Positive change is one of the cornerstones of any organization’s progress and survival. In an organizational setting, changes vary in scale and scope and often involve a shift in structure, strategy, people, and processes. Despite its promises of growth, innovation, and better opportunities, poorly communicated changes may cause uncertainty and confusion across an organization, leading people to be more reluctant to accept and embrace change.
To guide PGS practitioners in facilitating change and leading transitions amid disruptions, the Institute for Solidarity in Asia (ISA) conducted a Skills Lab on Change Management last June 24 to 25, 2021. Facilitated by Ms. Elizha Corpus, Managing Director and Lead Consultant of Elizha Corpus Consulting, the new Skills Lab course gathered 48 delegates from public hospitals, national government agencies, and the private sector, and featured a mixture of lectures, case studies, and workshops on the principle of change management.
Here are 5 things you missed from her engaging discussion:
1. Employee-centric change delivers twice the impact compared to a process-centric approach.
“Process-centric change feels very top-down and cares more about the rules, guidelines, and policy. An employee-centric change uses authentic and relevant communication. It’s also about co-owning change implementation with employees and building long-term capability.”—Ms. Corpus
2. Our reality is VUCA.
“We change in response to our VUCA world. VUCA means that the world is volatile. There’s an increased and very rapid rate of change. The world is also uncertain. We’re not clear about the future and even the present. It’s complex, everything is interconnected and interdependent. And our world is very ambiguous. There’s a lack of clarity on events and multiple truths can occur.”—Ms. Corpus
3. 70% of change initiatives fail due to employee resistance. (McKinsey, 2015)
“Even if we can manage [change], 70% of change initiatives fail. If we’re constantly changing but 70% of those are failing, that means we are failing so much and there’s a lot of demotivation in the air. When it comes to change, there are problems related to initiating the change, challenges in sustaining change, and challenges in experimentation.”—Ms. Corpus
4. There are four considerations in change.
Elements – Your change can be about strategy, structure, processes, people, or rewards.
Level – There are three basic levels: the organization, team, and individual.
Magnitude – There are four scales of change: fine-tuning, incremental, modular, and organization-wide
Timeframe – It could be short-term (3-6 months) or in the long-term (3-5 years)
5. Storytelling is one of the most important tools for change.
“The most important for culture consultants is storytelling. It is what can help you push for new behaviors and mindsets. We like stories and listening to them. When you communicate your change, you can find ways to mimic the parts of the story: exposition, conflict (problem), rising action (solutions), climax, falling action (result), and resolution.”—Ms. Corpus
Ultimately, the change management expert said that everything she shared during the two-day workshop is all anchored on culture. In anticipating the organization’s reaction to change, leaders can look and rely on culture.
“The way you craft your change will be about how will [sic] these behaviors affect culture in the future. We’ve been talking about culture change all along—change management is just a part of it,” she said.