Let’s Change our Approach to Change

Change your approach to Change Management

“The world is changing very fast. Big will not beat small anymore. It will be the fast beating the slow.”

Said Rupert Murdoch, the media mogul who grew an inheritance of two small newspapers and a radio station into a mighty, worldwide empire.

Say what you will about Murdoch’s politics, personal life or his tactics – he knows how to be a small fish and win against whales. And he knows how to stay a whale.

He’s also failed hard, which makes him qualified to opine on the topic.

Murdoch spoke to what we all feel: the pace of change today is dizzying, and it’s unlikely to let up.

So how do we operate and dominate in today’s complex and uncertain world?

Accept that change is normal

There is an outdated perception that change management is step-based, or linear: create a series of plans, such as an OCM strategy, an impact assessment, communications and learning plans; get them signed off; and presto, you’re ready to deploy!

This per-project view of change management is no longer effective or efficient. It might have worked when change was planned, isolated, and episodic, but the contemporary business environment does not afford long preparation times, nor does it provide periods of stability for review and improvement.

These days, change is unrelenting. There’s even a trendy managerial term for it, appropriated from the military: volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous – or VUCA.

To be successful, we need to rethink how we do change.

To address the needs of today, in 2015 we partnered with Deakin University to develop a holistic model of change capability.

Change Wheel-01

How to do change well

Our research shows that there are three key dimensions.

  1. Change-ready environment
  2. Leadership commitment to change
  3. Effective application

1.    Change-ready environment

Are people ready and willing to deal effectively with change? In a change-ready environment, the workforce is comprised of individuals who are responsive to, motivated by, and ready to deal effectively with change. Front-line leadership creates an environment of support and openness during change, and leaders at all levels are trained in their role in change.

2.    Leadership commitment to change

Senior leaders actively role-model behavioural changes, encourage transparency and feedback, assume accountability for benefits realisation, and demonstrate commitment to building change capability at all levels in the organisation.

3.    Effective application

This means there is dedicated change management infrastructure and methodology used consistently, initiatives are prioritised strategically and resourced appropriately, and leaders at all levels assume responsibility for capacity management so that change demands do not overload employees.

Consider your organisation. Are these elements in place and working together? What can you do to improve?

Share this post