When your organisation is facing change, where do you focus your attention?
August 3, 2016Change behaviours, Tips & Tricks
You focus on the area that needs changing, right? Well if that was your answer, then you’re in agreement with most. The traditional change management approach usually focuses on what we call the ‘receivers of change’, that is, those people who experience the change – the impacted frontline sales, service or support staff.
This traditional approach is typically structured, one-way and passive – to lead the ‘receivers of change’ through the why, what and how of the change. While supporting these receivers IS a critical success factor, experience tells us that success is largely determined well before these teams are impacted. And we wonder why 70% of companies fail when they try to change?
We think an important place to start is with your ‘Change Makers’. But more on them in a moment.
First, let’s consider the change intelligent organisation system, and how we define the Change Leadership roles within it:
- Change Architects: the executives who sponsor, fund and make the decision to initiate change. They usually imagine the solution or target state with the help of expert strategy or technology advisers (or increasingly with their own team members!). Change architects can also be delegates and advisers of the sponsor who provide input into governance committees and ‘guiding coalitions’ that steer the program.
- Change Enablers: these are the designers and builders of change, often regarded as ‘the project team’ and this group includes: change managers, project managers, business analysts, technology solution designers, builders, testers and a variety of subject matter experts. Their work includes the detailed design, build and testing of solutions (in rapid bursts or over more extended periods) to defined scope, timelines and quality standards. And done in such a way that the business can absorb the solution effectively.
- Change Makers: people leaders who have supervisory relationships with front-line, customer-facing teams. They are often regional or functional business unit leaders and play the role of ‘change translator’ for teams that are impacted by change. They are responsible for turning the Change Architect’s strategy and the Enabler’s prepared solution into an operational reality by translating, communicating and supporting their teams. It’s up to them to ensure the change is embraced, adopted and utilised as intended by the organisation and its people.
So where do you focus attention in YOUR change system?
We choose the Change Makers – the leaders and the managers of your front line teams. Change is either made or broken with them. That’s why at Blue Seed we call this critical group the Change Makers, not passive change receivers. It is through these people leaders, the Change Makers, that we stand a chance of generating a greater rate of change success so that more business value is realised from strategic change investments.
Indeed, the level of their Change Intelligence (or ‘CQ’) should be of paramount concern – after all, they help design, deliver and sustain change.
Through their decision-making, delivery methods and team leadership, they are responsible and highly influential in the process of shifting the organisation to its target state and to keep it there.
As a recent HBR article suggests “Cultural changes cannot happen without leadership, and efforts to change culture are the crucible in which leadership is developed. True leadership involves deviating from cultural expectations in ways that inspire others to choose to follow.”
This complexity emphasises the need for a coherent force to align all parts. At Blue Seed, we believe all these change leaders must deeply understand and ‘live’ change leadership from multiple perspectives, including the business strategy from which the change was born. Not just for best possible delivery success, but also to boost the long-term change capability of the organisation.
So how do you create change that lasts? You focus on creating Change Intelligent leaders that will ultimately lead to a more change-capable organisation, rather than simply delivering another change program. And you will save time and dollars by starting with your Change Makers.