2021 was a challenging year for Change Management professionals who had to continue to work around ongoing business disruption - more or less as part of their daily workload.
But what does 2022 hold in store?
Without doubt, a big commitment to change will be needed - both top-down and across organisations - to get them back on course. With business operations that are fit for a post-pandemic environment which is likely to continue to be full of volatility and many unknowns. Organisations are also likely to need a combination of resilience and acceleration to ride out re-occurring storms including the ability to quickly pivot to exploit new and emerging opportunities.
In our annual look forward our CEO Audra Proctor sees 3 key trends in particular, that will characterize the Change environment next year.
1. More people will come into the Change Management community 'accidentally'
These ‘accidental change agents’ are likely to be dealing with a post-pandemic environment that continues to require all-hands-on-deck. Alongside this, time-poor business leaders and their teams will need fast, cost-effective access to skills, tools, and know-how that enables them to get up to speed quickly. We see them placing a high premium on short, high-impact learning interventions - like video modules and on-demand learning pathways - that grow with business needs.
What customers want is also changing. Not only do organisations need to be in a constant state of vigilance, rethinking and making rapid and incremental adjustments. But they need to be delivering against bold agendas. Really doubling down on digitization – which includes making significant transformational investments that will require mastery of fast, effective, and coordinated large-scale business change.
2. Change Management is still Change Management (regardless of definition)
However, the focus for practitioners of Change Management will be on helping re-design their organisation for continuous adaptation.
This means getting transferable skills and tools quickly to distributed and remote individuals and teams. All of which will enable you to engage an agile workforce in a quick and cost-effective manner. Talent development strategies also need to keep up – Change Management has to be literally ‘everyone’s business’ and not just the 'special sauce' of a small number of experts in the organisation.
Since 2020, the digital plans of many organisations have accelerated, and yet – as McKinsey points out – the digital success story of shifting people to remote working has not been replicated in many other operational areas. But the upside on this is big for organisations that get it right in 2022 – with some 70 percent of CEOs thinking that the increased use of digital technologies will be critical to their productivity-improvement efforts over the next three years.
2. CMOs and their sponsors will need to get comfortable with SaaS based approaches
This is going to be essential to automate and accelerate what they can in their current functions. The fair assumption would be that there is less time, talent, and financial bandwidth to keep creating and reinventing the wheel as they look to focus on execution in their role.
Digital is changing the reach and pace of change management. With more accessible solutions – many ready to use ‘out-the-box’- or with minimal customization and support from expert Change Management providers.
Are you ready for the opportunities - and uncertainties - of 2022?
Talk to us now about how we can get you off to an Agile start, with a management pathway to change capabilities that enable rapid responses to the kind of fast changing circumstances you are likely to encounter next year.