I was working with one of my customers this week, and he made an observation about the change readiness of his group. It triggered me to reflect - It has been years since I used a change readiness assessment! There was a time when it was one of my standard practices, I would work with clients on the assessment, and we would actually have a conversation about whether to go/no-go with the change. That was back in the day when change was more episodic, and it was realistic to postpone change or not do it at all.
Not so any more! Change is continuous in today's competitive marketplace. Whether your organization is change ready or not is probably irrelevant, since most change is a mandate not a choice at this point. My approach has evolved from asking the question of whether the organization is ready to change, to getting right to the work of building agile, change ready teams.
All that said, the fundamentals remain the same. The key questions that were included in change readiness assessments, are the key components to get to work on now for any organization.
- A shared vision that employees at all levels understand, value, and work toward
- Culture of listening, transparency, openness
- Strong and effective people development and communication practices
- Clear strategic planning, goal and expectation setting
- Employees understand internal business and external market forces and trends
- Employees are aware of why change is important
- Real teamwork and collaboration exists within and between work units
- Culture of accountability
- High level of trust between leaders and employees.
- Employees feel a sense of urgency or need for change
- The number of change initiatives currently underway feels manageable by employees who are most affected by any change
- Experience navigating or leading change
- Employees have confidence in their manager’s ability to successfully guide them through the change and transition to a new way of working
Successful leaders know the importance of getting to work NOW on these elements, so when a specific change does appear - the team is prepared and moves through it quickly and productively. This is the essence of having an agile, high performing team that can produce competitive advantage in today's global marketplace.