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Leveraging change series : Do you know the 5 levers for sustainable changes?

Traditional change management methodologies focus on what needs to be done for a specific change to be successful. If these methodologies are necessary, can they guarantee the success of a change? Even more: repeatable success one change after another?

Don’t you wish? Well, I’ve worked with many organizations, in many industries and in many countries, and what I’ve observed is that a methodology and a few change specialists just isn’t enough to guarantee the success of any change in an organization.

To deliver success, change after change, an organization needs to work on organizational levers that will permeate its culture, its structures, and its people so that all the changes the organization undertake have much higher chances of success. Over the years, research and experience has contributed to nailing down 5 such levers that have a direct impact on the success rate of changes:

  1. Highly important goals. Identifying the organization’s highly important goals and ensure the organization has the capacity to make it happen.
  2. Connected leadership. Ensure leadership is connected to teams, clients, partners and colleagues.
  3. Engaging the entire organization. Facilitate engagement through various tools and techniques or by breaking down silos.
  4. Flexible structures and practices. Put in place flexible practices and structures to foster innovation, support rapid deployment, facilitate decision-making, etc.
  5. Specific observable behaviours. Work on modifying key behaviours to ensure the sustainable success of changes.

When the organization focuses on a few well defined and shared strategic goals, chances are the changes it undertakes will deliver the expected results because the focus of the entire organization will be on meeting these goals. Focussing on strategic goals increases employees’ engagement because they can link their responsibilities, activities, tasks, etc. to the success of the organization. But to succeed in sharing goals, priorities, or values, an organization’s leaders have to be connected to all the individuals who can contribute to the success of their organization from their clients to their suppliers including employees, colleagues and partners.

Internal practices and structures may need to be rejuvenated to improve flexibility, provide easy and quick access to information that is critical to fast and effective decision-making, or allow to deploy changes quickly and successfully.

If it all makes sense, that won’t lead to success either if the organization doesn’t adopt new behaviours to make it all stick today and tomorrow. Identify the one or two key behaviours that will have the most lasting impacts on the sustainability of the improvement to any of these levers and focus on integrating them as an organization for 6-12 months and you should start seeing lasting changes in the way your organization brings about change; integrates change; leverages change.

What is your experience?

Follow me over the next few months as I discuss each one of these levers in more details.

Manon Champagne, President, Cofounder.

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