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4 Determinants for an Organization's Ability to Implement Change

Regardless of the size of the organization or the nature of the change, four components consistently emerge as the key determinants for an organization’s ability to quickly and effectively implement change. While change is possible without all four components, the resulting effort will be unfocused, inefficient, and the outcome will be in doubt.

Executive Change Leadership

Senior leaders need to lead if they want their people to follow. If a change doesn’t seem to be a priority for the senior leadership of an organization then It won’t be a priority for the members of the organization. Senior leaders need to be seen and heard making the case for the change and spending time to make the change happen. Increasing the amount of time spent talking about a change isn’t enough. Senior leaders need to be able to connect with various stakeholders to make a compelling case for why a change is needed and paint an inspiring vision of how that change will look and feel.

Leader Change Competency

When a leader has an appreciation for how people respond to change and a methodology for managing that response, they are empowered to drive sustained commitment to the change within their team. When that appreciation and methodology is consistent across the organization, leaders are empowered to collaborate on a more holistic and coordinated approach that balances all stakeholder needs.

Change Planning & Execution

Accelerating change requires a sustained effort that proactively identifies and addresses sources of resistance and misalignment across the organization. Communication needs to be consistent across leaders and channels to prevent confusion and create a drumbeat of mutually reinforced messages that provide clarity and a sense of inevitability around the change.

Internal Change Experts

Organizations need Master Change Agents (MCAs) to train leaders to understand and manage change, coach senior leaders through their senior leadership approach, and coordinate change planning and execution. This will need to be provided by external experts initially. However, advancing and sustaining these components throughout an entire organization requires a cadre of internal MCAs to provide ongoing training, coaching, and planning support for change initiatives.

Building all four components of organizational change capability takes time and focus. However, the benefits of being able to effectively implement needed changes faster and with less disruption are more than worth the efforts.


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