Monday 7 January 2008

Making Change Happens!

Well, we are now in 2008, another chapter in our life is ready to be written. For most people, new year means new aspirations and resolutions. Businesses have the same too. New strategies, new initiatives etc. However, as what we have experienced before, how sustainable the aspirations, resolutions, strategies and initiatives? Would all these lead to better outcomes, in life or business?
Different people have different ways in trying to make change to happen and in the manner it was planned. To me for organisations, there are five key elements that have to be managed to make change happens in the way we plan. I group them as 5Ps.
The first is Plan or strategy. The change has to lead to a certain outcomes that benefits the organisation as a whole and the stakeholders as well. This is the job for those who are in the leadership of the organisation. Not only the strategy or plan has to be developed, it has to be communicated to others in the organisation in the manner the people understand and excite them.
At the end of the day, it is the People in the organisation that drives and sustains the change, the one that really makes the change happens or not. As discussed earlier, the people should be engaged and should be given opportunities to be involved in setting the plan. This would encourage better understanding and buy-in. Furthermore, people would be committed to any initiative which they themselves propose. Its about the battle for the hearts and minds, command and control no longer works nowdays, in most cases.
It would be good if champions could be identified to promote and lead the change. This would be those that are respected and trusted by their peers and at the same time are also committed to the case for the change. The champions would be the ambassadors of change and would encourage others to participate as well as addressing the concerns and challenges that surface along the way.
The linkages between the change, the outcomes and performance measurement should also be clarified. People would like to see how does the whole scheme work and how they would benefit at from the whole affairs. This could be the tricky bit as some management may have difficulties in linking change to performance. Having clear milestones which people could to to cherish their success in making change happens should be made available to get the feeling of change across the team members.
We could not expect a different result if things are done the same way, over and over again. One of the elements which have to be reviewed is the Process in which things get done in the organisation. This covers the whole spectrum of processes right from how policies are determined, how decisions are made right to how the toilets are cleaned. One approach is to review the processes and identify the few ones that could make major differences and focus on changing them first. The idea is to clearly demonstrate to people that the commitment to the change is real.
Some of the changes in the processes could only be done if suitable Platform are made available. This would include tehcnological platform as well as knowledge and regulatory platform. Pleasent work environement could also be considered a platform due to how important human capital is to organisational development nowdays.
When it comes to investment in new technology, management has to focus on the strategic needs and the outcome that are expected out of the investment. Gone are the days where people invest in technology because others are doing so as well!
The final elements which is very important is Principles, the values that are internalised by the team member. Everybody has to work for the cause on which the organisation is established. The drive form the hearts will drive real performance. How to do this? Well, that the Five Million Dollar question!
I suppose this new year would be approached in a new way so that we could be proud of ourselves and the organisations we serve at the end of the year. Change will continue to happen, what is critical is does it happen in the way we want?

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