Managing Change Means Managing Reality

August is a time when the pace of a change program inevitably slows. Those with the responsibility for delivering business change can find it frustrating, but it can be reframed as an opportunity to step back and reflect on how things are going. 

Managing change means managing reality, not just a program plan – changes in human behavior cannot be monitored against a Gantt chart and people risks are rarely mitigated by a project office. When you are immersed in the day-to-day world of the program, it is all too easy to lose touch with organizational reality. Holiday time offers an ideal opportunity to consider the progress of your change program with a more dispassionate eye. What is stopping you from taking that same step back while you are in the here and now? How do you know whether your change program is making the intended difference to your organization?

A global pharmaceutical firm has needed to transform the way in which the organization interacted with customers. Members of the program team sensed that there were challenges with how change management activities were being managed – for example, that leadership was not on board because decisions were not being made effectively, and there was too much focus on technology aspects without thinking through how people needed to change as well. By taking the time to consider the change management approach, the team was able to appreciate the strengths of their program and identify what was actually going right, giving them confidence that they were heading in the right direction.

In addition, the team was able to understand the issues that they had been sensing for a long time, and identify some ideas for how these issues could be overcome. This in turn, assisted in building a case for investing more resource in the program. 

We offer a quick way to ‘temperature check’ the current reality of your change program using a change program assessment report that offers:

  • a full review, benchmarked against a proven change framework
  • an independent view of the reality you are experiencing
  • the confidence to make the right decisions.

Below is an example of an output from a section of our Change Assessment report measuring managers’ perception of the overall change management plan and approach:

By reviewing your change imperative profile, considering the balance of emphasis between driving and releasing change and identifying the strengths of your change program as well as the interventions that can close specific change gaps, you can quickly see whether your change program is heading in the right direction.

Teneka Polite (original posting, Nikki Keene) PA Consulting Group

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  • Colin Russell  On August 26, 2011 at 7:46 am

    Making good use of a time when the pace of a change program slows, to reflect, reframe and solve recurring issues – great idea!

    But speaking of global firms, let’s not forget that while August may be summer holidays in the temperate zones of the Northern Hemisphere, if you have project team members near the equator, their seasonal rythms are more likely to be set by the monsoon rains. Further south again, August is mid-winter.

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