Has your Change Transformation Grown Roots in your Organization?
Reed Deshler | April 26, 2017
When we invest in an organization transformation, we want to see lasting results. However, nothing can be worse than a perfect design that seems to have a hard time gaining traction in your organization. So, how do you know if your change transformation is starting to take root in your organization? And, how can you gauge organizational buy-in?
For a change to be successful and have the desired market impact, it must permeate every facet of an organization—work processes, people, organizational choices, culture, and even documentation. These changes do not happen overnight and do not come without focused organization alignment, great planning, the right people, and robust change management.
If a change fails to fully permeate within the organization, you’re cutting short your organization transformation investment. Before you can fix a problem, you must know that there is one. The following describes five indicators that your change transformation is starting to permeate your organization:
Everyone says the same thing. Perhaps one of the best ways to see how well a change is taking root is by randomly selecting employees and asking them about the change. Can they provide thoughtful answers about the changes? Are their answers consistent and in line with the original intent? Do they have relevant suggestions to improve the change?
When employees from across the organization say the same things about a change transformation, you know you’re on the right track with your communication planning and change management efforts.
Evident in performance plans. Another great way to see how well the change has permeated your organization is by examining random performance plans for people throughout the organization. Can you see hints of the change? Are the performance plans consistent with the change? If employees are not individually focusing their work with the change in mind, chances are it will never fully take root.
Shows up in the way you work. A good plan that has been properly socialized and adopted by an organization will show up in the work processes, procedures, technology, and structures of the business. Successful change transformations are aligned and cannot happen in isolation. As a result, every facet of the work should echo the change and align and drive towards a common strategic plan. If the work doesn’t change, neither will the results.
Rewards for change. Aligned rewards systems are a powerful driver for a change transformation. Look for subtle rewards and punishments around the change itself. Are people rewarded for supporting the change? Are there signals that course correct behaviors and thinking that is old school?
If the rewards system is not aligned with the change, employees may not have the impetus to break out of their current inertia and experiment with new ways of working. A simple change to the rewards system can have drastic implications for the success of a change transformation.
Leadership alignment. While healthy deliberation and questioning can drive organization improvement, leadership alignment can be a tell-tale sign of change transformation success. Rooted change transformations have little or no dissention from leadership about the importance of the change and how it connects to the organization’s strategy. If the leadership team has a hard time aligning around the change transformation, you still have a lot of work to do before it can take root throughout the organization.
These five indicators can be helpful in monitoring change transformation adoption. However, much like a bad habit, recognizing problems in a change transformation early allows change practitioners and leaders alike to determine what tweaks can be made to modify behaviors and move the momentum forward.
To facilitate early identification of problems, the five indicators above should never be a “one and done” exercise. The most successful companies will constantly monitor their change transformation to see what levers can be pulled to encourage buy-in, change and performance improvement. The more successful your change transformation becomes, the more your investments in making strategy happen will be rewarded.