How Do You Measure The Effectiveness of Change Management
The new world of corporate America is change management. Better stated, we are working in a world of moving targets and constant evolution. This continual movement is wearing people out and driving higher disengagement among the workforce.
Companies, however, cannot quit changing. If they were to achieve a state of stasis, they would be out of business shortly. While change is tiring and draining for a workforce, companies must paradoxically continue to change to stay alive. This puts a premium on succeeding with change events, which starts with having the right measurements to determine the right path to travel.
This brings to light the question that change managers ask themselves in the middle of the night: “Is this the right time to change, or should we wait?” Placing the highest value on insights or additional data from the workforce will answer this question. The last thing a leader wants is the realization—halfway through a change—that it is not resonating with the team and, therefore, will fade shortly after implementation.
To effectively manage change effectiveness, three phases of measurement are necessary: pre-change, change, and post-change. The pre-change phase helps one understand the tolerance that the organization embodies. Next, the change phase measures the effectiveness of the change process. Last, the post-change measurement indicates whether the change was expertly implemented or if additional actions are needed.
Before a change, it is key to accurately assess the organization’s threshold for change. This provides insights the team’s capability of a change and helps predict how effective the change will become and whether a more significant change management effort should follow.
Measurement of the pre-change atmosphere is important to avoid starting a change that is doomed to fail. Like comedy, timing is everything. It is key not to overwhelm a team with a new change and then have that change brushed aside due to higher priorities.
This pre-change assessment focuses on how agile the organization is. Surveys and roundtables help to determine an overall feel for the organization’s readiness. They also help when conducting a retrospective of the changes that occurred over the last 6 months. Is the team burned out or ready for something new?
Once the team moves into the change phase, measurement must continue. Taking snapshots of the organization while the change is in progress gives insight into how effective the change is being managed. It also provides quick feedback on whether a course correction is needed.
When leading change, there will be diversions from the plan. One will learn by making alterations and adjusting accordingly; however, one must avoid veering too far off-track. These mid-change metrics will help with course corrections back to the original path if encountering diversions.
Measuring change as it occurs involves looking at a wide gambit of factors. First, how many of the project’s actions are being completed? Is the workforce engaged in the process? Has dissent risen? It is important to continue to issue surveys, conduct feedback sessions, and publish the results to keep a finger on how effective the change implements.
When the change completes, how does one know if they achieved success? The easy answer is to ask if the desired shift was brought to fruition; however, that only tells part of the story. Often the change can take effect, but nevertheless it fails.
Many stakeholders will deprioritize the post-change assessment by saying, “Why bother? Call it complete.” Measurements at this stage, however, provide rich insights into the needed adjustments. This is how to learn what not to do next time.
Post-change measurements offer a plethora of measurements to look at. The velocity and effectiveness that it takes to implement the change can show the strong-armed management or engagement of the organization. There will be a continued need to survey and solicit feedback throughout the post-change process.
Keeping a finger on the pulse of the organization to know how “change-agile” it is will pay long-term dividends. Change is inevitable and continual. A great change experience that does not leave a bad taste in everyone’s mouth can position an organization to be a step ahead of its competitors.
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