How to Set Up Organizational Change for Success

How to Set Up Organizational Change for Success
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Organizational Change Is Inherently Messy
Since change is so constant, isn’t it surprising that we are not better at it? In fact, the record of successful corporate transformations is very poor—less than 33% make it successfully across the finish line. And yet change is something that every company needs to learn how to do if they want to stay competitive. Companies that hope to remain in the game need to learn how to set up organizational change for success.

Organizational Change Is an Ongoing Journey
First, leaders need to accept that organizational change is not “one and done.” Rather, change management consulting experts know that change is an ongoing journey. Throughout the process of change, leaders need to course correct as lessons are learned and to flex as unexpected obstacles force tweaks in direction.

Organizational Change Requires a Compelling Reason
Next, change leaders need to make a persuasive business case for change — a case that all employees can understand and support. Leaders need to clearly articulate the vision for change and create a collective sense of urgency for change.  Your objective is to make it as easy and desirable as possible for employees to change and somewhat uncomfortable for them to stay the same. In addition, leaders must model the desired behaviors, address any issues with transparency, and provide incentives for behaving in a way that promotes the change.

Organizational Change Needs Accountability
Successful change is more likely if you take two key steps:

  1. Project Sponsor
    Put someone in charge of the change so there is a leader held accountable for agreed-upon milestones.
  2. Measure Progress
    Set up a reasonable system of regular and frequent progress reviews so you can focus on what’s working and eliminate or improve what’s not.

Organizational Change Demands Discipline
Ultimately, the critical driver of successful change is rigorous discipline. Check-up meetings with reports on progress should be scheduled at least every week so that there’s time to recoup if critical milestones are in danger of being missed. Discipline is needed even as enthusiasm for the change wanes — maybe even especially then.

Studies show that the one-year mark of an organizational change initiative is a critically sensitive time. This is when change can be accelerated, or progress can be in jeopardy. Change catalysts must maintain focus on the prize and stay fully engaged. Otherwise, complacency or doubt invites failure.

The Bottom Line
Has your company set up organizational change for success? It is up to you to ensure you have taken the steps that support successful change — making the case, setting up a system of accountability, and maintaining focus and discipline.

To learn more about how to set up for change success, download The 5 Change Perspectives that Leaders Must Get Right

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