How to Lead Successful Organizational Change

The last two years have demonstrated that the need to identify what is broken or likely to break will be highly important for organizations. Across all industries, companies now see that they must develop and prototype roles, processes and technology changes needed to effectuate change.

Unfortunately, identifying our operational risks is more often than not impeded by a broad range of psychological and organizational biases (examples: endowment effect, status quo bias, etc).

However, more often than not organizations treat change as a project to be managed rather than recognizing effective change must be seen as a before and after proposition.

The substantial availability of resources and expertise focused on helping make change happen leads us to wonder why most organizational change efforts fail. More importantly, it caused us to think about how we can succeed more when we take on these challenges.

At CESO, we think successfully creating change comes down to two things:

  • Time
  • Attention

Many may say this is obvious, and that helps prove the point. Despite how obvious these ideas might be, most organizations are terrible at implementing change. At CESO, we believe the proper alignment of attitude, tools, and resources can greatly improve the likelihood that the changes needed in an organization will be realized.

One of the first lessons learned in any change process is that managing the change needs to be someone’s job. Change is hard and it needs to be respected. It requires the focused attention required to manage the minefield of organizational resistance, ongoing operations, and resource competition. You can’t do that if the change process is given attention on nights and weekends. Constant attention over the duration of the effort is the only way real change will happen.

To pay attention you need time. However, it isn’t just hours you need. Effectuating change requires the time to think, communicate, browbeat, plan, communicate (we say it twice because it is really important!!), and adapt. Time needs to be treated like the precious commodity that it is and used with care and intentionality. Not doing that means that the gap between what you want and what you get will be so big that it can only be called failure.

CESO provides the focused time and the needed attention to create, monitor, and manage simple and complex change efforts. We know that the first instinct in an organization is often to attack and kill change because, well, it is change and it can be disruptive. However, our experience, domain expertise, and process management approach allows us to create a momentum for and commitment to improving performance.


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