Change management risk assessment is based on the premise that “organisational risk” is the inverse of “change readiness”. In other words, the more ready the organisation is to change, the lower the risk of risk assessment report pdf of the change initiative. So if we establish some useful means for defining and calibrating change readiness then we can take steps to mitigate the likely causes of failure. An appropriately selected change readiness assessment tool not only informs an initial change management risk assessment, but it also forms a baseline and be can re-administered to measure progress in change readiness – and thus reduction in change management risk – over time.
For a project management based change initiative, these change management risk assessments will help to reduce project risk. The results of these assessments will shape key areas of the change management strategy and plan – specifically the communication strategy. However, many companies – particularly in North America – do not stop and evaluate lessons leaned from past change initiatives before launching the next one. If you get that knowledge upfront, it can save you great grief and money later on. We used to believe that change occurs in cycles and waves that ebb and flow. This may be accurate over long time spans of hundreds of years, but in the present the rate of change is continually increasing and this has a significant impact on any change management risk assessment.
Many organisations just can’t keep up with the speed of change. I was tempted to headline this point the “death of command and control” – but that is not strictly true as there will always be situations where there is a need for firm direction and senior management edicts for compliance with the legal requirements related to the management and governance of organisations, and also in crisis situations. However, in the “horizontal world” we now live in, information is available to all and the current and emergent technology infrastructure coupled with the proliferation of social media channels and tools allows for almost immediate dissemination and comment of gossip, opinion and factual information. The days when decisions affecting many were taken by a few and then imposed on the many are dying – if for no other reason than people want and expect to be involved and they resist change that is imposed upon them. Learning how to mobilize the informal elements of an organization to accelerate the formal elements goes a long way in helping leaders fill the gap between intention and results. Where the shadow and formal organisations come into conflict in a change situation, the balance of influence in the shadow organisation will almost always win the day. With the exception of technical, financial and legal issues, the answers to issues relating to successful change planning, change impacts, change implementations and most importantly benefit realisation are to be found at the frontline with those directly involved in “doing it”.
In my experience, courtesy and empathic listening to the people at the “coal face” will not only uncover the issues and impacts but will also identify the potential solutions. The key for this to happen is for an easing of centralised command and control by the directors and senior management, to enable the change leaders to work in consultation and collaboration with the leaders of the informal networks. But, this rarely happensunless organisational leadership are facing a direct exposure to their own interests! There is a seismic — though as yet undetected — shift now under way in much of the advanced world. We are moving from an economy and a society built on the logical, linear computer-like capabilities of the Information Age to an economy and a society built on the inventive, empathic, big-picture capabilities of what’s rising in its place, the Conceptual Age. The forces driving this shift are globalisation and increasing outsourcing and emergence of lower cost alternatives oveseas, ever increasingly powerful techonologies that render many types of work obsolete, and the deepening desire for non-material personal growth.