Change is hard. It’s even harder if you don’t know what you’re changing from, what you’re changing into, or how well you can handle it. That’s why our first step of Strategic Organizational Change is assessing your current state. We’re not just checking to see
where your organization is operationally; you need to know how prepared your people and organization is to adopt and adapt to the change.
Has your company undergone a whole series of reorganizations recently? Or maybe your office is still operating in the fax machine era? Either way, an honest reckoning with your organization’s capacity for change will make a difference on a project’s success.
Recently, a client asked for help improving their core business processes. Once we were engaged on the effort, we realized their problems were much more critical than trying to save a few hours of performance time. Not only was their organizational structure mismatched to their mission, the structures themselves had become so calcified that any attempt to make the slightest change to operations was likely to fail. Since management had not conducted an adequate self-assessment; we recognized quickly the situation and gave our honest evaluation and adjusted our business process improvement project into something quite different and more valuable to the client. We integrated critical change management elements into the project to address the gaps in the organization’s structural and cultural realities to prepare their personnel for the critical changes to their processes.
Before you launch a new project, it’s worth it to take time to conduct a realistic assessment of your organization’s change culture and capacity. Your people have a lot of information and know the “truth on the ground”- and it’s up to you to find it. Good self-awareness improves your project’s potential for success.
Do you know about lingering effects from that last IT implementation? How about the hidden issues from the previous reorganization? What support structures and tools do your team members rely on that you might not know about? Interviews, surveys, focus groups, and other engaging techniques with participation from representative groups will uncover potential invisible pitfalls.
With this information in hand, you can formulate a change approach and define a vision of your organization’s future state- that’s in line with the needs and expectations of your employees.