Five Tools to Improve Change Agility

Your CEO just put it out there for all to hear.  “The pace of change in our markets continues to grow, and we just aren’t keeping up.  We need to be more agile to change.”

CEO’s in companies around the world have spoken similar words to their investors, employees and customers.  They see the trends in technology that support Moore’s law, which states that technology density increases at an exponential rate.  They understand that product lifecycle time is on the decline, meaning our supply chains and the organizations that support them must be more nimble.  They know that the future relies on the ability of teams of people being able to keep pace with the change in business.

This is when you realize that an enterprise-wide change management plan is long overdue.

By looking at how flexible the overall organization is to change in its current state, we can begin to move our teams to become more resilient to change and ultimately thrive on it.  We can see where our change originates, what stumbling blocks within the organization need to be cleared and how to build new behaviors that make us more agile to change.

So how do we do that?  Here are 5 things to consider:

Identify the current state and future state roadmap –
Develop a roadmap of where you are today and where you need to be in the future.

    • What are the cultural behaviors that need to change for the organization to be more adept at change? 
    • What are the behaviors that work well today that need to be emphasized?
    • Where does our change come from?  Is it technological, internal, external or something else?
    • Remember that change will occur faster than the roadmap, so be prepared to adjust course as needed.

Ensure all leaders are on-board –
Active and engaged leadership is critical to success.  The CEO has set the tone for change agility.  How do you make sure the overall leadership team is a part of it and everyone has a shared understanding of what the term “change agility” means?

    • Create a shared definition of “change agility”.
    • Tie the definition into your company’s vision, mission and operating principles.
    • Ensure the message is consistently delivered by the entire leadership team and not just the CEO.

Analyze and manage your stakeholders –
Define your stakeholders and identify their steps along the roadmap.  Use the same tools you would develop for an OCM project including stakeholder analysis, management plans, heat maps, power/interest matrix, feedback loops and training/communication plans.  As individual OCM projects launch, use this analysis as a starting point for the individual project work.

Align all OCM project level work with the enterprise change plan –
Larger change management plans should roll up into the enterprise-wide change management work to ensure that there is an understanding of how much change is occurring for stakeholder groups and to maintain consistent messaging around change agility.

Keep your stakeholders informed of progress –
Maintain a consistent flow of messaging on how the organization is moving towards being more agile through quick wins, leadership team updates, educational outreach and reminder messages aligning the change to the business vision, mission and operating principles.

Note that these are tools and tips rather than a complete methodology for enterprise-wide change management.  View the Prosci ECM program to see an overview of a full enterprise change management methodology.