Much has been written recently about the need to evolve the practice of organizational change management towards change readiness. Why? Given global, economic, societal and technical trends – among others, organizations are always in a state of change to remain competitive and grow. It is no longer good enough to help an organization successfully embrace the latest change, it is now more important to create a culture of change readiness and employee agility. Two recent articles on this subject that I recommend reading are:
In the July HBR Blog Communicating Change as Business as Usual, Chris Musselwhite and Tammie Plouffe describe change readiness as “dynamic and proactive - positioning change simply as business as usual.” Through this approach you enable an organization to initiate and respond to change on an ongoing basis – making it a business initiative rather than a change initiative. Both what and how you communicate is a key component as part of this evolution.
Last week, Kayleigh O’Keefe posted an article on the CEC Insider describing Where Kotter’s 8 Steps Gets it Wrong to build an agile and adaptable organization. She referred to three main areas where this change management process fails: change is not a one-time event, it doesn’t only come from CXOs, and employees should not be the objects of change. Instead, she promotes enabling employees to be the drivers of change to create a culture of evolution and continually adapting. She even recommends dropping the word “change”.
I personally still believe a change program should be in place as part of any major initiative where the nature of work is changing. However, I also strongly support the views of the authors above and believe change readiness is an essential cultural element for any organization to remain successful in this complex economy.
Whether it is change management or change readiness, open and effective communications in both the message and the medium provide a competitive advantage to enable organizations to successfully evolve. Based on my experience as a collaboration practitioner, our internal use of Cisco collaboration solutions has prepared us well.