Are we changing yet?


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I recently had coffee with a very gifted organizational change consultant and we got talking about different change challenges organizations face. She was telling me about one of her clients, a CIO for a large, global organization that is struggling to improve internal operations and performance.

The answer was no.

How will you recognize when change is happening?

How will you know if things are changing or if you are just spinning your wheels?

Will you know where you are in the change process?

How will you know when the change is complete?

While every organization has unique needs and challenges, it is important that you think about these questions. And write down your answers. The more you can do to recognize where you are in the change processes, the better equipped you are to make change happen.

Set specific change goals. And deadlines.

While some changes are harder to map out and recognize (e.g., organizational culture change) other changes (e.g., adopting a new system or adhering to new policies) can be mapped out with clarity. Whenever possible, setting SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, time-bound) change goals can help align efforts and drive action. Of course, these can then become the metrics against which both change and users are measured.

For example, many organizations do not even set specific user adoption targets when rolling out a new system. When I have helped organizations set targeted weekly CRM system use goals (like create 4 accounts week 1, create 3 opportunities in week 2, etc.) we have consistently seen rapid increase in effective system use.

Assign ownership and accountability

Making sure that everyone is clear on who is responsible for making the change happen, and how and when you will hold them accountable, is critical to your success. Many change efforts are focused on completing change activities, but they are not focused on achieving change outcomes.

If you want a specific change outcome, make sure your change leaders understand the outcome they must deliver and what happens if they hit/miss/exceed those goals.

Pivot when necessary

Change doesn’t happen in a vacuum and when you make one change, it kicks off a domino process. Other changes – some planned, many not – will happen. You need to make sure you are constantly monitoring your organizational landscape to address any emerging issues and opportunities.

But be careful. Pivoting to respond to emerging issues is important, and do it in a way that does not remove accountability for achieving stated goals. When you shift your goals (short- or long-term) make sure everyone is still clear on ownership, expectations, incentives, and accountability.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Jason Whitehead
Jason Whitehead is CEO of Tri Tuns, LLC, an organizational effectiveness consultancy specializing in driving and sustaining effective user adoption of IT systems. He works at the intersection of technology, process, culture and people to help clients actually achieved measurable business benefits from their technology investments.


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