Yes, it is if most organisations don’t change how they prepare for Change. Here’s a consideration: take the really difficult decisions as part of effective Front-end Loading, accept collective responsibility for these decisions and adjust to the emerging Change Reality.
What’s the outlook?
Let’s start this blog with a not so self-evident Truism:
People hear what you say and believe what you do!
Cutting to the chase with speed: what is the credibility of your C-suite and senior managers regarding their ability to match what is said and what is delivered regarding organisational change? If it’s anything less than the high 90%, before even starting, the current Change Programme is struggling.
The above is “topped up” by the quotation attributed to Peter Drucker: “Culture eats strategy or breakfast” – then it’s no wonder organisational change is more difficult than it needs be.
If you’re recognising these descriptions as applying even in part to your change activities, red lights are flashing!
In most change programmes what normally happens around now is more status meetings/updates and even some early looking around for likely recipients of blame. These are major contributing factors to why change is more difficult than it needs to be.
So what to do?
If you’re the Change Programme Manager, this is the tricky bit as it requires real organisational courage.
These are the situations where the C-Suite/Sponsor(s) look at you and commit full and enduring support, their almost limitless access for you to them and a commitment that this will be communicated and instructed down their lines of responsibility.
Let’s assume for a few seconds that they mean this. What is your reality regarding what often turns out to be empty promises and other priorities takes their attention away to more pressing matters?
Most of us utter words of thanks for their support while internally saying something like, “well, this will be the first time…”
Now to the organizational courage bit. Most Change Programme Managers and Change Team Leads I work with tell me they use Risk and Issue Registers effectively (Yes, Risks & Issues are separate things) that is what I’d expect to hear.
When I have a separate conversation about what their major challenges are in delivering the expected changes consistently, for brevity in this blog, three topics are consistently mentioned:
- Lack of access to the C-Suite for risk & issue management
- Lack of effective Sponsorship
- Lack of understanding at first & second line operational management of their part in implementing this change. Strangely enough they are almost 100% occupied with delivering their operational objectives.
All three are as a result of not creating a reality-based culture supported with meaningful actions by the C-Suite and through their reporting lines.
These three areas require to be changed to significantly increase the chances and opportunities available from effective change.
Assessing the health of your Change activities
Here’s three Reality Checks for the health of your change activities related to the content of this blog:
- When was the last time your Sponsor appeared and supported Risk & Issue Resolution, were they available when you needed them?
- Attended meetings when all committed to the agreed actions without reservation and by the time you got to you laptop several “disclaimers” were in your inbox. The next meeting consisted of the majority presenting reasons why their committed actions were not completed as agreed.
- When checking regular team/department meeting minutes, you find almost no mention of the change and impact on the departments involved. Rather more operational problem management.
If points 1-3 (and more apply) you have a really difficult time ahead. If any of the Points apply, you have a really difficult time ahead!
How many of the People/Organisational issues make it onto your Risk & Issue Registers, or is this “too dangerous”?
Most of the time it’s deemed “too dangerous”, and we do the best we can “in the circumstances because you know how it is here…”
So the pretense continues. Why can’t we have a mature Front-end Loaded conversation?
After all it’s in everyone’s interest for this Change Program to achieve its objectives…isn’t it?
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