Initiatives aimed at improving performance are often launched with great uproar, costing an organization significant investments. Such initiatives necessitate extensive changes in the Organizational Culture and the way the enterprise systems and processes function.
However, most initiatives fall short of realizing success. Decades of scholarly research on Change Management reveals that the issues that contribute the most to the failure of strategic initiatives are:
- Incompetence in sustaining process improvement.
- Lack of trust on senior leadership.
- Failure to embrace new ways of doing business.
- Performance relapse.
- Inability of the initiative to produce any positive financial returns.
- Skepticism towards the desired behaviors and return of impractical employee behaviors.
Researchers have carried out scores of studies to isolate the drivers of lasting change. Research published in MIT SMR in 2005 discusses how leadership can design and execute Transformation initiatives that bring lasting changes in the organization. The study entailed in-depth analysis of the strategic Customer Service Enhancement (CSE) initiative undertaken by a large clothing retailer, having franchises in multiple geographic locations.
The researchers conducted 20 semi-structured interviews with leaders, in-store operations and support function managers. Detailed notes of the interviews were shared amongst the researchers alongside an exhaustive literature review. A case study of the initiative was prepared using independent research to have an unprejudiced viewpoint, free from any bias. Feedback from the organization’s management was gathered and incorporated throughout the study to seek clarifications or corrections. Data analysis was carried out employing a coding scheme developed using Atlas.ti tool. Comparative analysis was conducted and similarities and differences in conclusions were discussed.
The study brought to light 4 key processes necessary for change to stick in an organization. These key processes assist in laying the foundation for successful institutionalization of change initiatives by creating a company-wide culture that encourages enduring change:
Let’s delve deeper into the first 2 processes.
Chartering is a process through which an enterprise classifies the purpose, scope, and the way people interact with each other on a strategic initiative. Clear delineation of project boundaries, resources, responsibilities, and reporting lines are the elements integral for the success of a change initiative.
The Chartering process entails 2 critical components:
- Boundary Setting
- Team Design
Boundary Setting involves the key steps a team takes for accurate definition of change initiative’s scope.
The project team should clearly outline the problem(s) that the project is, and isn’t, going to tackle. Ideally, while designing and executing a change initiative, the focus of the engagement should be on confronting the most crucial problem area. The leadership should ensure not to confuse the core team by eyeing too many priorities to deal with through the strategic initiative.
The Team Design element of Chartering involves ascertaining the roles, accountabilities, and guiding principles for team’s collaboration. Team design entails creating ground rules for team members to interact, devising mechanisms to manage conflicts. The leadership needs to not only maintain diversity of the project team’s expertise, but also ensure they complement each other, and inculcate a standardized approach to decision making in project teams. There needs to be fostered a culture of positive discourse and testing ideas amongst the team members. Incorporating these guidelines helps spark thinking, learning, and decision making.
Learning aids in anticipating and dealing with hurdles during implementation of Transformation initiatives. Learning enables the managers to improve the quality of the new processes. it is a process through which managers develop, test, and refine ideas before full-scale implementation. The process entails 2 critical components:
The discovery element involves gathering data to identify the objectives of the change initiative and outlining ways to achieve those objectives. Before rolling out a complete implementation of a change initiative, testing and refining the individual elements of the initiative immensely assists in the success of the initiative. Gathering adequate information relevant to the initiative, setting up baseline metrics to measure performance, and identifying issues hampering customer satisfactions are the key aspects of this phase. The team should learn from the failures of prior initiatives, introduce change in a systemic fashion rather than piecemeal, and encourage people to change rationally as well as emotionally.
Interested in learning more about the other processes critical for change to stick? You can download an editable PowerPoint on 4 Processes of Sustainable Change here on the Flevy documents marketplace.
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Inculcating productive workforce behaviors is of utmost significance in Business Transformation, successful Strategy Execution, and Performance Improvement. However, making people embrace productive behaviors involves a concerted effort across the organization.
The realization of Transformation, Strategy, and Performance improvement goals can become a reality by developing a thorough understanding of the 4 components of Organizational Behavior. These components act as powerful levers in shaping the desired behaviors in the workforce:
- Organizational Structure
- Roles and Responsibilities
- Individual Talent
- Organizational Enablers
These Organizational Design levers work effectively when combined and aligned. Let’s discuss the first 2 levers in detail now.
Organizational Structure represents the management reporting lines that create the organization’s spans of control, layers, and number of resources. Organizational Structure is a foundational driver to Organizational Design, which also has a strong positive bearing on promoting the behaviors critical to improve the overall performance of the enterprise. This is owing to the power that a position exerts on the subordinates based on factors that are important for individuals—e.g., work, compensation, and career ladder.
The Organizational Structure indicates an enterprise’s priorities. An organization is typically structured in accordance with its top most priority. For instance, functional organizational structure is adopted by enterprises having functional excellence as a priority. In present-day’s competitive markets, most organizations have to deal with several priorities at a given time, which could be conflicting. However, this does not mean adding new structures on top of existing ones, thereby increasing unnecessary complexity. Creating overly complex structures to manage multiple priorities results in red tape and delayed decisions. All roles are interdependent, necessitating cooperation. This means taking care of the needs of others—instead of just watching over personal priorities—and encouraging individual behaviors that boost the efficiency of groups to achieve collective objectives.
Roles & Responsibilities
Roles and responsibilities deal with tasks allocated to each position and individual. Organizational Design depends heavily on redefining clearer and compelling roles and responsibilities—to avoid any duplication of efforts or creating adversaries among team members. In a collaborative culture where cooperation is the mainstay of an organization, individuals should not only be aware of what is required of them, but also appreciate the responsibilities of their team members, the authorities their roles exercise, the skills required, and the metrics to measure success.
A methodical way to outline roles and responsibilities effectively—while minimizing complexity—that encourages cooperation and empowerment is through the “Role Chartering” technique. The technique requires distinctly identifying all roles on the basis of 6 key factors:
- Describing shared and individual accountabilities
- Outlining indicators to track success
- Specifying who has the right to decide what
- Indicating the capabilities critical for roles
- Assigning the leadership traits valuable for the roles
- Charting the abilities required for accomplishing personal and team goals.
Interested in learning more about these components to Organizational Behavior? You can download an editable PowerPoint on Organizational Behaviors here on the Flevy documents marketplace.