Research from Xceed Group’s Big Change project revealed an alarming finding: respondents definitely felt that their organisation’s ability to execute change effectively is not keeping up with demand. The vast majority felt that the volume of technology driven change initiatives had increased, but only a disappointing 17% said that their companies had become ‘much better’ at change in the same period.

Big Change shows no sign of slowing down, so how can companies adapt to keep up?

Firstly, companies are comprised of people and it’s the people aspect we have to think harder about when considering how to keep up with the demand for Big Change. No matter what the Big Change subject is – be it a new system implementation, a new way of working, a transformation driven by merger, acquisition or outsource – I’m always fascinated by people’s reaction when I ask about their ability to make the change. Most people will tell you that they are personally looking forward to not only helping make the change but also to embracing the changes that it will bring. This is rarely reflected in reality or across larger groups. One on one people appear positive but groups consistently display resistance and ‘status quo bias’. Keeping people front firmly in mind change agility and ability?

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1. Lead by Example –

If the leaders of the company are not demonstrating their commitment to change then they shouldn’t expect their People to be motivated when change is demanded. Appoint your best leaders to change projects to ensure they’re perceived as career making moves rather than career breaking ones.

2. Learn from Failure –

Success starts with failure- fast feedback loops, the willingness and ability to learn from failure and to build fluid models/methods and processes that detect and respond to failure are essential when transformation is constant. A huge cultural challenge and change for many large businesses.

3. Encourage Questioning –

A trait of many great innovators and outperforming companies is that they ask more and better questions. Getting to the heart of the issue is often overlooked in the rush to ‘do’ and take action. Taking the time and encouraging the culture to ensure you have a forensic diagnosis of the challenge or change before you jump in leads to better outcomes. In the long-run it saves time and money and increases the quality of the outcome.

4. Create Bandwidth –

Don’t be naïve and assume that people can cope with the multi-million dollar Big Change programmes on top of their day jobs. Good ways to create bandwidth include backfilling roles to free people to work full time on Big Change or design the Big Change programme team so that work streams are aligned and sponsored by key people who remain in their day jobs. Don’t be afraid to Bring in expertise and experience, even though the rate of Big Change is increasing most people will have little experience of implementing change programmes. Call in the experts but insist on knowledge transfer – appoint some of your best people to shadow and succeed any third parties you engage.

5. Motivation Matters –

Creating the right incentives is important. Personal objectives and bonus targets typically focus on the ‘day job’ but can easily be designed to reflect their contribution to ‘Big Change’. However, for complex work and high-performers motivation is more about Autonomy, Mastery and Purpose than money. Crafting your culture and people’s roles to increase these three motivators is at least as important as creating the right financial incentives.

That’s five particularly ‘People’ focused ways for organisations to increase their ability to keep up with the pace and volume of ‘Big Change’ – and that’s without mentioning that Attitude is more important than Skill.

Do you need help to adapt to Big Change Programmes? Contact our experts today.