5 Tips On Change Management Makeover

by CXOtoday News Desk    Aug 07, 2015

change

Change management as it is traditionally applied is no longer in vogue. Yet several studies have found that change methodologies are stuck in a predigital era. A McKinsey report states that 70 percent of change programs fail to achieve their goals, largely due to employee resistance and lack of management support. However with nearly 30 percent companies trying to apply new digital tools and practices to make change more meaningful itself suggest that its time change management needs a makeover. Companies can do this by stepping up digital initiatives to make internal change efforts more effective and enduring, believe McKinsey researchers.

In a recent research report, researchers offer some essential tips on changing the change management process

1. Provide just-in-time feedback

The best feedback processes are designed to offer the right information when the recipient can actually act on it.

Just-in-time feedback gives recipients the opportunity to make adjustments to their behavior and to witness the effects of these adjustments on performance, say McKinsey researchers. Even a simple SMS system, if monitored effectively can help in increasing cross-selling and upselling rates.

2. Personalize the experience

Personalization is about filtering information in a way that is uniquely relevant to the user and showing each individual’s role in and contribution to a greater group goal. An easy-to-use system can be an effective motivator and engender positive peer pressure, say researchers.

According to them, this worked brilliantly for a rail yard looking to reduce the idle time of its engines and cars by up to 10 percent. It implemented a system that presented only the most relevant information to each worker at that moment, such as details on the status of a train under that worker’s supervision, the precise whereabouts of each of the trains in the yard, or alerts indicating which train to work on. Providing such specific and relevant information helped workers clarify priorities, increase accountability, and reduce delays.

3. Sidestep hierarchy

Creating direct connections among people across the organization allows them to sidestep cumbersome hierarchal protocols and shorten the time it takes to get things done. It also fosters more direct and instant connections that allow employees to share important information, find answers quickly, and get help and advice from people they trust.

The researchers give the example of a rail-yard where, a new digital communications platform was introduced to connect relevant parties right away, bypassing middlemen and ensuring that issues get resolved quickly and efficiently. For example, if the person in charge of the rail yard has a question about the status of an incoming train, he or she need only log into the system and tap the train icon to pose the question directly to the individuals working on that train. Previously, all calls and queries had to be routed through a central source. This ability to bridge organizational divides is a core advantage in increasing agility, collaboration, and effectiveness.

4. Build empathy, community, and shared purpose

In increasingly global organizations, communities involved in change efforts are often physically distant from one another. Providing an outlet for colleagues to share and see all the information related to a task, including progress updates and informal commentary, can create an important esprit de corps.

Specific tools are necessary to achieve this level of connectivity and commitment. Those that we have seen work well include shared dashboards, visualizations of activity across the team, “gamification” to bolster competition, and online forums where people can easily speak to one another (for example, linking a Twitter-like feed to a work flow or creating forums tied to leaderboards so people can easily discuss how to move up in the rankings).

This approach worked particularly well with a leading global bank aiming to reduce critical job vacancies. The sourcing team made the HR process a shared experience, showing all stakeholders the end-to-end view—dashboards identifying vacancies; hiring requisitions made and approved; candidates identified, tested, and interviewed; offers made and accepted; and hire letters issued. This transparency and openness built a shared commitment to getting results, a greater willingness to deliver on one’s own step in the process, and a greater willingness to help one another beyond functional boundaries.

5. Demonstrate progress

Organizational change is like turning a ship: the people at the front can see the change but the people at the back may not notice for a while. Digital change tools are helpful in this case to communicate progress so that people can see what is happening in real time. More sophisticated tools can also show individual contributions toward the common goal. We have seen how this type of communication makes the change feel more urgent and real, which in turn creates momentum that can help push an organization to a tipping point where a new way of doing things becomes the way things are done, say McKinsey researchers.