Tim Talks: Tactics for Growing Change Management Capability
Written by Susie Taylor
Tim Talks is an ongoing series of short videos featuring conversations between Tim Creasey, our Chief Innovation Officer, and the people of Prosci. Whether you're a senior leader sponsoring the effort to build enterprise change capability or a practitioner deploying change at the project level, you will find something helpful in these videos: context for the ADKAR Model and Prosci methodology, trends in change management, answers to your FAQs, and other topics that matter to leaders of change like you.
At Prosci, one of our defining missions is to enable clients to build their own change capabilities. Today I'm talking to Tim about specific tactics for building enterprise change management.
Tim, when we're talking about building a change management capability
across an organization, why is it important to approach that
with structure and intent as a change in itself?
Great question. Growing a capability in change management is fundamentally changing how we do change. I mean, this is a big change. We are talking about going from dropping things on people's heads the day it's announced to being thoughtful, and being prepared, and equipping people, and customizing our message, and understanding their unique motivators. We're really talking about changing how change happens in the organization. I think that's that transformation we're looking to encourage.
Now, that doesn't happen by wishing and hoping. It takes thought to fundamentally change how we do change in the organization. One of the traps we have seen some clients fall into is that they started doing good change management on a handful of projects and began to think that alone was enough for this thing to turn the corner and become an enterprise capability.
I have watched some clients make years of progress at doing good change management on a handful of projects, and they never hit that seminal turning point of treating "growing the capability" like a change. If we're not treating it like a change, we can't get the resources for it, get a charter for it, get a vision for it, find a goal for it. Once we formalize it and start thinking about growing the capability in change management like a change, we start to apply the structure and intent we need to get this journey to move forward. That's where we see clients get traction. These clients are the ones who are growing the capability with the structure, intent and organized approach that it takes to transform how we do change.
Susie Taylor is a Change Advisor at Prosci
What are the pieces or elements of that structured process
or that structured way of building change capability? What does that entail?
Treating "growing change management capability" like a change—I remember where I was standing when I had a realization. We had done all this research and built all the stuff around growing capability, but we hadn't been treating it like a change. I remember when I stepped back figuratively and said, "You know what? There's a current state of how change management happens today." I mean, that's how change management is getting done today. There should be an articulation of what we want to achieve, painting the picture of this vision of what it would look like if being great at change was part of who we are.
And once we get that, we need to figure out how to make the needle move. How do we move from where we are to where we want to get to? When we talk about treating change management capability like a change, it's about understanding where are we today, where we want to go, and how we're going to make that journey.
Sample size is an interesting thing. Because we have worked with so many clients around the world who are working to grow change management capability, we have been able to derive patterns that we saw work and some that didn't. If I'm a client and I'm trying to go from where I am today to where I want to go, there are five areas that make the path come to life in the ECM Strategy Map:
- I need the leadership action. That means leadership talking about why change management is important, leaders asking for change management reviews and updates.
- I need to apply change management on projects.
I have to figure out how to get change management attached to initiatives. It might be a few early pilots and then move into something else. It might be division one, then division two, but I need to be thoughtful about getting attached to projects.
- I need to build the skills at leading change, top to bottom, throughout the organization.
- I need some structure around the organizational footprint that supports change management in the organization.
- And I need to embed the people side of change into existing processes in the organization. Whether it's performance review processes, hiring, promotion processes, project funding processes—whatever processes exist already—where I can bring adoption and usage, and the people side of change.
So, to treat building capability like a change, I need to first ask, "Where am I today?" and "Where do I want to get to?" And then I need to identify the specific tactical levers I can pull across leadership, skills, structure, project and process to increase maturity and increase change management capability
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