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Critical Success Factors
The need to effect organizational change may be stimulated by many factors, including a desire to increase agility, consistency, predictability, effectiveness and efficiency. Major change can expand organization performance capability and capacity, reduce re-work, improve time to market and increase productivity.
MAKING CHANGE HAPPEN
Many CIOs and organizations find that they need help with “organizational change management” to achieve high performance. In addition to building mission-critical software, Computech offers transformation expertise to help our clients increase their agility and performance. Our transformation programs typically follow a lifecycle, and we employ a set of practices to frame our execution. We focus on customer value, support people as they learn new skills to be successful and identify quick wins while preparing for the marathon. We use the Goal-ProblemSolution approach to target change, and set up metrics to influence, communicate and track progress.
Assess & Plan
Marathon for sustainable change || Short cycles delivering value
For sustainable change, we: Make the new easier than the old; Focus on practices and skills to achieve success, not artifacts; Embed knowledge experts in key activities for knowledge transfer; Provide one-on-one coaching and mentoring; and Deliver staff development and targeted training. We anchor all activity in customer value, leverage the knowledge within an organization and energize existing leadership and staff.
CRITICAL SUCCESS FACTORS
The success of a culture change or process improvement (PI) initiative depends primarily on two factors: the sustained and visible leadership of change agents, especially in management at all levels, and the institutionalization of desired practices and behaviors. To achieve culture change, you must have the following five elements: 1. A compelling call to action; 2. A reward system aligned with the change; 3. Adequate resources to implement the change; 4. Credible knowledge and skills to guide the change; and 5. A detailed action plan and schedule. In a culture change initiative, you need to have change agents and leaders throughout your organization. They inspire your people to adopt new practices and form new work habits. You need change agents in your project teams, in your functional groups, in your divisional units and in your community of co-workers. The more role modeling you have for your change, the faster that change will take hold. When an individual inspires others to apply best practices intelligently, to be more effective and efficient in their activities, this key player has become a leader in your culture change effort. This change agent will contribute to changing your culture to a culture of best practices and a culture capable of consistently meeting your commitments. Effective culture change means addressing barriers early. This can mean the difference between a well-positioned initiative and one that is likely to flounder. Your goal is to minimize the confusion, frustration, burnout, and cynicism of your practitioners, managers, and change agents, and not allow additional barriers to be created. You want to realistically estimate and plan what it takes to succeed at instituting your best practices. You want to minimize the “thrashing” period when little PI progress is seen and business results appear far from the horizon. Learn from organizations similar to yours that have been engaged in PI and culture change. Learn from experts, educate yourselves from relevant publications and get the appropriate training and find credible guides for your change effort. You want to focus on quickwins and early corrective actions. You want to involve, support, and respect your people throughout the change initiative. You understand that culture change is about people collaborating, cooperating, and wanting to adopt the new or improved practices. Mandating change using negative reinforcement rarely works and is hard to sustain for the long term.
Quick wins can give your organization early successes and results. Visible benefits from your change effort within 6-12 months are likely to increase your momentum and your people’s resolve to succeed at PI and culture change. At the start of your change effort, you need to come up with a list of improvement actions that can be implemented in 4-8 weeks, as well as a list of longer-term actions. Benefits from many of these quick win activities are likely to be visible within 4-6 months of the start of their implementation. Resist the temptation to institute too many new processes and practices concurrently. Do not overwhelm your people with too many changes at once. Focus on the practices that help you deliver quality products more cost effectively, with reduced rework and fewer schedule delays. Focus on creating a less crisis-driven work environment for your organization. Ensure that the best practices you have already instituted are continuously improved and are evolving with your organization and its direction. Focus your energy on coaching your managers and practitioners in how to appropriately scale your practices to fit your projects.
To succeed at culture change, you must believe that change is possible. People can successfully learn new work habits and behaviors in the face of the right kind of impetus. The key to getting people to change their behavior sometimes lies with the smallest details of their immediate situation. The power of context says that human beings are a lot more sensitive to their environment than they may seem. Contagion is sensitive to the conditions and circumstances of the times and places in which it occurs. The impetus to engage in a certain kind of behavior is not necessarily coming from a certain kind of person but from a feature of the environment. Incentives and rewards, recruitment and promotion criteria need to be aligned with the goals of your culture change. Strong and steadfast leadership must create a climate where change can succeed. People determined to continue to do things “the way they’ve always done them” need to understand that not all their existing practices will continue to be acceptable. Successful corporate culture must value people Respect their expertise and experience, support them in their struggles to learn and master new practices and set realistic schedules with adequate budgets.
1. Creating a climate where change can succeed 2. Sending messages consistent with organization’s direction 3. Realistically estimating time and effort for culture change 4. Demonstrating visible, active involvement
A Self Assessment Scorecard for Managing Culture Change This scorecard can be used by organizations involved in culture change initiatives for self-assessment. Rate the effectiveness of your leadership actions in managing your change effort. If possible, use a web survey tool that provides automatic survey results and analyses in graphic form. Design it for maximum objectivity. Maintain the anonymity of your survey participants and encourage the use of comments and actionable suggestions for improvement. This self-assessment survey can be conducted twice a year, to give your leadership team early feedback for corrective action.
5. Limiting number of top priorities 6. Communicating change effort continuously 7. Letting the people drive the change 8. Encouraging the use of professional judgment 9. Demonstrating ownership of process improvement and belief in it 10. Focusing on actions that produce results early 11. Emphasizing role modeling and coaching 12. Reacting to critical incidents effectively 13. Rewarding improvements 14. Staying the course for the long term
Effective culture change is about creating contagious movements.
We often have to create many small movements first at the individual and team level. We need to find changes that can have big effects, such as using peer reviews to reduce defects and expensive rework late in the project lifecycle. Many incremental changes together can result in a culture change. Big changes can follow from small events, as more and more people experience the benefits of your new practices. When enough people use a practice naturally, without being asked (because the practice has become part of their work habits) then it will make sense for everyone else to use that practice, because “it is the way we do things around here,” and it has truly become part of your organization’s culture. For more about our change management expertise, please contact us by phone, email, or at www.computechinc.com
Larry Fitzpatrick, President 301.656.4030 firstname.lastname@example.org
Al Dominick, Vice President 301.656.4030 email@example.com
Rita Hadden, Director 301.656.4030 firstname.lastname@example.org