9 Part Blog: The Reasons Transformational Change Can Fail – Reason 6.
One common mistake organizations make when implementing change is to view it as a project with an end date. This comes from a project management mindset, which primarily focuses on technical implementation. Under this way of thinking, once training is done and some results are seen, the initiative is proclaimed a success and complete. This occurs without realizing that implementation is only the first step in the eventual success of the transformation.
Transformational Change is Different From Change Management
One of the key attributes of successful transformational change is it embeds within the operating culture of the company. This is very different from standard change management practices. Under the current approaches used, once an initiative is implemented, it is then up to the company and its management to make it work. This is also where conventional change management fails. No transformational initiative will embed itself within the operating culture of the company on its own. For this to occur, there needs to be a shift in organizational mindset where the new approach becomes the accepted way of doing things. I refer to this as developing a transformational change mindset, which is an important part of the Transformational Change Model.
To embed and support this, a number of Organizational Anchors need to be in place, which include:
- Executive and managerial support.
- Ongoing modeling of required behaviors by executives and managers.
- Updating policies and procedures to reflect the new reality.
- Ongoing coaching for skills proficiency.
- Development of, and ongoing use of performance metrics.
- Regular communication to support success.
- Reinforcement of expectations through annual performance plans.
- Employee performance linked to career growth and advancement.
- Employee accountability through proactive action, collaboration and professionalism.
Every company to some extent, will have some of these in place. Examples include policies and procedures, a variety of performance metrics, and annual employee performance plans. However, many companies do not fully utilize these when implementing change management to embed the new processes, tools and expectations within their operating culture, which impacts their adoption. The use of Organizational Anchors is key to having the initiative become part of the company’s operating culture.
Moving Beyond Current Change Management Practices
Not only are Organizational Anchors critical to embed new processes, tools and behaviors, but they are also practices that lead companies to become best in class. Active focus on these build long term capabilities and expectations within the workforce. Eventually, this leads to a transformational mindset evolving, where employees see change as an ongoing process and an important part of their career, and what makes their organization unique.
In the next blog, I will review the risks of having an inexperienced project manager leading your transformational change initiative.
This article is based on my forth coming book Rethinking Change Management; How To Implement Transformational Change For Long Term Success, which will be publishing later this year. If you find this article helpful, please share and subscribe to our blogs and newsletter (insert link here). Stay tuned for further details.
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