the Prosci™ methodology for change, and armed with experience in the post-secondary education, energy, heavy machinery and mining sectors, Mumtaz is a hands-on, high-quality and driven management consultant with proven agility. Her passions include leadership development, organizational effectiveness and learning technology. She is also a CMC™ candidate, working towards her designation in management consulting.
Connect with Shaheen and Mumtaz through Pragilis, here!