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An Organisation’s change capability

What is a change capability and why is it required?

It is no surprise to say that change has a poor record of success. I would imagine that everybody has experienced a project that has overrun or not delivered benefit. 

However it is possible to implement successful change and one of the key elements is ensuring that your organisation has an organisational-wide level change capability which will give you the skills, culture, tools, etc to manage change successfully. 

This change capability should be viewed in the same way as a marketing or manufacturing capability that various organisations has. This is because change is an ongoing fact of life and your organisation needs this capability to survive. 

There are three main elements.

Senior Management support and Communication

There must be consistent management support and direction for all changes being made. This will ensure people know what changes are in progress and how important they are. This support needs to be delivered by clear and consistent communication.

Human Factors

Managing these factors is the most important part of change. If you do not manage this then it could result in resistance, fear and suspicion. Consequently your organisation’s culture must support change. Your people need to feel involved, have the confidence to express ideas and feel motivated. You should aim to involve 
impacted stakeholders so they understand how the change will impact them personally and (if possible) allow them to have an input into outcomes.

Process Factors

Change is an ongoing activity which means processes and structures are needed.

At a senior level you should have an organisational-wide committee to ensure you employ your limited change capacity on the most important changes. This committee should also provide guidance around prioritisation and track the progress of inflight changes.

At a more ‘on-the-ground’ level you should have a standard pan-organisational change process which covers initiating change, planning change, executing change, closing change and managing risks.

You should also ensure that there is an organisation-wide change control process to review any changes to scope, timeline and costs to a particular change and its impact to other change.

Finally, and most importantly, it is essential that any processes match the culture and context of the organisation. For example if for a small organisation, a complex change process was implemented then it could be rejected.

About the Author | Paul Taylor

Paul Taylor

Paul is an MBA alumnus and consultant with over 30 years’ experience of implementing change across the financial services, oil/gas, charities and professional bodies.

He’s an author and speaker on a variety of subjects covering change, freelancing, technology, financial services, research approaches, etc. He’s written and published two books; “So you want to go contracting” and “So you want successful change”. 

A Chair and NED for a variety of industry and social enterprises covering gambling addiction awareness, performing Arts for the BAME population and women’s related retail productions. 

Paul is also a mentor for career planning, career changes, etc.

He’s an Associate Lecturer for The Open University Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics school teaching Technology Management.

Paul is currently studying for a PhD at Middlesex University.

© Paul Taylor 2017
Reviewed 2022

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