There is now a lot of attention and focus on data. However, is the same applied for change management data? With the substantial financial investments companies make in change efforts, there’s a growing recognition of the need to leverage change management data strategically. Senior managers and executives are increasingly demanding data-driven insights to make informed business decisions. Here, we explore the challenges associated with change data, the strategic approaches to managing it effectively, and how incorporating it into the decision-making process can drive organizational success.
Common Challenges in Working with Change Data
Ad hoc and Tactical Approaches One common challenge in working with change data is the ad hoc and tactical nature of its collection. Often, data is gathered as needed, primarily at the project level. This can result in a fragmented view of change initiatives, making it challenging to derive meaningful insights. For instance, progress data may be limited to generic metrics such as the number of change impact sessions or completed training sessions, lacking depth and context.
Data Insufficiently Fact-Based Another prevalent issue is the creation of data that lacks a solid factual foundation. Change practitioners sometimes rely on gut-feel ratings or broad categories that are difficult to defend or substantiate infront of stakeholders. Heatmaps, a popular visualization tool, may be based on subjective assessments rather than objective, quantifiable measures, hindering the data’s credibility and utility.
Ineffective Data Visualizations Data visualizations play a crucial role in conveying information effectively. Unfortunately, some visualizations fall short of making a significant impact. Whether they are overly colorful, fail to use the right chart to highlight key points, or present data in a way that obscures the primary message, ineffective visualizations can impede the decision-making processes.
Seeking Easy Fixes Many change practitioners view working with data as a chore and opt for quick fixes. They may collect just enough data to generate a report or dashboard, neglecting the importance of a thorough understanding and management of the data. This short-sighted approach can compromise the quality and reliability of the insights derived from the data.
Strategic Approaches in Working with Change Data
Strategic approaches to manage change data can result in significant value for the organisation. Imagine the power of a range of change management data that highlights anything from impact levels, saturation risks, sentiments, adoption risks and benefit realization progress. Such is the power of change data, if managed effectively. What are some of these strategic approaches?
Managing Data as a Core Routine To address the challenges associated with ad hoc and tactical data collection, organizations must establish routines for managing change data. Monthly data reviews, updates, and audits create a disciplined approach to ensure the data remains accurate, relevant, and valuable. By making data management a core routine, organizations foster a culture of accountability and accuracy. This can be applied across a large program, a business unit, a portfolio of initiatives or across the enterprise.
Leveraging AI for Data Auditing and Cleansing Artificial Intelligence (AI) can play a pivotal role in auditing and cleansing change data. Platforms like The Change Compass offer features that automate these processes, reducing the likelihood of errors and ensuring data integrity. AI-driven tools can identify inconsistencies, outliers, and inaccuracies, providing a more reliable foundation for decision-making.
Linking Change Data with Other Business Sources The true power of change data emerges when it is connected with other relevant business data sources. By integrating change management data with project data, HR data, risk data, and operations data, organizations gain a holistic view of their business landscape. This interconnected approach allows for a comprehensive understanding of key business risks and opportunities, facilitating more informed decision-making.
Incorporating Data into Decision-Making Bodies Change data should not exist in isolation; it should be integrated into key decision-making forums and processes. From executive leadership forums and strategic planning sessions to portfolio planning and operational meetings, incorporating change data into these discussions ensures that insights derived from the data inform critical business decisions. This alignment helps organizations proactively address challenges and capitalize on opportunities.
While recognizing the strategic importance of change data is a significant step forward, change practitioners must actively implement practical measures to enhance their approach to change data management. Here are some recommendations to help change practitioners become more strategic in their utilization of change data:
Standardize/Routinize Data Collection Processes: o Develop standardized processes for collecting change data across different projects and initiatives. o Implement consistent data collection templates and methodologies to ensure uniformity and comparability of data across initiatives and business units
Invest in Training and Skill Development: o Provide training for change practitioners on data management best practices, including data collection, analysis, audit and interpretation. This is critical to drive data capability and maturity. o Foster a data-driven culture within the organization by equipping practitioners with the necessary skills to leverage data effectively.
Utilize Technology and Automation: o Embrace technological solutions, such as data analytics tools and AI-driven platforms, to automate data auditing, cleansing, and visualization processes. o Leverage technology to streamline data collection and reporting, reducing manual effort and minimizing the risk of errors.
Encourage Cross-Functional Collaboration: o Facilitate collaboration between change management teams and other departments, encouraging the sharing of data and insights. o Establish cross-functional teams to integrate change data with project data, HR data, and other relevant business sources.
Implement Data Governance Frameworks: o Develop and implement robust data governance frameworks to ensure the accuracy, security, and compliance of change data. o Define roles and responsibilities for data management within change initiatives, promoting accountability and ownership.
Enhance Data Visualization and Reporting: o Invest in training or hiring professionals with expertise in data visualization to create compelling and impactful reports. o Tailor visualizations to the audience, ensuring that key messages are communicated clearly and effectively.
Conduct Regular Data Reviews and Audits: o Establish a routine for regular data reviews, updates, and audits to maintain the accuracy and relevance of change data. o Use audits as an opportunity to identify and rectify data discrepancies or inconsistencies.
Integrate Change Data into Decision-Making Processes: o Actively participate in executive leadership forums, strategic planning sessions, and other decision-making bodies. o Present change data alongside other relevant business data to contribute to well-informed decision-making.
Measure and Communicate Value: o Develop metrics to measure the value generated by change initiatives and communicate these metrics to key stakeholders. o Regularly assess the impact of change data on decision-making processes and adjust strategies accordingly.
Seek Continuous Improvement: o Foster a culture of continuous improvement within the change management function. o Encourage practitioners to reflect on past experiences, learn from challenges, and refine their approach to change data management over time.
The strategic management of change data is not just a necessity but a critical component of achieving business success in today’s dynamic environment. By addressing common challenges and adopting strategic approaches, organizations can unlock the true potential of change data. As the business landscape continues to evolve, leveraging data-driven insights becomes a strategic imperative for navigating change, mitigating risks, and capitalizing on opportunities. Embracing change data as a strategic exercise positions organizations to not only survive but thrive in an ever-changing marketplace.
Why Nailing the Right Change Management Metrics is Critical and Can Make or Break Your Reputation
As organizations strive to adapt and thrive in dynamic environments, how change management is tracked has become a strategic imperative. However, the success of any change initiative hinges not only on effective planning and execution but also on the ability to measure and communicate its impact accurately. After all, without the right measures how do we know that we are moving in the right direction? In this article, we explore critical change management reports that executives value in shaping organizational understanding and decision-making. We delve into the metrics that may compromise your credibility and, more importantly, highlight the metrics that executives truly value, providing a roadmap to creating reports that resonate with leadership.
Reading your executives and where they are
Prior to designing the right change management reports and metrics it is absolutely essential that you understand where they are coming from. Understanding their key concerns and perspectives will help you design the right content to engage them. Key questions you may want to delve into include:
What issues are top of mind for executives when it comes to managing change?
What has worked or not worked well in the past for change that should be taken into account?
How experienced are these executives in driving complex change?
Putting your strategic hat on, what are the key business performance challenges that executives are facing into? What are the people and change connections to these?
What are the top key organisational risks that executives are focused on? What are the people and change connections to these?
Metrics That May Downgrade Your Credibility
Vanity Metrics – Metrics That Don’t Connect to Business Outcomes
One of the pitfalls in change management reporting is the reliance on vanity metrics—superficial measures that may look impressive but lack a direct connection to tangible business outcomes. Metrics such as the number of training hours delivered, numbers of stakeholder groups who received communications or the volume of communication materials distributed might seem impressive and easy to measure, but they provide little insight into the real impact of the change on the organization.
Executives are not interested in surface-level data; they want to understand how the change contributes to the achievement of strategic objectives and positively influences key performance indicators. To enhance credibility, change management reports must move beyond vanity metrics and focus on indicators that align with broader business goals.
Activity Metrics – Counting Without Context
Measuring the sheer volume of activities related to a change initiative can be misleading, or worse, meaningless, if not accompanied by context and relevance. Activity metrics, such as the number of workshops conducted, numbers of impact assessment activities conducted, number of deliverables worked on, or emails sent, might create an illusion of progress. However, these metrics fail to provide insights into the quality of engagement, the depth of understanding among employees, or the actual impact on work behaviours. Operational managers may find these interesting, but less likely for executives.
Instead of focusing solely on activities, change management reports should emphasize the effectiveness of these activities in driving desired outcomes. Metrics should, instead, highlight the quality of engagement, the level of understanding, and the behavioural shifts observed within the organization.
Cost-Focused Metrics – Counting Dollars Without Value
While cost-related metrics are important for financial stewardship, solely focusing on cost without considering the value generated by the change can undermine the perceived success of the initiative. Metrics such as the budget spent or the cost per participant may provide financial insights but do not necessarily convey the broader impact on organizational performance.
Change management reports should focus more on value metrics than cost metrics. Focusing purely on cost is restricting the value of managing change as another cost to the business. However, focusing on the value created in maximising business performance and achieving greater adoption can significant extend the understanding of change management value. Executives are interested in understanding what business value is created through managing change. Value includes how the targeted benefits are better realised and how the business performance is protected or maximised during the implementation of change.
Intra-Practice Metrics – Metrics That Only Change Management Cares About
It’s a common misstep to develop metrics that only resonate within the change management function but fail to capture the attention of other business units or executives. Metrics that focus exclusively on communication buzz generated, training satisfaction rates, or employee satisfaction with change processes might be valuable for internal assessments but lack the relevance needed to engage executives.
Even the focus on change maturity, that is often the single most critical focus for change management functions, may or may not appeal to a lot of executives. Unless you have already taken the executives on the journey of why focusing on change maturity is critical and you have them fully onboard with this, treat carefully in reporting on change maturity metrics.
At executive level, change management reports should transcend departmental boundaries and speak to the broader organizational impact. This means that your focus should be on reporting at a portfolio level and key strategic initiatives as relevant. Focus on generating insights of what the totality of changes mean to the organisation, and what employee experiences are across multiple initiatives. Metrics should also align with strategic goals and showcase how the change initiatives contributes to overarching business objectives.
The Right Metrics
I. Change Readiness Metrics – Assessing the Pulse of the Organization
Change readiness metrics serve as a barometer for understanding how prepared an organization is for a change initiative. To provide meaningful insights, these metrics should delve into the engagement journey, capturing key elements such as awareness, involvement, and participation.
Awareness: Measure the level of understanding and awareness of the upcoming change across different employee segments.
Involvement: Assess the degree to which employees are actively engaged in the change process, seeking their input and involvement.
Participation: Evaluate the extent to which employees are actively participating in change-related activities and initiatives.
Data Collection Methodology
Utilize a mix of quantitative and qualitative methods to gather data, including surveys, focus groups, and feedback mechanisms.
Ensure a representative sample across different organizational levels and functions to capture a comprehensive view of readiness.
Change Readiness Topic Areas
1. Awareness Assessment:
This section evaluates the extent to which employees are aware of the impending changes across initiatives. It includes an analysis of communication effectiveness, the clarity of messaging, and the overall visibility of the change initiatives. Metrics may encompass the percentage of employees who understand the change purpose and the reach of communication channels.
2. Involvement Evaluation:
Involvement is a key factor in gauging how actively employees are participating in the change process. This explores the degree to which employees feel engaged and have opportunities to contribute to the planning and decision-making aspects of the change. Employees may not have the opportunities to contribute to all types of change initiatives but for those that are relevant this can be quite insightful. Metrics include participation rates in change-related workshops, the number of submitted suggestions, and levels of engagement in feedback sessions.
3. Perceived Impact:
This area delves into employees’ perceptions of how the changes will affect them personally and professionally. It includes an analysis of perceived benefits, risks, and the overall impact on day-to-day responsibilities. Metrics may encompass the percentage of employees who feel well-informed about the impact of the change and qualitative insights from open-ended survey questions.
4. Change Champions performance:
Identifying and nurturing change champions can be crucial for successful change implementation, especially across the change portfolio. The presence of key business change champions who actively support and advocate for the changes within their teams and business units can shed light on how the change is performing. Metrics include the presence of key change champions across business areas, their engagement levels, and the effectiveness of their engagement strategies within their respective departments.
5. Learning and Development Readiness:
Learning and development play a vital role in equipping employees with the skills necessary for the upcoming changes. This section evaluates the organization’s readiness to deliver learning programs effectively, including the availability of resources, the alignment of learning content with change objectives, and the accessibility of learning materials. This can be outlined not just at initiative levels, but from business unit perspectives. Different business units may have different processes and channels from which to deploy learning and development across initiatives. The readiness and maturity of these can make or break the adoption of changes.
6. Resource Allocation and Availability:
Change initiatives often require additional resources, and this section examines the organization’s capacity to allocate and provide the necessary resources for a smooth transition. Metrics include the allocation and availability of SME resources, business representatives, the availability of technology and tools, and the overall preparedness of support functions for the myriad of change initiatives. Is there adequate allocation of these resources? For example, for digital transformation is there still reliance on manual work processes that should be upgrade to drive efficiency and effectiveness?
7. Leadership Alignment:
Leadership alignment is a critical factor influencing change readiness. This section evaluates the extent to which various leaders are aligned with the change vision and actively communicate their support. Metrics encompass leadership messaging consistency, visibility, and the perceived commitment of leaders to the success of the change.
8. Employee Feedback Mechanisms:
Establishing effective feedback mechanisms is essential for continuous improvement during change initiatives. This section assesses the availability, content and effectiveness of channels through which employees can provide feedback, ask questions, and express concerns. Metrics include response rates to feedback requests, the variety of feedback channels used, and themes of responses from targeted employee groups.
Change Readiness Data Collection Methods
Collecting data on change readiness is a crucial step in understanding an organization’s preparedness for a change initiative. Various approaches can be employed to gather relevant information. Here’s a list of key approaches:
Surveys and Questionnaires
Online Platforms and Social Listening
II. Change Journey Analytics – Navigating the Transformation Landscape
Change journey analytics provide a view of what key employee change experience highlights are, including insights on any behavioural changes, attitudinal changes, the volume of changes and how changes are being driven against key business performance challenges.
Change Volume Risks
Change volume risk measures highlight key change impact volumes across the business over time, with key call outs on any risks on heightened change periods. The volume and nature of changes can be mapped against strategies to indicate to what extent the level and pace of impacts are aligned with strategic plans
Change Activity Design
The totality of change management activities across initiatives from the lens of impacted employee groups should be analysed with potential risks highlighted including the alignment of learning content, communication message consistency and alignment, and to what extent there maybe excessive or below expected types of change activities in facilitating the change journeys
Single View of Change of BAU and Strategic Initiatives
Provide a consolidated view of ongoing business-as-usual (BAU) changes alongside strategic initiatives. This ensures that executives have a comprehensive understanding of the organizational change landscape. From the perspective of the impacted change stakeholders or employee groups, they may not care about the source of the change and whether it is strategic or not. BAU initiatives may also be even more impactful than strategic initiatives.
Link change activities to business performance metrics. Demonstrate how the change initiative contributes to key performance indicators and strategic goals. Also shed light how the nature and volume of changes may or may not impact the overall business performance. Executives are focused on keeping the business running successfully during change implementation as much as possible, with minimum disruption
Nurturing Lasting Transformation: The Role of Adoption Analytics in Sustainable Change
When we discuss adoption analytics, we transcend the traditional boundaries of project management. While implementation marks the beginning of change, adoption analytics guide us through the more profound stages, measuring the extent to which the organization has embraced and embedded the change. It’s about ensuring that the seeds of change and transformation take root, flourish, and yield sustainable benefits.
1. Business Performance Metrics: Gauging Impact on Organizational Vital Signs
To truly understand the success of change initiatives, one must look beyond the surface and delve into its impact on key business performance metrics. This involves a holistic examination of factors such as productivity, efficiency, and customer satisfaction (depending on what the changes are).
Productivity: Assessing the changes’ effects on productivity involves measuring the organization’s output and efficiency post-implementation. Has there been an increase in task completion rates, a reduction in errors, or an enhancement in overall workflow efficiency?
Efficiency: Changes often aim to streamline processes and enhance efficiency. Analyzing the efficiency metrics helps determine whether the new procedures or tools have resulted in a smoother and more effective workflow.
Customer Satisfaction: In many cases, change initiatives are driven by a desire to improve customer experience. Adoption analytics in this context involve gauging customer satisfaction levels, whether through surveys, feedback mechanisms, or other relevant indicators.
By examining these metrics, organizations can gauge the real impact of the change on their vital signs, ensuring that the intended improvements manifest in tangible and measurable ways.
2. Benefit Realization: From Anticipation to Tangible Outcomes
Anticipated benefits form the backbone of any change initiative, but true success lies in the tangible realization of these expected outcomes. Benefit realization assessment through adoption analytics involves tracking key performance indicators (KPIs) directly influenced by the change.
Tracking KPIs: Identify and monitor KPIs that are closely tied to the specific objectives of the change. These could include financial metrics, customer retention rates, employee engagement scores, or any other relevant indicators.
Tangible Outcomes: Work hand-in-hand with initiative benefit owners to ensure clear ownership and tracking of benefits. Establish a system that allows for the ongoing assessment of whether the anticipated benefits are being realized in practice.
Continuous Improvement: Benefit realization is an ongoing process. Regularly review and adjust strategies based on the data collected. This iterative approach ensures that the organization remains agile, adapting to changing circumstances and continuously optimizing the impact of the change.
Collaboration with Initiative Benefit Owners: A Crucial Element
A vital aspect of successful adoption analytics is collaboration with initiative benefit owners. These are individuals or teams responsible for overseeing the realization of anticipated benefits. Establishing clear ownership ensures accountability and facilitates a more targeted and effective approach to tracking and optimizing outcomes.
Clear Communication: Foster open lines of communication between change management teams and initiative benefit owners. Clearly communicate the expected benefits and collaborate on defining relevant metrics and tracking mechanisms.
Regular Check-Ins: Establish a framework for regular check-ins to assess progress, identify challenges, and strategize for ongoing success. These check-ins provide an opportunity to recalibrate efforts based on real-time insights.
Data-Driven Decision Making: Encourage initiative benefit owners to make data-driven decisions. Regularly review adoption analytics data together, and use these insights to inform strategic adjustments, ensuring that the organization is on a trajectory towards sustained success.
Adoption analytics are the linchpin in the journey from change initiation to sustainable integration. By meticulously measuring the impact on business performance and diligently tracking benefit realization, organizations can ensure that their transformative efforts result in lasting and meaningful change. Collaboration with initiative benefit owners enhances this process, fostering a culture of continuous improvement and adaptability that is crucial for navigating the ever-evolving landscape of organizational transformation.
Change practitioners may not be involved in all aspects of benefit realization and tracking. It could be that the focus is on ‘people’ and behaviour elements of changes that contribute to benefit realization. Incorporating these metrics into change management reports offers a comprehensive view of the change journey, from initial readiness to long-term adoption and benefits realization.
Crafting Compelling Change Management Reports
In the fast-paced world of change management, the ability to convey the impact of initiatives through well-crafted reports is a skill that cannot be underestimated. Executives require more than superficial metrics; they demand a nuanced understanding of how change aligns with strategic goals and influences organizational performance.
By steering clear of vanity metrics, activity-focused measurements, and overly cost-centric reporting, change management professionals can elevate their credibility and influence within the organization. Instead, a focus on change readiness, journey analytics, and adoption metrics provides a holistic perspective that resonates with executives, ensuring that the true value of change initiatives is accurately portrayed.
To gear up for the digital/AI-enabled world that we are already in, change practitioners should also be ready to adopt a range of digital tools to better present and converse about change management reports in a way that is interactive, and easy to generate data insights. Executives may ask a series of questions to probe deeper into the data, or want access themselves to be able to look into certain data points. The ability to answer these questions straight away using digital solutions will be the key to creating confidence, impact and trust with executives.
As organizations continue to navigate the complexities of change, the importance of insightful reporting cannot be overstated. It is not just about delivering change; it is about articulating its impact in a language that executives understand and appreciate. In doing so, change management professionals become not just implementers of change but strategic partners in driving organizational success. This is ultimately the goal for change teams and change practices.
Managing multiple change initiatives is not a new concept nor is it new to organizations. What is perhaps ‘newer’ is how change practitioners are using data to manage multiple changes. Change practitioners that manage a portfolio of initiatives used to focus on building capability in various arenas from employee capability, leadership capability, through to the effectiveness of engagement and learning channels. However, using business and change management data to help companies is just as critical.
In this article, we will explore the top five challenges associated with the current approaches to managing multiple change initiatives. We explore these common approaches and critique key challenges, along with alternatives.
1) Using Change Heatmap to Classify Departments Impacted
Change heatmaps have become a popular tool for classifying departments based on the impact of a change initiative. However, two key issues often arise with this approach: the oversimplification of the traffic light classification system and the lack of granularity at the department level.
One of the most common ways to visually depict the impact of multiple changes is to use the heatmap. This is normally using a 3-point rating system (high, medium, low) to determine the level of impact across the various departments across the organisation. Whilst the rating process is an easy exercise, there are some very serious challenges:
Even for the 3 level rating system the change practitioner may be challenged with how this rating is determined and what it is based on. Not every team within the same department may be equally impacted
There may be different impacts for different roles within the same team and department
The impact may be different depending on whether the focus is on employees, customers, process, system or partner
Typically most use a monthly rating scale. However, for busy organisations with lots of changes, the change volume may go up and down within the same month. With one rating it oversimplifies what actually happens throughout the month
With only 3 levels of ratings, a lot of departments end up having the same rating level for months, meaning there is not much they can do with this data.
In Summary, the summarised monthly rating for one department indicates medium-level change. But at what time of the month, for what role, for what team, and for what type of impact?
The below is an example of a change heatmap from the University of California, Berkeley.
a. Traffic Light Classification Too Simplistic:
The traditional red, yellow, and green traffic light system used in change heatmaps is a simple way to communicate the status of a department’s readiness for change. However, this simplicity can be misleading. Red may indicate a problem, but it does not provide insights into the nature or severity of the issue. Likewise, green may suggest readiness, but it might hide underlying complexities or dependencies.
Even for the 3 level rating system the change practitioner may be challenged with how this rating is determined and what fact it is based on. Also, the impact may be different depending on whether the focus is on employees, customers, process, system or partner. Typically most use a monthly rating scale. However, for busy organisations with lots of changes, the change volume may go up and down within the same month. With one rating it oversimplifies what actually happens throughout the month. Even if the singular departmental rating is split into rating by initiative, this does not provide an aggregate department-level rating that is aggregated based on logic.
To overcome this challenge, organizations need a more nuanced classification system that takes into account the specific issues within each category. This could involve incorporating additional colours or using a numerical scale to better represent the diversity and complexity of challenges within each department.
b. Department Level Not Granular Enough:
While change heatmaps provide a high-level overview, they often lack the granularity required to understand the specific challenges within each department. Different teams within a department may be impacted differently, and a broad classification may not capture these variations.
To address this issue, organizations should consider adopting a more detailed classification system that breaks down each department into its constituent parts. This granular approach allows for a more targeted and effective change management strategy, addressing specific issues at the team and role levels.
In Summary, the singular monthly rating for one department indicates medium-level change. But at what time of the month, for what role, for what team, and for what type of impact?
2) Using Project Milestone Roadmap to Sequence Impacts
Project milestone roadmaps are commonly used to sequence the impacts of change initiatives. However, this approach faces challenges in terms of the sufficiency of milestones and the difficulty of overlaying multiple capacity considerations.
Below is an example from Praxis Framework.
a. Milestones Are Not Sufficient vs Overall Aggregate Impact Levels:
While project milestones provide a structured timeline for change initiatives, they may not capture the full scope of the impact on the organization. Milestones often focus on project-specific tasks and may overlook broader organizational changes that occur concurrently. For example, adoption may require months and is not a single point-in-time milestone per se.
To overcome this limitation, organizations should supplement milestone roadmaps with an overall aggregate impact assessment. This holistic view ensures that the sequence of milestones aligns with the broader organizational objectives and minimizes conflicts between concurrent initiatives.
b. Difficulty of Overlaying Multiple Capacity Considerations:
Managing multiple change initiatives requires a delicate balance of resources, and overlaying capacity considerations can be challenging. Project milestone roadmaps may not adequately address the interdependencies and resource constraints that arise when multiple initiatives are in progress simultaneously.
To enhance capacity planning, organizations should invest in advanced project management tools that allow for the dynamic adjustment of timelines based on resource availability. This ensures a realistic and achievable sequencing of impacts, taking into account the organization’s overall capacity.
3) Relying Purely on Excel and PowerPoint to Manage Multiple Change Initiatives
While Excel and PowerPoint are ubiquitous tools in the business world, relying solely on them to manage multiple change initiatives presents challenges related to the agile nature of changes and the difficulty of having interactive data-based conversations. This is especially the case that most change initiatives are digital changes, and yet they are been managed using non-digital means? How can change practitioners ‘be the change’ when they are using dated ways of driving digital change?
a. Agile Nature of Changes Means Ongoing Updates Are Required:
Change initiatives are inherently dynamic, and their requirements can evolve rapidly. Excel and PowerPoint, while useful for static reporting, lack the real-time collaborative capabilities needed to accommodate the agile nature of changes.
To address this challenge, organizations should consider adopting change management and collaboration tools that enable real-time updates and collaboration. Cloud-based platforms provide the flexibility to make ongoing adjustments, ensuring that stakeholders are always working with the latest information.
b. Difficulty of Having Interactive Data-Based Conversations and Federated Model of Change Data:
Excel and PowerPoint may struggle to facilitate interactive discussions around change data. As organizations increasingly operate in a federated model, with dispersed teams working on different aspects of change initiatives, a more collaborative and integrated approach is essential.
Implementing dedicated change management platforms that support interactive data-based discussions can enhance collaboration and provide a centralized repository for change-related information. This ensures that all stakeholders have access to the latest data, fostering a more transparent and collaborative change management process.
4) Preparing Business Operations Readiness for the Amount of Change
Preparing business operations for a significant amount of change requires a strategic approach that incorporates capacity and time considerations while maintaining granularity in data.
a. Using Business Operations Speak: Capacity, resources, time.
Business operations readiness is often discussed in terms of capacity and time. However, the challenge lies in translating these concepts into actionable plans. Capacity planning involves understanding the organization’s ability to absorb change without compromising existing operations, while time considerations are crucial for ensuring a smooth transition without disruptions.
Change practitioners need to distill the ‘ask of the business’ in business speak. Business stakeholders may not be interested in the various classifications of change or the varying degrees of cultural changes involved. What they are interested in is what you want from my team, how much time you need them to dedicate, and for what team members, so that they can plan accordingly.
b. Granularity of Data:
The granularity of data is essential for effective business operations readiness. Generic metrics may not capture the specific needs and challenges of individual departments or teams, leading to oversights that can impact the success of change initiatives.
Implementing a comprehensive data collection and analysis strategy that considers the unique requirements of each business unit ensures a more accurate understanding of operational readiness. This granularity allows organizations to tailor change management strategies to specific needs, enhancing the likelihood of successful implementation.
5) Getting Executive Engagement and Decision Making
Ensuring executive engagement and decision-making is critical for the success of change initiatives. However, achieving this engagement poses its own set of challenges.
To overcome this challenge, organizations should:
Establish Clear Governance and Engagement Channels:
Ensure that there is in place clear governance bodies making decisions on the overall control of initiatives across the organisation. Communication channels between change management teams and executives should also be well-defined and effective. Regular updates and transparent reporting on the progress and challenges of change initiatives build trust and encourage executive engagement.
Align Change Initiatives with Strategic Objectives:
Demonstrate the alignment of change initiatives with the organization’s strategic objectives. Executives are more likely to engage when they see how a particular change contributes to the overall success and growth of the company.
Provide Decision-Making Frameworks:
Equip executives with decision-making frameworks that guide them through the complexities of change initiatives. Clearly defined criteria for evaluating the success of a change, along with potential risks and mitigation strategies, empower executives to make informed decisions.
Highlight the Business Impact:
Clearly articulate the business impact of change initiatives. Executives are more likely to engage when they understand the tangible benefits and potential risks associated with a particular change. Use data and analytics to support the business case for change.
Offer Ongoing Support and Education:
Ensure that executives have the necessary support and training to navigate the complexities of change management. This includes providing relevant information, resources, and expertise to help them make informed decisions and actively participate in the change process. Creating ‘bite-sized’ and summarised insights is key for executives.
Effectively managing multiple change initiatives is a complex task that requires a holistic and adaptive approach. By addressing the challenges associated with classification, sequencing, tool reliance, business operations readiness, and executive engagement, organizations can enhance their change management strategies and increase the likelihood of successful outcomes. Embracing innovative tools, fostering collaboration, and maintaining a strategic focus on organizational goals are key elements in overcoming these challenges and navigating the ever-evolving landscape of change.
In this article, we’ve stressed the importance of data. You may wonder about the amount of time and effort required to establish all the various points mentioned in the article and if this is even doable. Well, using Excel and other static non-digital ways of managing change data will mean a significant volume of work, and even then it may not provide a clear picture that gives you the various cuts of data required to drive meaningful conversations. Resort to automation provided by change management software such as The Change Compass to assist in data capture, data analysis, and dashboard generation.
Measuring the change adoption of stakeholders is one of the most important parts of the work of change practitioners. It is the ultimate ‘proof’ of whether the change interventions have been successful or not in achieving the initiative objectives. It is also an important way in which the progress of change management can clearly be shown to the project team as well as to various stakeholder groups.
Measurement takes time, focus and effort. It may not be something that is a quick exercise. There needs to be precise data measurement design, a reliable way of collecting data, and data visualisation that is easily understood by stakeholders.
With the right measurements of change adoption, you can influence the direction of the initiative, create impetus amongst senior stakeholders, and steer the organisation toward a common goal to realise the change objectives. Such is the power of measuring change adoption.
The myth of the change management curve
One of the most popular graphs in change management and often referred as the ‘change curve’ is the Kubler-Ross model. The model was specifically designed by psychiatrist Elisabeth Kubler-Ross to refer to terminally ill patients as a part of the book ‘On Death and Dying’. For whatever reason, it has somehow gained popularity and application in change management.
There is little research evidence to back this up even in psychological research. When applied in change management there is no known research that supports this at all. On the other hand, there is ample research by McKinsey that for effectively managed initiatives and transformations, stakeholders do not go through this ‘valley of death’ journey at all.
If the ‘change curve’ is not the correct chart to follow with regard to change adoption, then what is the right one to refer to?
The ‘S’ curve of change adoption is one that can be referenced. It is well backed in terms of technology and new product adoption research. It follows a typically slow start followed by a significant climb in adoption followed by a flattened level at the end. Here is an example of key technologies and the speed of adoption in U.S. households since the 1900s.
With the different types of change contexts, the shape of the S curve will be expected to differ as a result. For example, you are working on a fairly minor process change where there is not a big leap in going from the current process to the new process. In this case, the curve would be expected to be a lot more gentle since the complexity of the change is significantly less than adopting a complex, new technology.
Going beyond what is typically measured
Most change practitioners are focused on measuring the easier and more obvious measures such as stakeholder perceptions, change readiness, and training completion. Whilst these are of value, they in themselves are measuring aspects of the change. They can be viewed as forward-looking indications of the progress that supports moving toward eventual change adoption, versus the eventual change adoption.
To really address head-on the topic of measuring adoption, it is critical to go beyond these initial measures toward those elements that indicate the actual change in the organisation. Depending on the type of change this could be system usage, behaviour change, following a new process or achieving cost savings targets.
Project Benefit realization
It goes without saying that to really measure change adoption the change practitioner must work closely with the project manager to understand in detail the benefits targeted, and how the prescribed benefits will be measured. The project manager could utilise a range of ways to articulate the benefits of the project. Common benefit categories include:
Business success factors such as financial targets on revenue or cost
Product integration measures such as usage rate
Market objectives such as revenue target, user base, etc.
These categories above are objectives that are easier to measure and tangible to quantify. However, there could also be less tangible targets such as:
Product or solution leadership
There could be various economic methods of determining the targeted benefit objectives. These include payback time or the length of time from project initiation until the cumulative cash flow becomes positive, or net present value, or internal rate of return.
The critical part for change practitioners is to understand what the benefit objectives are, how benefit tracking will be measured and the interpret what steps are required to get there. These steps include any change management steps required to get from the current state to the future state.
Here is an example of a mapping of change management steps required in different benefit targets:
Project benefits targeted
Likely change management steps required
Change management measures
Increased customer satisfaction and improved productivity through implementing a new system.
Users able to operate the new system. Users able to improve customer conversations leveraging new system features. Users proactively use the new system features to drive improved customer conversations. Managers coaching and provide feedback to usersBenefit tracking and communications. Customer communication about improved system and processes Decreased customer call waiting time .
% of users passed training test. System feature usage rate. Customer issue resolution time. User feedback on manager coaching. Monthly benefit tracking shared and discussed in team meetings. Customer satisfaction rate. Customer call volume handling capacity.
Measuring behavioural change
For most change initiatives, there is an element of behaviour change, especially for more complex changes. Whether the change involves a system implementation, changing a process or launching a new product, behaviour change is involved. In a system implementation context, the behaviour may be different ways of operating the system in performing their roles. For a process change, there may be different operating steps which need to take place that defers from the previous steps. The focus on behaviour change aims to zoom in on core behaviours that need to change to lead to the initiative outcome being achieved.
How do we identify these behaviours in a meaningful way so that they can be identified, described, modelled, and measured?
The following are tips for identifying the right behaviours to measure:
Behaviours should be observable. They are not thoughts or attitudes, so behaviours need to be observable by others
Aim to target the right level of behaviour. Behaviours should not be so minute that they are too tedious to measure, e.g. click a button in a system. They also should not be so broad that it is hard to measure them overall, e.g. proactively understand customer concerns
Behaviours are usually exhibited after some kind of ‘trigger’, for example, when the customer agent hear certain words such as ‘not happy’ or ‘would like to report’ from the customer that they may need to treat this as a customer complaint by following the new customer complaint process. Identifying these triggers will help you measure those behaviours.
Achieve a balance by not measuring too many behaviours since this will create additional work for the project team. However, ensure a sufficient number of behaviours are measured to assess benefit realisation
Behaviour change can seem over-encompassing and elusive. However, it may not need to be this. Rather than focusing on a wide set of behaviours that may take a significant period of time to sift, focusing on ‘micro-behaviours’ can be more practical and measurable. Micro-behaviours are simply small observable behaviours that are small step-stone behaviours vs a cluster of behaviours.
For example, a typical behaviour change for customer service reps may be to improve customer experience or to establish customer rapport. However, breaking these broad behaviours down into small specific behaviours may be much easier to target and achieve results.
For example, micro-behaviours to improve customer rapport may include:
User the customer’s name, “Is it OK if I call you Michelle?”
Build initial rapport, “How has your day been?”
Reflect on the customer’s feeling, “I’m hearing that it must have been frustrating”
Agree on next steps, “would it help if I escalate this issue for you?”
Each of these micro-behaviours may be measured using call-listening ratings and may either be a yes/no or a rating based assessment.
Establishing reporting process and routines
After having designed the right measurement to measure your change adoption, the next step would be to design the right reporting process. Key considerations in planning and executing on the reporting process includes:
Ease of reporting is critical, and you should aim to automate where possible to reduce the overhead burden and manual work involved. Whenever feasible leverage automation tools to move fast and not be bogged down by tedious work
Build expectations on contribution to measurement. Rally your stakeholder support so that it is clear the data contribution required to measure and track change adoption
Design eye-catching and easy to understand dashboard of change adoption metrics.
Design reinforcing mechanisms. If your measurement requires people’s input, ensure you design the right reinforcing mechanisms to ensure you get the data you are seeking for. Human nature is so that whenever possible, people would err on the side of not contributing to a survey unless there are explicit consequences of not filling out the survey.
Recipients of change adoption measurement. Think about the distribution list of those who should receive the measurement tracking. This includes not just those who are in charge of realising the benefits (i.e. business leaders), but also those who contribute to the adoption process, e.g. middle or first-line managers.
Example of change adoption dashboard from Change Automator
Change saturation is one of the popular search items when it comes to measuring change management. How do we effectively measure change saturation without resorting to personal opinions? And how might we formulate effective recommendations that are logical and that stakeholders can action immediately?
Use this recipe to measure change saturation using The Change Compass.