Why can some companies take advantage of any change the market brings, while others struggle with the even the smallest internal or market-necessitated modification? The reasons why will differ for each organization, but the question is definitely worth asking – especially in light of the fact that the pace of change is accelerating at the fastest rate in recorded history.
Companies most likely to be successful in making change work to their advantage are the ones that no longer view change as a discrete event to be managed, but as a constant opportunity to evolve the business. So is change readiness is the new change management? Change readiness is the ability to continuously initiate and respond to change in ways that create advantage, minimize risk, and sustain performance.
Sustaining success depends on an organization’s ability to adapt to a changing environment – whether it’s an external change, such as a transformative technology or a changing economy, or an internal one, such as a restructuring or key process overhaul. Unfortunately, 60-70% of organizational transformations fail – a dismal statistic validated by study after study. Failure rates this high demand a new mindset and new actions:
Change Awareness is a company’s ability to redefine itself as necessary. This contextual focus is critical to innovation – the right product at the right time. Good change awareness practices include scanning the environment for opportunities, focusing on emerging trends and planning for the future. Does your company have people responsible for regularly assessing the market for new opportunities and market changes? Does your company proactively search for opportunities for brand renewal and product innovation?
Change agility represents your company’s ability to engage people in pending changes. This is an internal focus that is critical to the company’s ability to effectively implement identified innovations. A great idea won’t matter if you can’t muster the capacity and commitment to carry it through. An organization with good change agility has the capacity to stretch when necessary and quickly shift resources to the place they will make the most difference. Leadership should inspire confidence and trust, and consistently. How agile is your company? How effective are your managers at engaging and delivering the changes envisioned by your decision makers? How well does your company actually facilitate and execute on change when it is needed?
Change reaction is the ability to appropriately analyze problems, assess risks, and manage the reactions of employees. This internal focus ensures your company can sustain the day-to-day business while reacting in a timely and appropriate manner to self-initiated and market-dictated change. How effectively do you and other leaders at your company assess risk and manage unplanned change? How well does your organization react and respond to crisis?
Change Mechanisms should encourage clear goal alignment across functions, the ability to integrate a change into existing systems, accountability for results, and reward systems that reinforce desired change behaviors. This contextual focus is critical to the ability to implement desired change with no interruption to daily operation. Are your structures and systems flexible enough to adapt and support the implementation of change? Does your organization have the structures and systems in place to support the successful implementation of change?
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