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Sunday, 7 August 2011

Organisational Readiness for Change

Organisational Readiness for Change

75% of all organisational change management programs fail. What can your organisation do to improve this statistic?

Much has been written and practised regarding organisational change and change management strategies across various sectors, including the commercial and the not-for-profit arenas.

Management literature abounds with case studies that warn of the pitfalls and high failure rates. Analysing these in detail highlights a vast number of issues.

Leadership styles and approaches to change programs are often put forward as an indicator regarding the potential success or failure of change strategies and programs. Are your leaders managing or leading with regard the change? Is there a common agreed vision for what the end product of the change will look like? Are your leaders focused on what needs to be done or how it is going to be done?

Communication is also an often described attribute of successful or unsuccessful change. Is the organisation providing effective communication to offset perceived concerns of staff that the changes will not threaten their jobs? Is the communication timely and is it reaching those that it is designed to reach? Is the communication an effective two-way process so that staff are afforded the opportunity of questioning and relaying their concerns to management?

Inclusion and exclusion policies and behaviours are also often muted as indicators when it comes to determining success in change management programs. Are all decisions made in a top-down process or are staff included in that process? Are all change initiatives driven from central management or are ideas for such changes openly received from staff at all levels and then filtered throughout the organisation. What is the extent of ‘democracy’ within the organisation that enables it to attract broader ideas?

Leadership, communication, staff input, are all valid issues that are relevant when determining the potential success or failure of change programs within any organisation.

One additional factor however, is the extent to which the organisation is ready for change. This points to ongoing policies and frameworks that have been and are being put in place to ensure that staff not only accept and work with individual change initiatives, but are also able to envision a broader consensual approach to change. Such an approach results in staff viewing organisational change as opportunities rather than threats, resulting in a higher degree of success when individual change programs are initiated.

How does your organisation respond to such change? Is the roll out of change initiatives a daunting task fraught with the likelihood of substantial internal resistance? Are your strategies for such change initiatives somewhat underdeveloped?

Perhaps success in relation to organisational change initiatives doesn't come purely from planning and execution on a project-by-project basis. Perhaps success comes from building capability within the organsiation so change comes more naturally to those involved. Building the platform for successful change is perhaps more powerful and more beneficial than swift implementation.

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