Organizational Change Management is the practice of enabling people to adopt change. At the core, it is about understanding that facilitating or leading change is, above all, about inspiring, motivating, and working with people to make it happen by generating an environment in which change and learning, both individual and organizational, is not only possible, but easy.
Are you ready to get started? Good news! Our Super Change Agents are here to provide some guidance on five elements that your organization needs to address in your mission to develop a sustainable solution for adapting to a constant state of change. In fact, we developed our NextB Change framework to help companies address these areas and create a custom solution for change adoption.
1. Prepare for Change
Unfortunately, there are no recipes or magic formulas to know if you are really ready to face change. Each organization is unique and will need to prepare for change by discovering the approach, techniques, and practices that best fit their culture and ways of working.
A good starting point for any Change Agent and, ultimately, for an organization that decides to take on a change or transformation is to understand what is motivating the change. It is essential to ask questions like: “Why do we want to change?” and “How do we know if we’re ready?” No matter what approach an organization chooses (or develops themselves), it’s important as an organization and, in particular, as the people who lead the organization, to encourage these kinds of questions to be asked, and to be asked loudly, openly, and without fear. You will find that each question will generate new questions. Even better, this will spur more and more conversations about the importance of adapting to constant change.
If there is one thing that I can guarantee, it is that effective change in an organization is possible if you know how to work with and empower the people going through it.
Applying NextB Change
Define the Vision and Narrative of Change
When it comes to preparing and laying a solid foundation for change, our framework starts by defining the change vision and narrative. The vision answers the questions, “Why do we want to change?” and “What is the future that awaits us?”. It will act as a compass and a reference when it comes to making decisions about where we want to go throughout the process. When defining the vision, it is important to also define what a “successful change” looks like, along with performing impact analysis to determine how prepared the organization is for change.
In addition, the vision should be supported by a change narrative or story that is inspiring, clear, and concrete to help all people who will go through the change to understand its purpose and view it as something real, desirable, and achievable.
2. Change by Changing Yourself
Our Super Change Agents have started their mission! Like all of us, they face a new challenge every day. Today, they have come across people who are resistant to change!
In general, we all understand adaptation to change as a good thing, and that is precisely the problem: we understand it from a logical perspective, but deep down we know that to really change, we have to actually behave in a different way.
This feeling of anxiety and uncertainty will almost always slow the change down. We are tempted to place the blame elsewhere, to believe that if our bosses do not change, we cannot change; we even feel that we do not have enough capacity to influence and introduce new changes. We feel like there’s no room for change to emerge. We don’t see any room for error and therefore for learning. Sound familiar?
In this situation, how can our Super Change Agents help you create an environment for change to emerge?
To reduce the anxiety that many people will innately feel when faced with change, it is best to have a flexible atmosphere that includes these practices:
- Do not over-plan. To maintain the momentum of change, it is best to deliver results as soon as possible. Focus on starting work with the new framework and management as soon as possible.
- Experiment and collaborate. Complexity and uncertainty in change require being able to generate learning and create environments in which error is tolerated. Validate hypotheses without business impact. Experimentation allows you to focus on continuous learning in change.
- Feedback Loops. On an ongoing basis, encourage conversation and feedback on how to improve.
Applying NextB Change
Principles that Facilitate Change
At Netmind, we believe in transformational, people-centered organizations. To drive them, the key to adapting to change is to grow individual and organizational competencies through continuous learning.
Specifically, NextB Change was developed on the basis of three principles centered around learning and empowerment in order to move people to action through change:
- Internal leadership. All change initiatives must be led by the organization, by the people who will be impacted by change.
- Learn from experience: Because we are in a VUCA environment, we need to learn from what we are discovering.
- Knowledge transfer: There is no learning without an open attitude of sharing knowledge. Between the Netmind team and our customers, but also across your entire organization.
(about how to leap into the scary but wonderful world of adapting to constant change):
Are you ready? #BeTheChange
3. Overcome Obstacles
On a daily basis, we encounter obstacles that hold back change, such as inertia (resistance to change), biases (preconceived ideas of how the world or our company works), and attachments (to people, to projects, etc.). Sometimes we are not even aware of them, but they can be powerful enough to slow down change.
As Super Change Agents, how can we help you overcome these “forces of evil”?
Developing internal change agents among the people in your organization is the most effective way to overcome the obstacles to change. The first thing is to understand is what a Change Agent is and is not.
A change agent is anyone who:
- acts intentionally, albeit without formal authority, to facilitate change in an organization
- helps teams implement new ways of working – such as Scrum Master, Agile Coach, Consultant, or Business Analyst
- seeks to create internal networks within the organization to do things better or differently, challenge the status-quo, and experiment
A change agent is not someone who is:
- limited to by size of the project they are working on
- bound to a specific department or area
We are all the change. We can all be change agents, and we also have “powers” to help the organization change. That is, we have resources, skills, and personal competencies that we must use (and develop if we need to) to be good Change Agents. What are these competencies? Find out in this article: The Super Change Agent: Making Change Contagious + Learning Experimentation Templates.
Applying NextB Change
Roles and Responsibilities to Facilitate Change
As part of our NextB Change framework, we define the following roles and responsibilities. First, who can make decisions about change? There are three governance levels: the Board Team, Change Team, and Teams.
In addition, we need change agents or, better yet, Super Change Agents in all organizational levels. That’s why we also define the roles of Transformative Leaders, Change Agents, and Change Ambassadors.
(about how to be a Change Agent):
4. Embrace Continuous Adaptation to Change
One less day to accomplish the mission! Or one more day? Our Super Change Agents are excited to be a step closer to fulfilling their mission. However, the reality is that adapting to change never ends.
Given this truth, we need to make sure that, as individuals and as an organization, we are prepared to take on more change. But how do we take on this challenge?
If change is constant, the best approach to take when tackling more change is an agile one. Agile frameworks emerged at a time when software development was facing a similar problem – technology development became continuous. Developers were forced to work faster and more accurately. Since then, Agile has been applied not just to software development, but to all areas of the organization, and even to change management. Agile is the perfect model for continuous adaption to change.
But how can we implement agility in our organization? Why should we? What does agility have to do with change management? Because change is the new normal, and agility allows continuous adaptation to change.
Applying NextB Change
And that’s why NextB Change is based on an agile culture mindset. It’s structured in a collaborative, iterative, and incremental work process, which guarantees a solution adapted to the reality of the organization.
Through different iterations, the Change Initiative Backlog is defined, analyzed, and adapted. And, in each iteration, an increase in Change is delivered.
Under the Build – Measure – Learn model, NextB Change proposes to evolve change through the practices of experimenting, collaborating, and not over-planning. Agility promotes continuous adaptation to the complex, volatile, and uncertain environments in which we live. Let’s add to the agile change!!
(about agile change management):
Bonus track! Be sure to watch this video that explains what Change Management is.
5. Foster a Culture that Supports Change
Our Super Change Agents have helped with some important lessons so far, but they still lack a very important one: the great challenges and transformations facing organizations involve changing organizational culture. And that’s one of the most complicated and time-consuming challenges!
Culture is not planned or designed; it happens, it is generated, through daily interactions between people. Life happens, as John Lennon said, while you’re making plans. Reinforcing a culture that supports continuous adaptation to change is the big challenge. How can we foster cultural change?
Unfortunately, there isn’t a prescriptive answer for this question. While we do make some recommendations in several other articles (see Learn More below), the truth is that every organization has a culture that is already engrained within itself and is different from the next. Efforts to change culture should be unique to each organization in order to be successful.
Applying NextB Change
A Process to Facilitate Change
One of our framework’s main points of focus is the adoption of change by the people who are affected by it. But this framework also includes two additional workflows (workstreams): framework development and cultural change.
(about how to drive organizational change):
For more information on how Netmind can help your organization to lead their mission in organizational change management, please let us know!