Have you ever witnessed change in an organization that is inconsistently implemented across different parts of the organization? Or a board-driven organizational change that fails to be implemented successfully because of poor local support, leading to compliance rather than acceptance of the change? These change failures happen because the organizational and local levels of change are not in sync.
It can happen in any size company. And it can happen in a one office organizational or a globally disperse organization. Failure by change leaders to consider, and address, both the organizational and local level success factors will lead to a failed change project.
Balancing organizational and local levels of change
To successfully deliver organizational change management, with any size change, there needs to be synergy and connectivity between the organisational transition process and the individual’s personal change process. Successful change implementation is about creating this synergy and connectivity: matching what the company needs with what the people in the organization can accomplish.
Remember, successful organizational change management is delivered through high levels of acceptance and commitment to the change. By creating strong engagement around a clear and powerful change purpose, organizations experience successful change.
Change leadership provides the connectivity between the organizational and local levels
At the organizational level, the success factors relate to the executive leadership, together with the organizational wide framework, that supports and provides direction for the change.
At the local level, the success factors relate to middle and front-line management having the skills and time to help their employees connect and adapt to the change.
The role of change leaders is to ensure that the vision and direction at the organizational level is linked to the actions taken at the local level. Without that connection we see two scenarios take shape:
- When your local teams have a lot of drive and energy to accomplish the change, but a lack of a clear link and alignment to what the overall organizational goal is, we see inconsistency of change implementation across the organization.
- Conversely, when you have strong executive driven change without links and synergy down through the organization to the local teams, we see a lack of understanding and a lack of commitment towards the change leading to high levels of resistance and change through compliance.
Supporting and enabling your organization to change is your organization’s overall change management capability: through upskilling, learning and providing the organization with the tools, language and processes to deliver change at both the organizational and local levels.
The elements of successful change
Through our work with many clients over the years we identified 6 critical success factors for change, which we incorporate into our People Centered Change Management methodology. Three success factors sit at the organizational level; three factors sit at the local level.
At the organizational level:
- CSF1: Shared Change Purpose: creating and sharing a powerful case for change in the organization
- CSF 2: Effective Change Leadership: Change leadership that provides direction, guidance and support for the change
- CSF 3: Powerful Engagement Processes: which actively engage the organization in the change process.
At the local level:
- CSF 4: Committed Local Sponsors: middle and front-line managers that take responsibility for the change in their area of authority
- CSF 5: Strong Personal Connection: people across the organization impacted by the change develop a strong personal connection, building personal commitment to the change
- CSF 6: Sustained Personal Performance: those involved with the change are helped and supported through the transition process.
We spoke last week about the important of the C-Suite in driving organizational change. It is critical for the senior leadership of an organization to address and achieve the organizational success factors, while ensuring that everything is in place to enable to organization to achieve the local success factors.
Over the next few weeks we will be discussing the three organizational level success factors in more detail. As a change leader you may recognize what needs to be done at the organizational level for your change to be successful, but along the way you will encounter barriers to achieving each of the CSFs. It is these hurdles that we want to help you overcome.
Learn more about each of the success factors, and how you can incorporate them into your change management approach here. Considering, connecting and aligning these critical success factors at both levels will help you deliver successful organizational change.