Posted by: The Dynamic Introvert | July 24, 2016

Succeeding at Change Management by Lesley Taylor

Succeeding at Change Management

Change Ahead

I’ve been purging! No, I’m not on a diet but I am determined to clear my office of old files and papers.

In one of my filing cabinets I found tax returns dating back to the early 1990s. Of course, amidst all of the useless clutter I did find a few gems, including some notes on change management that I made in 2001.

In those days I worked as part of an interdisciplinary Change Initiatives Team at Providence Health Care (PHC). At that time PHC was well ahead of most organizations in its approach to change management and our team provided change management leadership and support throughout the organization.

Reflecting back on those earlier experiences with organizational change got me curious about the state of change management today.

A quick look on Google produced a Harvard Business Review article written in 2013 by Ron Ashkenas. Ashkenas noted that, in 2013, there were over 83,000 books on change management for sale on Amazon but that most studies showed a 60 – 70% failure rate for change management projects. He went on to say that this statistic hadn’t really changed since the 1970s.

Based on his experience as a change consultant Ashkenas recommended the following as being necessary for successful organizational change:

  1. Integrate the change into the organization’s overall strategic plan.
  2. Provide a common framework for employees to use; including a common language and tool box for managing change.
  3. Ensure that leadership and management, not Human Resources, nor outside consultants, are held accountable for the outcomes.

I believe that successful organizations will take these suggestions one step further and make leading change an essential component of everyone’s job. But in order for this to work businesses and non-profits will need to provide leadership development opportunities for all employees at all levels.

Some of the early experts in the change management field were interested in the question of how people experience change in their organizations. Later on writers such as William Bridges provided models and tools to help people deal with the psychological and emotional roller coaster that comes with organizational change.

If you contemplating introducing new changes to your team or entire organization here are 5 Critical Questions to ask at the outset. These were part of the notes that I found in my filing cabinet and they are as relevant today as they were back in 2001:

  1. Who needs to be involved?
  2. What would be different as a result of this change?
  3. What are the conversations that we need to have?
  4. What is the best way to have these conversations?
  5. How do we ensure that everyone has a voice?



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