Assessing Organizational History, Readiness, and Capacity for Change Implementation
Assessing Capacity for Change Implementation
Change implementation involves a systematic and planning-driven approach designed to engage all involved parties and secure their buy-in for the change process. Several major elements for gaining widespread support for a transformation management plan include:
- Articulate a Vision for Change: This vision addresses why the change is important to the organization’s sustainability and to each team member. It also sells customers on the reasons the transformation initiatives are imperative. It is not enough, to give an overly global and vague reason such as, “This change will help us be leaders in the field.” Instead it is essential to paint a clear picture on how the change will impact the organization’s future success, the community at large, stakeholders, stockholders or the Board of Directors, and team members. People can align themselves most with a vision that is clear, concise, and specific.
- Engage Team Members across All Levels and Functional Areas: Involving cross-departmental and cross-functional representation sends the message that everyone is needed for the change to be successful. Additionally, it is critical that this involvement be meaningful and not facultative; this includes listening to team members’ perspectives and concerns, asking questions to solicit their opinions, and informing them of the impacts of their input.
- Review the Change Plan in the Context of the Organization’s History: Understanding how organizational leadership and staff have implemented changes previously and how they plan to do it this time is key to developing a strong transformation management plan. Do they plan to make changes impulsively, in a reactionary fashion, or with thorough and careful planning? It is also important to know how staff and stakeholders have responded to organizational change in the past. Do team members react with fear or excitement to the prospect of change? How do stakeholders respond? Answering questions like this will provide vital insights into how to best approach future or impending changes. If you know that team members or stakeholders are generally concerned that change will cause disruptions in practice or negative consequence, then additional time will need to be spent discussing these concerns and in demonstrating how these concerns can be mitigated.
- Assess Readiness: Looking closely at the current technology, programs, and resources used for business practices and comparing them with the end goal informs the planning process by identifying various strengths and gaps. The strengths can be ultimately leveraged in the change process and the gaps should be addressed when developing a management plan.
Although the process of large-scale change implementation can involve a host of challenges and may make many individuals working for an organization uncomfortable, the keys practices described here function to assure maximum buy-in and alleviate many of the common barriers to successful transformation implementation.