Sunday, December 20, 2009

Characteristics of Effective Change Management

The other day I posted about the steps necessary to Create a Lean Culture and mentioned the important role leaders have in this process. Changing the culture of an organization requires effective management. Peter Drucker, one of the most influential management thinkers of the past century, said ‘management is about human beings’ and advocated leadership by effective management.

"Management Effectiveness" means having the perspective and judgment to do the right things. It is about leveraging the power of people and their creativity in doing so throughout the repeating cycle of vision, execution, and outcome. Far from blind execution of orders, effectiveness requires synthesizing information and stepping up to challenge conventional wisdom. Effectiveness is the wholeness of the decisions - it's synthesizing and balancing multiple, often competing, objectives in a manner that enhances individuals and society with no negative impact. Effectiveness also means the ability to make mistakes and learn from them.

With this backdrop from Peter Drucker I propose that there are six C’s for effective change management:

Commitment – Empathy and support from the top levels with the ability to persevere through the inevitable resistance to change. The willingness to assign good personal and the time and money required for the improvement effort.

Communication – The skill to communicate to the entire workforce on how, when and why change is going to occur, combined with the ability to gain their input, ownership and buy-in. Clear and frequent communication is the key to dissipate uncertainty and fear.

Consensus – An agreement on the best path to take forward for success. Involvement of the people concerned to create ownership and alignment of vision. The greater the connection to the change the greater the willingness to change will be.

Consistency – People need to understand that this is not just a fad that will pass, but that you are serious about sticking to it. Repeated desirable thinking, behaviors, and practices form the basis of an organization’s culture.

Cultivation – Encourage and foster learning and teaching at all levels in the organization. Refine the culture of the organization as needs and opportunities change. Make the change relevant to everyone within the organization

Constantly – Regular uninterrupted activity is required for all people in the organization for all the C’s above. Always looking to improve all aspects of what we do to add value and eliminate waste.

The effectiveness of change (E) is the product of the quality of change (Q), time the acceptance of change (A) : E = Q x A. Excelling in either quality or acceptance is not all it takes; both factors complement each other.

There is no quick solution for changing the culture of an organization. With effective management to focus on the quality of change and the six C’s to aid in the acceptance of change you will be well on your way to transforming your organization.

1 comment:

  1. Tim,
    Nice post--I use a similar set of 'C's that I call Lean Transformation Waste. Commitment, competence, communication, and connection. Deficiencies in any area of those areas creates waste and hampers the growth of a Lean culture.
    Jeff Hajek