Enterprise Change Management: Institutionalizing Agility and Resilience

By Bill Wilder, Director of the Life Cycle Institute
As appeared in the Learning to Change e-Newsletter

People and organizations are recognizing that how they manage change has a direct bearing on their success in the marketplace. This success, coupled with the increasing pace of change, is creating a desire to:

  • build the ability to change quickly
  • increase the capacity for change
  • minimize the risks of change.

This desire to build organizational change competency is often referred to as Enterprise Change Management (ECM). Prosci, the global leader in change management research, describes ECM as the systematic deployment of change management skills, tools and processes throughout an organization.

The idea is similar to the concept of Standard Work commonly found in continuous improvement programs such as lean, six sigma, and total productive maintenance.

The benefits of an ECM approach include documentation of the current processes, reductions in variability, easier training of new employees, reduced resistance to change, and a baseline for improvement activities. ECM adds discipline to the culture with tools that support audits, promote problem solving, and involve team members in developing continuous improvement.

It produces more consistent results and organizational change management competency by establishing a common language and consistent application.  

The process of establishing ECM is unique to every organization. There are specific tools and established processes organizations can deploy that establish “standard work”. However, the organization’s unique leadership and culture will determine how these are deployed.

Like any successful change project, the implementation of ECM begins with leadership. Sponsorship is widely recognized as the number one factor in successful change projects. What the leaders talk about and ask questions about are what the organization will focus attention on.

It is important to establish early success for ECM. One way is to seek out a few projects that are moderate in scope and have significant organizational impact. Having engaged sponsors for these projects is crucial to early success. Use some of the same criteria you would use in selecting change management team members to identify sponsors of pilot projects. Sponsors should support the change and have influence within the organization.

Once projects and sponsors have been identified, deploy a structured change management methodology and tool kit. This change management approach should address two change management factors that most impact project success: sponsor engagement and resistance mitigation. Document activities and the correlation of change management activity to project results. Capture success stories. These are anecdotes of how change management sponsor engagement and resistance mitigation activity were able to influence individual behavior and results.

In conclusion, living organizations adapt to their changing environment. Organizations that are doing well today are those that demonstrate:

  • agility by adapting faster
  • resilience by adapting more often
  • project success by mitigating risks.

Bill Wilder, M.Ed is the founder and director of the Life Cycle Institute, the learning, leadership and change management practice at Life Cycle Engineering. The Institute integrates the science of learning and the science of change management to help organizations produce results through behavior change. You can reach Bill at [email protected].

© Life Cycle Engineering, Inc.


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