13 Mar 2016
3 priorities from executives about change
by Melanie Franklin
While I facilitated a senior leaders event last week it struck me how often they raised the same 3 issues:
- How do we prioritise the change whilst maintaining business as usual?
- How do we know what the total impact of change will be – unintended and intended consequences?
- What can we do to make sure staff are really ready for change?
What do we learn from this?
What this tells me is that as change practitioners we might be talking about the wrong things to our senior leaders. Often I work with change teams who are developing their comprehensive change plan, using their own change management framework as structure. As this work is relatively new in many organisations they are keen to explain their approach to their sponsors.
Listening to my group of executives last week it became obvious that they accept we are doing all of this structural work. In fact they automatically assume we are following a best practice methodology for change because we are the change experts. They don’t want us telling them that we are just following a standard method but they expect we have structure and planning sorted. They want answers to their most important questions instead.
So maybe we need to sharpen up our communication:
- Define the scope of the change initiative in such a way that it answers the question “if we do this then it will help us to achieve our strategic objectives by ….”. If we do not describe our change in the context of the organisations priorities then how can executives judge its merits compared to other initiatives competing for the same resources.
- Walk them through the results of our Impact Analysis and make sure we regularly revisit the Impact Analysis to seek out more detailed consequences of the change.
- Use Change Readiness Assessments and a dashboard of participation/involvement by those affected by the change to bring issues about lack of preparation to the relevant executives attention.
Let’s work closely with those ultimately held accountable for change to give them the answers they really need and not just the progress that we are most proud of.