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Securing budget approval for change management

A reading list for business case developers  

It is a much-heard siren song: projects fail that lack change management.

The 70% failure rate originated within the Hammer and Champy book “Re-engineering the organisation”. In 1993. The failure rate has not improved greatly in almost 30 years. Hart Square’s recent research found that 86% of projects failed because of problems faced with an organisation’s strategy, processes and the management and support of people. We still see many tech odysseys set forth without a change management plan and team onboard.

Yet there is hope.

Organisations in the sector are pushing for a commitment to well-planned change management activity within major technology change and digital transformation. This is most evident in our work with those leaders developing business cases for project funding.

If you are one of these brave individuals, you may well recognise this article’s central dilemma:

How do we prove a budget for change management will be worth the money?

Hart Square has a growing pool of qualified change managers, of which I am one.

I aim never to confuse people with theory. In this area of practice, there is much value in staring at the sun that is change management’s many theoretical concepts. There much truth lies.

The Change Manager’s Handbook is my well-thumbed desk companion.

In itself, it is an invaluable reference point. It branches off to vital reading in your quest to prove why your organisation must consider change (not just project) management investment.

Here are but a few very notable bases of evidence:

Think resistance to change

Your organisation, like all others, exists in a complex weather system of drivers for, and resistors, against change. Kurt Lewin’s Force Field Analysis will help you to explore these dynamics to gain a true understanding of change resistance inside your organisation. This will help you prove there will be a following wind behind your change, maximising drivers, and minimising resistance.

Think structural and cultural barriers to change

Your organisation, like all others, is unique in the way it exists. It has a unique culture. It is also somewhat complicated by the way it has adopted classical structures, be it hierarchies or networks. Gareth Morgan’s Images of Organisations simply lays out the various organisation structures and how these operate. This will help you understand who you are and how change works best for you.

Think fear of change

Your organisation, like all others, fears change, especially if done unto it without support or understanding. The foundational work of Elizabeth Kübler-Ross on Human Responses to Change – “the change curve” allows you to understand the stages people go through during change, and how you may identify and support people towards a place of acceptance and problem-solving.

Think chaos caused by change

Your organisation, like all others, does not like ambiguity and is eager to know that your change is well-planned into phases of transition. William Bridge’s transition model (Endings, Neutral Zone, New Beginnings) and Lewin’s Three Step Approach to Change (Unfreeze, Change, Refreeze) will offer two proven ways to plan and communicate the stages of change ahead across your organisation.

Think stakeholders – many different views about change

Your organisation, like all others, draws people to it who have major, differing stakes in its success. No one wants to be ignored. Everyone wants to know about the change and what’s in it for them. Patrick Mayfield’s Stakeholder Radar is one simple exercise you can run to identify, segment, and analyse your many stakeholders and plan what engagement they will need while changes are made.

Think Business-As-Usual (BAU) versus Change

Your organisation, like all others, is extremely busy, with work that cannot be dropped to help you make changes. Managers in particular will fight to protect resources if they believe you have not fully justified why releasing people to support change helps them. John Kotter simply describes a Dual Operating System which will help you build twin tracks of BAU and Change activity.

Think anxiety about learning and change

Your organisation, like all others, is anxious about learning new skills. People learn in different ways. One size does not fit all. Peter Honey and Alan Mumford’s Learning Styles will help you understand people’s learning preferences to plan training well. Isobel Myers and Katherine Briggs’ MBTI™ model is world renowned for its focus on personality types, and thus, different responses to change.

Think unhelpful feedback about change

Your organisation, like all others, is prone to trapping responses to change and not releasing the valves to numerous useful “feedback loops”. Peter Senge’s Systems Thinking describes a desired “self-reinforcing process” by which you may encourage positive forces which allow change to happen successfully in your organisation, restricting unhelpful forces and collecting vital feedback.

 

A qualified change manager will bring all of the above theories and more to bear during a change.

We understand the change management journey starts early at your organisation. We understand it is sometimes on your personal To-Do list to secure this investment. Theory is important as it adds evidence and integrity to your bid for funding.

These theories truly drive change and face down failure.

Get in touch if you would like to find out more about how we can support you on your change management journey.