Change-readiness vs change management
Since the inception of Change Management as a business concept, many organisations have latched onto one or more of the many change models out there in an attempt to mitigate the negative effects of change. Your organisation is probably no different.

But change today doesn’t follow a formula or a model. If the past few months have taught us anything, it’s that change is all around us and looks set to stay that way for the foreseeable future. As communicators we need to respond to this shift.

At Kademy we believe that rather than trying to manage change in a rigid way and at the point of communication itself, our time is better spent ensuring our organisations are always ready for change and that we can act as ‘facilitators’ rather than ‘managers’ when the time comes.

5 essential ingredients to prepare your organisation for change
It’s commonly stated that organisational readiness for change is considered a critical precursor to the successful implementation of complex changes. At Kademy we flag five areas that enable you to create a permanent state of change-readiness in your organisation.

  1. Commitment

In times of change we look to our leaders, but change champions also play a critical role because they’re often the ones chosen to facilitate, implement, and advocate for the change. Honesty, authenticity, behaviour modelling and two-way communication – these actions all help increase employee commitment, reduce fear, reduce resistance, and increase confidence so that you can gradually build the organisational acceptance of change as status quo.

  1. Planning

As a communicator you can add value by outlining the change as best you can and then helping your audiences see a clear path to the vision. Your goal should be to create something simple, realistic and relatable that clearly lays out why this change is worth fighting for, struggling for, and working for. Without it, your employees will constantly wonder what the point is.

  1. Stakeholder Engagement

To effectively communicate your plan, you need to identify your audience segments – this is your super-power as a comms professional. Uncovering which audiences will be impacted by the proposed changes and which will be involved in the change project enables you to target your communications more effectively and predict where the project might run into obstacles.

  1. Communication

This is right up there with stakeholder engagement as your speciality. Communicating clearly and frequently is extremely important when leading a company through change. Use a variety of channels and utilise your managers. They provide the best context and information for how change directly affects their teams and are who your stakeholders want to hear from the most.

  1. Training

A lot of resistance to change comes from the audiences’ fear that they won’t succeed in the new world. Help your organisation to provide employees with the tools and knowledge they need to be successful, and then make sure those employees know where to find those resources and how to use them to set themselves up for success.

How change-ready is your organisation?
The exercise below is adapted from our course Facilitating Change to Meet Organisational Objectives. It asks you to score your organisation against a series of statements related to the five areas above. When combined, those scores give you an insight into the current change-readiness of your organisation.

What your results mean
Once you’ve completed the exercise, you’ll have a total score for each of the five areas of change-readiness for your organisation. That’s a baseline for you. Use the guide below to learn a bit more about what your scores mean:

  • 4-8: This area is weak for your organisation and likely to affect its ability to weather change successfully. You’ll most likely experience resistance, missed objectives, and change fatigue.
  • 9-14: This area indicates a low level of readiness and could jeopardise the success of change. There are ways to improve, but because this area isn’t solid in your organisation it could easily become worse as well, so you need to pay close attention to prevent that happening.
  • 15-20: This score indicates a high level of change-readiness. You have a good chance of success in this area. Remember though, that all areas are critical so a high level here and not in other areas will still jeopardise change efforts.

Moving forward
It’s unlikely that your organisation scored high in every area. This provides you with an opportunity to improve the change-readiness of your organisation now, and better prepare you for the future. Key to success is:

  • Be prepared – review these scores with your team and double down on opportunities for improvement ahead of time.
  • Map out and understand the varied needs of your audience – this will inform what training, communication and planning will be most effective and where you need to concentrate your efforts.
  • Accept that change is the status quo and that there’s unlikely to be a neat beginning and end. This way you can stay agile and play an effective long-game!

 


 

Kademy’s virtual course Facilitating Change to Meet Organisational Objectives takes a deeper dive into this topic and progresses through each of the five areas for change-readiness systematically, providing tips and solutions for each in turn. To find out more, call us on +44 (0)207 157 9787 or email hello@kademygroup.com.