Assessing Organizational Readiness Webinar Q&A
We recently hosted a lively webinar on Organizational Change Management titled “Is Your Organization Project Capable? Assessing Organizational Readiness” by one of our senior training instructors, Stevie Peterson. There were tons of questions and time ran out before we could answer all of them. Stevie wrote answers to the leftover questions, and we list them here. If you missed the webinar, you can see a recorded version on our webinars page.
Q: Please speak to the importance of level setting expectations on a routine basis.
A: I believe this would refer to the overall criticality of ongoing, 2-way communication throughout the process. In addition, a feedback loop is necessary to keep “a finger on the pulse” of impacted personnel; again, that’s one of the primary responsibilities of the Change Network team members.
Q: How do you keep your creativity at your job when they constantly want to change but are using the wrong change agents to change? It’s like a continuous never ending loop cycle and it starts to become tiresome.
A: AGREED! Hopefully, they’ll reach out to get some help on how to best implement change. Are they open to feedback? Can you discuss this with your manager or other trusted leader? Unfortunately, there’s just not a pat answer for this question; the answer really is “It depends!” Each situation/culture is different therefore the only consistent guidance I could give is to talk to a trusted, credible manager or perhaps HR about your concerns.
Q: What do you suggest when there’s a long history of badly managed change?
A: My guess is that employees are tired. The best thing a leader can do is publicly acknowledge the shortcomings of change efforts in the past and engage employees in the new plan. This leader would need to be credible and will have to realize that impacted personnel might very well have a “show me” attitude. In this circumstance, a Change Network is absolutely essential.
Q: I’m leading a companywide project to improve businesses processes that are used by all our divisions. Do you consider this organizational change? The confidential statement slide seems opposite to our strategy. What am I mixing up?
A: An assessment of an organization’s readiness for change can contain sensitive information (e.g., who is a member of the grapevine, who is likely to magnify or distort our messages, etc.); hence, the confidentiality clause (sort of like organizational “medical records”). Whenever you’re asking people to act or think differently, that comes under the organizational change umbrella. Some org changes are relatively painless and just require communication and training; others, look to transform the organization and need MUCH more rigor.
Q: Where did you get your stats for 72% of strategic projects fail?
A: Google it or if you have a subscription to Gartner, Harvard Business Review, or the Infrastructure Executive Council you can obtain the studies. The percentage is higher for IT-based projects.
Q: Some times change is imitated based on the IT strategy? How can the Org readiness be assessed in such case as the change is imitated by a Business Unit or a team only?
A: Exactly the same way if the organization change is associated with a project or program. If there is no project or program, the tools and concepts are the same but the application may look a bit different.
For more information and to learn skills related to Organizational Change Management, see our course on the subject, Organizational Change Management.
Richard Larson, PMP, CBAP, PMI-PBA, was the founder of and is now a consultant for Watermark Learning. He is a successful entrepreneur with over 35 years of experience in product development, business analysis, project management, training, and consulting. As an internal entrepreneur, Rich led the development of several Watermark Learning online products as a business analyst and product owner.
Rich is a frequent speaker at Business Analysis and Project Management national conferences and IIBA® and PMI® chapters around the world. He has contributed as a lead author to the BA Body of Knowledge version 2.0 and 3.0 and was a lead author on PMI’s Business Analysis Practice Guide. He and his wife Elizabeth Larson have co-authored five books on business analysis.