A flexible change management approach – a vital asset in a world in motion
My experience has led me to believe that a solid change management approach is a key factor in the success of a transformation project. It helps us develop a clear vision of the transformation – a vision that takes on its full meaning as it is concretely put into practice across operations with the support of managers. The approach must include activities aimed at all levels of the organization: at the strategic level through a clear definition of the vision and objectives of the transformation; at the tactical level through an in-depth analysis of the organizational impacts; and at the operational level through a solid implementation plan.
Today however, few organizations introduce only one change at a time. Due to a multitude of often interconnected changes, it is inevitable for the vision of the initial organizational transformation to constantly evolve. That is why a change management approach that is too incremental or linear – one step at a time in a set order – may not be the best way to manage transformations.
Let me explain. For example, let’s consider one of the preliminary steps found in most change management approaches: context analysis. Among other things, this step requires that we answer several strategic questions: “where are we going?”, “why are we aiming for this particular target?”, “why change now?”, “what are the expected benefits?”, and “how do we go about it?” More often than not, the answers to these questions evolve along with the organization’s strategy and therefore its transformation projects. This necessarily impacts the change management project plan at both the tactical and operational levels. We find ourselves in a situation where we must constantly update our deliverables so that they reflect the evolution of the organization’s actual operations throughout the project – from beginning to end. We must be both nimble and flexible. And what about those projects that are increasingly carried out “on the go”? These projects compound the need for modern change management approaches that steer away from those that are incremental and linear.
In light of this, Brio has also modernized its own approach to change management. Our new CAPTE approach includes five major phases: Comprehend-Adhere-Participate-Transfer-Evolve. At first glance, these familiar words are placed in a logical order. However, note that these aren’t actually project phases but rather change management objectives to be achieved. The order is not necessarily linear and supports activities that can be carried out in parallel or consequentially.
The CAPTE approach is just as structured as more traditional approaches except that it can be applied to both traditional and “on the go” projects. During my current mandate, I have tested this new approach. The result? A greater ability to react quickly when decisions linked to my project change, when questions remain unanswered. I can now update my deliverables continuously. I also noticed that by introducing the various phases of the approach as objectives to be achieved to the different stakeholders of the change, it was much more accessible to operational managers and therefore easier to grasp.
Continuous transformations within organizations means that having a structured change management approach is no longer sufficient to ensure proper monitoring and ultimately the success of projects that require greater nimbleness. This approach must also be flexible and adaptable to this new reality. Because changing in a world that is constantly evolving is key.