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How To Invest In Corporate Change?

How To Invest In Corporate Change?

Companies have to look beyond just financial investments during change scenarios, writes management expert Debbie Nicol.

‘The Corporation’ invested in a major network upgrade. Why? So a new 24/7 business-operating model (with remote access for all) could be initiated and embedded into its corporate culture.

Was it the millions of dollars invested which would be key for this scenario’s success? On the surface – possibly, but in reality not at all!

Rather, it was how many people would be affected by the purpose of the project, and with 100 per cent of the people needing to introduce 24/7 thinking into their day to day lives, investment should not stop just at the network upgrade, but rather continue into dedicating resources to help the people accelerate through that change. As the adage goes: ‘Just because you build it, doesn’t mean they’ll use it’!

The allocation of dedicated resources will most certainly need to be customised for any company change, yet according to the Prosci 2012 Change Management Best Practices Report, without any resources at all, risk of project failure increases dramatically.

Executives often think that their role in change is to make executive decisions regarding resourcing issues such as – strategic thinking to provide scope and direction; particulars such as timing and dates; and resourcing in terms of time, finances and priorities.

Yet Prosci believes that once executives take decisions on resources, their investment must not end there, and must take specific actions as another way of demonstrating dedicated commitment.

Positive consequences of committing to both executive decisions and actions may include:

• Greater levels of understanding across the organisation

Priority would be given to understanding the impact each role will bring to the change, and the consequence of not having that role resourced.
For example the executive sponsor will see the need to initiate the ‘why’ discussion, clearly communicating the business reasons for this change throughout the organisation on a continual basis, keeping the message and him or herself visible and active at all times, regardless of what time this takes.

Once the business need for the change is clearly understood from the executive sponsor’s prioritisation, there’s more chance individuals will desire to assist.

• A connecting bridge between effort and result

There is a need to show a clear alignment between the risk level and the essential change activities.

For example a radical change in a change-resistant organisation would require different actions to that of an incremental change in a change-ready organisation. Justified and streamlined efficiency will be at the core of all change efforts, rather than unnecessary, unwanted and unsupported effort.

• Increased breadth of representation for the change across the organisation

To develop a change coalition will take time and heavy commitment, yet will yield huge returns. In effect, it represents multiple ‘executive sponsors’ at any one time and keeps the change alive even in times of the sponsor’s absence.

• Yields from individualised and customised approaches

As these priorities would reach all levels of the organisation, it allows individualised efforts for individualised needs. Each team member will be travelling a different journey through the change, and dedicated resources will send a clear message to the team that the degree of success is in their hands, and there is assistance to help you achieve.

Prosci’s 14 years of research continue to highlight the need for a dedicated discipline of change management during organisational transformation. In 2003, 34 per cent of respondents applied a Change Management Methodology, but this has now increased to 72 per cent in 2012.

When asking yourself what is the value of introducing a change management practice, don’t only measure it against the financial investment, but rather look at the purpose of the change.

Relevant to the above-mentioned case of ‘The Corporation’, with 100 per cent dependency of its success resting with the people’s speed of adoption, proficiency and full utilisation and willingness to work 24/7, how could resources, budgets and dedicated focus with executive action simply not be prioritised and allocated?

Debbie Nicol is the MD of ‘business en motion’ a Dubai-based business consultancy and learning organisation operating in the GCC and Asia.

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