After careful analysis and consideration, your organization has determined that in order to “take it to the next level”, there needs to be a change in strategy. The leadership team has done their SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats). They’ve uncovered a “Blue Ocean” that will deliver exponential growth, and have used Six Sigma methodology to optimize operational processes. Lastly, the Board of Directors has endorsed the new strategy and the organization is poised to implement the new Transformation (more sophisticated sounding than “Change”) initiative! Or is the organization really ready for change?
In full transparency, I’ve been there. I’ve led change and transformation initiatives for over thirty years in industries as diverse as Grocery Retail, Business Process Outsourcing and Wireless Technology. With the best of intentions and the security blanket of outside consultants, Gant charts and market intelligence, I’ve witnessed how even the best laid plans can still end up with less than optimal results! And in every case, one critical question was never fully explored: “Is the organization Ready for change”?
By “Ready” I am not referring to being properly staffed, fully funded or properly organized for the change. Rather, prior to embarking on the change or transformation initiative is there alignment on the vision, support from the culture, an understanding of the “resistors” and are plans in place to mitigate resistance?
I would suggest that prior to undertaking any strategic change or transformation effort, that organizations undertake a Readiness Assessment. As part of this assessment, four key questions must be asked, answered and addressed:
- Do Leaders at every level have a common vision of the change to come?
- Will the organization’s culture support or resist the change?
- What do we anticipate the will be the main resistors to change?
- How can we mitigate resistance to change?
Readiness for change depends more on assessing and addressing these issues, than the crafting the best transformation plan. In future discussions we will look at each of these questions individually.