Do you really have the change capability to transform?
Feb 22, 2019
A lot of clients ask me the same question: “how are we doing?” Benchmarking is something everyone wants to be able to do and historically we have been able to provide answers to this based on tangible metrics, like IT spend and risk management. However, more recently we have seen businesses asking about their change capability and looking for an assessment of their change management maturity.
To be clear, I’m not talking about the traditional change management of change request forms and tactical changes to a programme scope. In fact, a more apt name would be transformation management – the whole purpose of it is to manage the transformation undertaken in an organisation to effectively deliver a programme of work and ensure it achieves value.
This is evolution NOT revolution
Change management has taken on a more pronounced role in organisations as programmes of work become more complex, impacting more people and creating more disruption. We have been working with a number of new customers recently to provide a model for their change maturity and provide a baseline. With this type of work clearly not everyone will be hitting top marks, but it allows organisations to see where they are relative to where they want to be. This takes on more strategic importance if there are regulatory pressures, risk-conscious stakeholders or value-driven investors to consider.
Put simply, most organisations have typically focused on completion of the programme (i.e. go-live of a system) and put less emphasis on the wider implications for the business. It is time to change focus and ensure you are able to answer: will staff who’ve used a legacy system for 30 years embrace this new one? Does this programme align to our corporate strategy? Why are we doing this programme and what value does it derive? How is the broader change environment impacted?
A change management maturity assessment enables an organisation to assess its strengths and weaknesses in relation to change delivery (looking at the environment and not just at processes), against an objective industry standard that can be tracked and monitored.
Ultimately, it allows an organisation to see where it falls short and therefore highlights what needs to be improved to better manage transformation projects.
How does it work?
At its core the assessment provides the baseline of change maturity against a set of standard criteria. However it is only useful alongside the experience built up across different industries, programmes and regions, and bringing this accumulated knowledge to practically assessing the change function. That’s where the real benefit is.
Using this experience means the model can be flexed to suit the organisation; in one recent review, we added two separate perspectives – third party management and change culture – as experience showed that these had had an impact on the organisation’s change management capability in the past.
This is the value to organisations – they get an honest and independent assessment of their delivery capability, with evidenced, measurable results. It has allowed them to see clearly where their capability gaps lie, and where improvements can be made (whether that’s around recruitment, culture, governance or processes), and creates a clear structure for change.
To date, we have worked mainly with customers from across the financial services sector on this type of assessment. However it applies to any industry and can bring real benefits to organisations going through massive digital change. It's only a matter of time before more and more organisations understand the value they can get from this type or activity. Watch this space...