Why Strategic Alignment is Essential to Enterprise Change Planning
Written by Karen Ball
Why should you bother with strategic alignment when you’re building change management capability? You know change management works for your organization because you can point to many project successes. Surveys reveal that employees value change management too. And your change team is ready and willing to take your organization to the next level. But before heading down the road to building change management capability, it’s critical to align your efforts with your organizational objectives.
Ready, AIM, Fire—in That Order
Many organizations make great progress with change over long periods of time without ever reaching that pivotal moment when they switch gears and begin growing change management as a capability. That’s because they’re two different approaches—project-based change management and capability building—and each requires a different strategy. To shift successfully, you must first align your thinking around your ambition, change maturity, enterprise change strategy, development plan, and much more. Without this, you’re firing without aiming because you don’t have a target.
Starting with strategic intent helps you:
1. Define your ambition
What’s your compelling "why" for building change capability? Does your organization grasp the connections and differences between project-based and enterprise-level change? Have you defined your future desired state? If your change leaders, leadership and others are misaligned, your efforts will be too.
2. Gauge your maturity
Where does your organization stand today? How do you rank in each of the 5 capability areas? Maybe you have socialized change management very well, have good application and competencies, but lack leadership and standardization. Or at least you think so. Measuring your precise progress and maturity in each of these important areas is the only way to accurately inform your planning.
3. Understand the Prosci ECM Strategy Map
This is the organizing framework for building an effective enterprise change management (ECM) strategy. Exploring this research-based approach at depth helps you understand the importance of five areas in your overall approach: leadership, process, project, structure and skill. Each area requires a different level of attention, depending on your organization’s goals.
4. Map out your organization’s unique approach
Developing your unique ECM Strategy Map includes creating tailored plans and tactics for each of the five areas mentioned above, enabling you to make strategic decisions. This also helps you brainstorm specific tactics for getting started, building momentum, and sustaining change capability. The result is a detailed and targeted planning document, which you can follow well into the future and check your progress along the way.
5. Identify actions
What steps will you take in the short term? What does your monthly roadmap look like? Who will execute what and when? Strategic alignment helps you capture and consolidate specific action items into a single list, and then prioritize and assign those key actions to others.
6. Plan your communications
Again, what’s your compelling “why” for building change capability within in your organization? Strategic alignment clarifies the importance of communicating about change management and enterprise change management within your organization, and helps you develop key messages, talking points, and elevator speeches to share with others.
Plan and Prepare To Build Change Capability
Organizational agility has become a strategic imperative for many organizations. Change is bigger, more complex, more cross functional, and more unpredictable than ever. As you commit to building change capability in your organization, or restart a misguided effort, planning is an essential first step to ensuring that your strategy clearly aligns with your goals and unique needs. This will enable you and your organization to move forward with confidence.