The traditional approach to change management has become outdated.
We know, for example, that 70 percent of change programs fail to achieve their goals, largely due to employee resistance and lack of management support.
Furthermore, research shows that people are 30 percent more likely to stick with a change if they are invested in it.
For businesses to improve performance, they have to change the way people behave across the board. The key to achieving this is a commitment to overall organizational change. This can only be achieved by changing the organizational culture fundamentally—from being reactive to proactive, hierarchical to collegial, or introspective to externally focused.
Considering the fact that the collective culture of an organization is the sum of all group and individual minds within it, changing the collective culture entails changing the minds of many individuals.
As a result, CEOs may look to psychology and other soft-skills mind-sets for guidance.
Although breakthroughs have been made in explaining why people think and behave the way they do, these insights have in general been applied to business only piecemeal and haven’t had a widespread effect.
In recent years, however, several companies have noticed that linking all the major discoveries to programs intended to improve performance has brought about resounding changes in employee behavior rooted in new mind-sets.
Performance-improvement programs that apply all of these ideas in combination can be just as chaotic and hard to lead as those that don’t. But they have a stronger chance of affecting long-term changes in business practice and thus of sustaining better outcomes. Based on our experience supporting change efforts in infrastructure organizations, we find more success when we pay attention to culturally appropriate principles.
For similarly consensus-oriented organizations, here are four practical ways to drive change.
Develop a roadmap much earlier and define the final state in detail. An organization's leadership needs to have a detailed description of the new model to engage and establish a fresh consensus early in the transformation process. Israeli companies launch transformations with a Macro-Vision and engage the broader organization to define it along the way. "Building a plane as we fly" is not an easy task, but in these organizations it's a necessity.
Engage the frontline very early on and provide opportunities for change to take place. Spend time in the field - on the factory floor, with salespeople, etc. - to clarify the details of the new model; anticipate issues; as well as allow the sharing of frustrations, apprehensions, and other emotional reactions. Support the front-line champions of change from the start. Do not assume that "immediate followers" at the second level of an organization will automatically follow the direction from the top.
Identify change blockers and map the organizational network. Organizational network mapping, which analyzes the networks that employees rely on in their work, is used frequently to identify and empower change agents. Identifying and mapping potential “blockers” is not difficult and even more important for a successful change. Actions can be taken to convert or neutralize change blockers early in the process.
Expose top management extensively, broadly and directly. The best ways to sell change to employees can be proved by one-on-one meetings, Q&A sessions with multiple hierarchy levels, and other opportunities. Even though these events sacrifice intimacy, they also override vertical walls, create division within an organization, and promote a call for action aimed at each member.
To summarize, in order to successfully implement cross-organizational change we need to have the focus on detailed planning, engaging frontline employees, identifying the obstacles, and making the change appealing to everyone. This will ensure that we're on the right track and keep us focused on our ultimate goal. The top management and other levels of the hierarchy must believe in change and implement it together.
Reach out today
If you’re interested in learning more about how these processes can be implemented in your own organization, click this link to reach out to Max Kaplan and his team.