It’s said that the only constant in life is change. The same holds true for business; and in business the rate of change is constantly accelerating. It can be overwhelming, which can leave employees in a state of confusion that leads to lower productivity and can even hold a company back from reaching its full potential.
This is why one of the most important skills an organization needs today is the ability to adapt to change. What many people fail to realize is that successful adaptation doesn’t happen by itself. Successful adaptation requires the structure, support, and process of a formal change management practice.
While product management takes the lead on the technology side of innovation, change management focuses on the human side of change—on the experience. Change management complements technological advances within an organization by making sure that the people and the business get the most out of that technology. Change management also ensures that you have a way to accurately measure the impact of a given change on your business, because a product implementation or rollout can’t really be considered successful unless you have the data to show positive outcomes.
In this piece, the first in a three-part series, we’re going to look at the very real benefits change management delivers at the project level, to your employees, and for your business. There really are few opportunities that deliver quite as much short- and long-term ROI as well-executed change management.
Why Change Management Matters – It’s About Much More Than Project Success
Before we look at the many benefits of change management, it’s important to understand the hard truth about change. More than 70 percent of change projects fail, and 72 percent of those failures are due to one of two things: employee resistance to change or management’s lack of support for change. A strong change management practice addresses both those pitfalls head on, giving an organization a very real leg up on ensuring that their change investments have a very real ROI.
When companies fail to engage in formal change management, or make only a half-hearted attempt, they rob themselves of the opportunity to drive tangible bottom-line business outcomes. Well-done change management, on the other hand, can make a world of difference across a wide range of key metrics.
Take a project we did with a global telecommunications company that needed a new website to elevate sales delivery and the customer experience. Our change management strategy prepared internal stakeholders for the change and minimized the potential for revenue loss as customers migrated to the new cloud service line. At the end of the day, this organization had achieved:
- $223M Q1 revenues (which beat analysts’ consensus)
- +95% accuracy of project timeline/go-live task completion dates
- 0 project-related voluntary departures during the engagement period
- +48.72% increase in new cloud subscriptions
- +5.18% increase in total recurring revenue
While business outcomes like this are reason enough to take change management seriously, there’s also the matter of remaining competitive. Globalization and constant technology innovation are two of the external forces driving the need for expertly led change management. There are many influences outside your control that can only be addressed by quick and effective adaptation; and change management is the way to ride those waves and outmaneuver the competition.
The Many Benefits of Change Management – It Can Transform Your Business
The benefits of change management are far reaching. They are not limited to the realm of an individual project’s delivery or initial success. They can, in fact, touch and even fuel all the major areas of your organization, delivering both short- and long-term ROI in a variety of ways.
Here are just a few of the most widely experienced and meaningful benefits:
- Ensure that the solution meets employee and stakeholder needs — Focus on what’s needed to accomplish tasks and influence key success metrics rather than what individual groups might want or think they need.
- Increase adoption — Engage people across your organization in the change process. Make sure everyone is up to speed on their roles and how to use the new technology. Create the support system and communication strategy to maintain an ongoing conversation.
- Avoid wasted project effort and investment — Poorly managed change not only decreases the success rate and initial ROI of a project, it also increases the risk of needing to do expensive and time consuming rework.
- Deliver employee-centered solutions and future-state desirability — Improve engagement, efficiency, and productivity with solutions that are designed around the way your employees work, meeting immediate needs and anticipating future needs.
- Increase talent engagement, retention, productivity, and performance — Ensure that the solution is designed to make a positive impact on your business by delivering on specific objectives such as increasing skills, improving knowledge sharing, enhancing employee morale, reducing administrative burden, and so forth.
- Establish high trust in leadership and long-term strategic commitment — When employees see leadership taking the time and making the investment to manage change in a strategic and comprehensive way, it increases their trust in leadership and the long-term outlook of the company.
- Create long-term change in leadership capability — When leaders fully embrace change management, they learn a whole new set of skills that can be applied across a wide variety of small and large endeavors across the organization.
- Limit disruption to the customer, business, and other projects — Mitigate risk and unexpected challenges by taking a proactive approach to implementation and roll out based on broad experience and best practices.
- Change metric tracking leads to business outcomes — Identify the key performance indicators that matter most to your business. Focus on selecting data that is trackable and for which you have a high degree of confidence in the integrity of the source and quality of the data points.
- Validate business cases and redirect investment if needed — Take advantage of the due diligence built into the change management process to take stock at key milestones and make strategic, data-informed decisions about how to proceed for the best possible outcomes.
- Realize vision and overall strategy — Focus on the big picture by taking a holistic and comprehensive approach to change. Build organizational agility to accommodate change and an ability to pivot toward the market. In the current climate, it's especially important to build resilience into your plan. Keep your focus on the intended business outcomes, but make sure you're able to pivot your change program as needed, without losing sight of your goals.
- Deliver a better customer experience — Influence positive affects far beyond the internal operations of your organization. Use a superior employee experience to create a superior customer experience.
- Create better alignment between organizational values and organizational practices — Demonstrate how you value your employees by making sure they have the tools and information they need to understand and fulfill their new roles successfully.
Change Management – The Power Skill Leading Organizations Need Now
Ultimately, change management helps you prepare your organization for the future. When you embrace change management, you have the opportunity to become an expert at addressing the ongoing and rapid-fire change that is an intrinsic and unavoidable part of today’s always-evolving business landscape.
It’s important to remember, however, that change management isn’t a one-time event. It’s not a single project or announcement. It’s an ongoing process and practice that needs to be woven into everything you do across your organization.
Getting started with change management is not as complicated as you might assume. It starts with simply listening, but more on that in the next installment of this series. Or, if you’re ready to learn more now, Contact Rightpoint today. We’d love to hear about your change initiative and answer your questions.