Without change there is no innovation, creativity or incentive for improvement. Those who initiate change will have a better opportunity to manage the change that is inevitable” William Pollard.
Organisational success relies predominantly on the ability to change; to change in a manner that is purposeful and in a direction that will deliver successful business outcomes.
Building commitment to change enables organisations to capitalise on the inevitability of change, and use it to drive successful organisational progress. Without commitment to change outcomes, there is no ultimate definition of success or an established course of progress. Without an established and managed direction, change activities can have a negative impact on employee engagement and fail to deliver ROI.
The challenges of building commitment to change outcomes
In typical enterprise change scenarios, it often occurs that business leaders commit to performing activities of change, without committing to the goals & outcomes of the initiatives, which directly translate into successful business outcomes. Activities provide an element of control, as progress is completely measurable and representative of effort and forward motion, even when their contribution to the successful delivery of business outcomes is lacking.
On the other hand, the success of business critical outcomes can exist on a scale that is measured in shades of grey, heavily reliant on the cohesive performance of an entire enterprise entity and not just the actions of a few. By committing to the delivery of a change outcome, business leaders are also committing to being held accountable for successful change, where the associated risks of failure are much greater.
Building commitment to change
The delivery of successful business outcomes requires a cohesive contribution from all employees. Therefore in order to build commitment to the delivery of a change outcome, each employee must recognise their own role in the ownership of a particular change effort and in turn, their accountability.
Establishing ownership of change and building a commitment towards its successful delivery in all employees requires the consideration of 4 areas:
- Delve into the details – Use exploratory questioning to understand exactly which business outcomes you are attempting to achieve. Understand the purpose of each activity being performed and how every element of it will contribute to the successful delivery of change and business outcomes.
- Clarify the expected outcomes – What is the purpose of a change and how does its achievement benefit the organisation? Without understanding the reasoning behind the need for new or changed behaviours, employees will find it difficult to maintain a steady level of commitment. This also enables success to be defined, and creates an established end goal to which change efforts and activities can be attributed and measured.
- Establish realistic time scales – It is almost impossible that successful enterprise change will occur instantaneously and remain sustainable. By reviewing the desired actions of each individual employee and how they will contribute to the successful delivery to a change outcome, it will be possible to identify a realistic time scale for the entire change process and fair points for performance assessment. By building accountability through measured progress, this can be translated into commitment to achieving successful business outcomes.
- Consider both people and the technical elements – Successful change requires a functioning technical side and a committed people side. The technical elements are required to design, develop and deliver a change effort, while it is the people who are required to embrace, adopt and use the changed elements so as to successfully deliver business outcomes.
It is the relationship that exists between the technical and people element which is essential in achieving success. Organisations which demonstrate to their employees their commitment to change efforts by first providing the necessary tools and then by empowering them to use the tools can cultivate a reciprocated level of commitment to delivery of business outcomes.
The practice of change management correlates directly with the successful delivery of business outcomes. With the overarching consideration of how employees accept and engage with change efforts, organisations are six times more likely to achieve business outcomes with excellent change management - according to Prosci's 2016 Best Practices research, a study of over 4,500 projects seeking to understand why some succeed when many fail - as it cultivates effective participation and commitment to change activities.
Interested in advancing your change management capabilities?