Failure reasons in change management are many and varied. But one thing is painfully clear: Any organisational initiative that creates change – or has a significant change element to it – has a 70% chance of not achieving what was originally envisaged. So risk management and mitigation is clearly an extremely important aspect of the change management process.
A programme management based approach to change leadership and change management will cause you to clearly think through all of the key aspects of how you are going to deliver your vision. So as you think about and plan your proposed change – these are the 8 questions that will set you on the right course:
(1) How’s it going to be different when I’ve made the change?
(2) Why am I doing this – how’s it going to benefit me?
(3) How will I know it’s benefited me?
(4) Who’s it going to affect and how will they react?
(5) What can I do to get them “on side”?
(6) What are the risks and issues that I’ll have to face?
(7) What steps do I take to make the changes and get the benefit?
(8) How am I going to manage all this so that it happens and I succeed?
The risk question comes in at number six because if you carefully work through the earlier questions you will go a long way to anticipating and mitigating a lot of the obvious risks – not least the people related risks and issues.
Creating a simple risk management strategy and risk log
However as you progress through your change initiative, the nature, likelihood and impact of perceived risks will change over the duration of the programme. Also, some risks will become greater as a result of another unforeseen event occurring, and new risks may need to be identified as implementation progresses.
It is extremely useful to take a structured approach to this by creating a simple risk management strategy and reviewing it regularly; and creating, maintaining and updating a “risk log” as risks change. This will shape how you approach the following:
– Allocating responsibilities and processes for risk monitoring and control
– Identifying new risks as they emerge
– Maintaining and updating your risk log
– Assessing risks and developing possible countermeasures
– Prioritising, actioning, controlling, escalating and reporting risks
Of all the strategies for managing change, and leading change, the programme management based approach is the most likely to ensure that you avoid the staggering and needless 70% failure rate.