The central goal of my professional life is to help organisations and the people within them thrive in a changing world. Why? It’s partly because thriving is a really great thing, both for organisations and people, and partly because the opposite – ‘struggling, ‘withering’, ‘languishing’ - pick your verb... isn’t great for either and seems to be the fate of so many.
Today I work mainly within the discipline of change management which is all about taking “a structured and intentional approach to ensuring that people adopt change successfully”. It’s central to my work because successful adoption of change is a key ingredient in any recipe for thriving.
If we can’t excite people about change or at least gain their commitment to it, and support them so they adopt change quickly and efficiently and with minimal disruption, then we are on a non-starter when it comes to organisational and individual thriving. Change management is not, however the only required ingredient. There’s a risk in any discipline that those who make it their profession look internally to further themselves and their practice, rather than externally and to other disciplines. There’s a tendency for disciplines to close ranks and protect themselves, when in fact we should be doing the opposite.
For me the goal of enabling people and organisations to thrive is far more important than identification with and furthering the discipline of change management – It’s the goal that matters, and we need to bring together whatever it takes to achieve it irrespective of the boundaries that need to be crossed to do so.
Bringing together whatever it takes requires connection across disciplines, synthesising an approach which melds together the best perspectives and tools as ingredients in the recipe for thriving.
Below I’ve compiled my top 4 entries on my ‘approach to thriving’ shopping list, together with a brief explanation of the part I see them playing.
1. Project Management (Agile or otherwise)
Why? Because people and organisations cannot thrive in change without structured, disciplined delivery of the ‘things’ needed to make change possible. Whether its new technologies, new processes, new organisational structures or some other change enabling ‘thing’ you’ve got to have those enablers delivered well.
2. Human Centric Change Design
Why? Because it puts people and how they see the world at the centre of the design process, ensuring that change is designed from the outset with adoption and usage in mind. Taking this approach results in a focus on “What’s in It for Them” when the change is being designed... creating hugely better odds of a clear “What’s in it for Me’s” for those we need to adopt the change.
3. Change Management
Why? Because people and organisations will not thrive in change without successful change adoption. Without it, organisations fail to achieve benefit and people become frustrated, disengaged and de-motivated. Change management provides a structured, intentional approach which compliments the project management and design ingredients through ensuring what is designed and delivered is successfully adopted.
4. Leadership and Vision
Why? Because while change management, project management and human centric design are all necessary, it’s leadership and vision that weaves the thread of purpose through these other disciplines. Its leadership and vision that turn the work of change into purposeful work, and its leadership and vision that generates the energy needed to make change happen and sustain it through the inevitable setbacks and challenges on the path to a thriving future.
Figure 1: My top four ingredients for thriving through change
So that’s my top four – there are other candidates which haven’t made the list, but if organisations could succeed in integrating just these four it would go a long way towards enabling people and organisations to thrive through change.
There is one other area, that I would like to mention though. It’s not on the list above because it’s different in that its focus is on creating internal conditions for success in the minds of the people involved, rather than external organisational conditions. This is the area of personal development and coaching, and its important because influencing how individuals think about what happens in their working life and how they interpret events, impacts how they feel and behave which in turn has a being impact on the ability of both individuals and organisations to thrive in times of change.
So…. if this is what I believe, what am I doing to make it happen? The answer is not enough – I would like to be doing more – but I am trying to make the most of opportunities I have to reach out to and work with other disciplines – and what is really striking about the people I reach out to, is that their goal is not so different from mine – they are just looking at it from their unique perspective and through the lens that their discipline creates… so maybe this isn’t going to be as hard as it might at first seem – lets hope so!
CMC Partnership Global works with a variety of organisations to help them build their change management capability.
We can partner with you to equip key roles in your organisation to manage change and to better prepare your leaders to lead change...remotely if needed.
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