We have been working with several large organizations lately that are trying to build their internal ability to manage ongoing change. Change is the new normal for many organizations. Managing how people adapt and adopt change is something that many are seeing as a critical competency.
Change Management is the discipline of helping people in an organization get ready, willing, and able to work in new ways that are required by a change. Many leaders that see a long string of changes ahead of them are looking to build an internal Change Management competency. They, in effect, are trying to build their change muscles so that they can handle the seemingly endless series of changes headed for them.
Organizations that build a Change Management competency do a few things.
First, they foster leadership sponsorship for employing Change Management. Leaders at the highest levels know what Change Management is and why managing change will help them change more successfully. And they are committed to making Change Management a strong capability in the organization. They are willing to stand up in front of the effort, to put money where their mouth is, and walk the talk.
Second, these organizations use a common methodology and model for managing change. Having a common Change Management framework across the organization builds a common language that shapes the way people think and talk about change. A common model also introduces methods and tools that can help people in the organization actually do the work of managing change.
Third, organizations that have a Change Management competency have a broad based understanding of the value of Change Management throughout all levels of the organization. Everyone has a baseline understanding of why people make the difference between successful organizational change and unsuccessful change, and why managing change is important.
These organizations also each have a strong and capable Change Management team. A group of people in the organization who are focused on supporting the organization as they begin incorporating Change Management into their projects and change efforts helps the new practices take hold. The Change Management group has highly capable team members, clear roles and responsibilities, and an appropriate or organization structure.
Lastly, organizations that have a strong Change Management competency reinforce effectively managed change. When projects succeed because teams have helped people in the organization engage and adopt new work, they are celebrated and rewarded. Leaders eagerly to put effective changes in the limelight, and the organization learns what successful change looks like.
If you see change coming at your organization like a speeding train, don’t hide. Instead, develop a change management competency. That way, you can face change head-on now, and you will be ready for all of the changes to come in the future.