Change assessment data gives you excellent insight into how to shape your change management projects so that they are structured for success. Using assessments early in change projects uncovers potential people risks that you can plan and prepare for. While ongoing assessments throughout your roadmap give you information to use when identifying where you need to spend more or less, time and effort during the change.
This article summarises a series of blog posts we have shared over the past few weeks and identifies 6 key things to bear in mind as you look to build your change assessment data findings into your strategy.
1. Turn data into actions
Over the last few weeks, we have been looking at how to use two change assessment tools early in your roadmap planning. The CIA (Change Impact Assessment) and the ILA (Initiative Legacy Assessment):
- The CIA measures and compares how difficult it might be for different individuals and groups to adapt to the upcoming change.
- The ILA provides you with an understanding of the key implementation challenges based on the legacy of change implementation done in the past.
Each change assessment tool provides data on key risk dimensions, and allows you to understand the highest people-related risks for your change.
(Example from the Initiative Legacy Assessment)
Once you have collected the data, analyzed it, and identified your top risks, you need to turn that understanding into actions. These actions should be focused on removing or reducing the identified risks; enabling you and other change leaders to drive through change that sticks.
Remember, that successful change requires people in your organization to move through the change cycle to become committed to that change. You will never get 100% commitment, but through proactive planning of actions to overcome your people risks, you have the ability to create a high degree of commitment to the change. Use your risk analysis to create the right engagement process.
2. Define actions in your engagement process
A powerful engagement process is specific for each organizational change. Think about the specific actions you will undertake to reduce the people risks you have identified.
3. Reduce risks through involvement
Consider your assessment results. Who are your high-risk people/teams? People feeling the greatest impact and the greatest loss of control are candidates for getting involved in the change as early as possible to gain buy-in. People are more likely to support and commit to something they have a hand in creating.
Consider whether you can involve people in the following activities:
- Problem or Opportunity Assessment
- High-level Vision and Solution Design
- Detailed Solution Development
- Organizational level/strategic implementation planning
- Local-level/tactical implementation planning and deployment
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4. Focus your learning strategy
What does your assessment say about learning, or training in the organization? Has it been successfully managed within changes in the past? Often learning actions are either run too late or too soon in the change process or even target the wrong skills.
A poor learning process can actually increase anxiety around change and risks increasing resistance.
Consider your ILA results around learning and develop a learning approach that uses the right mix of methods (online, classroom, coaching, workshops) and targets the right skills (technical knowledge vs behavior or value changes).
5. Craft communications to minimize risk
Consider what your high-risk dimensions are telling you about what communication you need to build into your engagement process. Remember, communication is not just one-way, and it is certainly not just emails or presentation slides.
- How visible have the executives and the sponsors been in the past? Are they ready to be visible around this change?
- What types of communication methods work well in the organization? Are there already two-way communication mechanisms in place that you can use (Q&A sessions or brown paper lunches, for example), or do you need to establish your own?
- Is there trust between the people in the organization and their leaders? Their line managers? Is this a risk area you need to reduce, or are there strong trust relationships already in place that will help your communication?
There is never a one-size-fits all communication strategy. Use your assessment results to think about what communication you need, who you need it from, when you need it and who is it targeting. Different groups in the organization, with different risk profiles will need different communication approaches.
6. Review your risks and focus your organizational change management activities
The specific actions you undertake to reduce people-risks will differ for each and every organizational change. Learning from others, and understanding what works across different change types and organizations is powerful knowledge to have. This knowledge allows you to shape the right approach to reduce your people risks.
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