“Ready, Steady, Go” is an instruction which is typically given when starting a race. These three words help an athlete to get into their pose, stop all movements and then start running towards the finish line. So before the running begins, there is preparation time and false starts are avoided.
However most organizations don’t invest adequate thought, time & efforts to getting the organization ready for change. In some organizations it could be “Go, Steady, Ready” as they want to start the change even before the people are ready for change. Unfreezing (Lewin, 1947) is an important step, also the most forgotten step, in change. This step helps to prepare people in an organization for change. The Unfreezing phase may vary based on the complexity of change, just as preparation time may vary for sprint, marathon or climbing Everest.
Here are a few thoughts to ensure the readiness of an organization for Change…
Shared Vision – Co-creating a shared vision for the change by including all stakeholders. The truth is that unless everyone signs up for the change program, it will be difficult to create synergy. This synergy can be achieved by including everyone in the development of the vision for the change.
Message – It is important to articulate and cascade a powerful message for Change. This message should be simple, appeal to all audiences across the organization and be able to trigger the required emotions to support the change. This calls for increasing the capability of leaders in effective communication and being able to authentically connect with people for facilitating change.
Team – Ensuring an effective Change Team consisting of a Change Leader, core members and champions across the organization. A team is more effective compared to having just one individual to lead the change as complimentary skills are required to facilitate the change program.
Influence – Adopting an appropriate influence strategy to suit the context. The influence strategy may vary based on the complexity of the change, the target audience and any related factors.
Engagement – Build the engagement of the employees for the change program by involving them, sharing information relating to change through multiple sources, gauging and dealing with resistance, developing their capability and increasing their desire for the change.
Process – Develop an appropriate change process or choose an already available change process to facilitate the change as it is critical to include all the factors that can impact the change like the structure, systems, strategy etc to ensure an integrated approach to change.
These would be some of the critical few to be ensured for achieving the readiness of an organization for change.
What else need to be considered for ensuring organization readiness – your thoughts?
Institute of Organization Effectiveness