Business is inherently about change and moving on to the next level – whatever the organization deems that to be. In our economy as a whole, the move from basic incrementalism to innovation is a critical change issue in most organizations. Those responsible for rolling up their sleeves and implementing initiatives around strategically driven change must understand the critically important components of the overall business priorities and strategy. They must make certain that those priorities are the driving factor in how human skill and knowledge development is built and utilized by the organization. Cultivating a culture where employees at every level possess the skills, competencies, behaviors, attitudes and beliefs that will support identified strategies is essential.
Line managers make decisions based on data. We believe it is imperative to understand what those critical numbers are and how to positively impact them using training as the vehicle. This becomes important in designing the appropriate data stream, coaching and performance management systems. This data also allows those responsible for the implementation to ‘educate upward’ and demonstrate to leadership the progress and payback of the initiative. Building enlightened executive sponsors is mainly a function of educating with data. Those involved in the effort need objective data as well as coaching to drive ongoing behavior change that is necessary to sustain organizational change. The key metrics must be identified, defined and built in on the front end of the implementation. Clarity around desired outcomes and how each will be measured is essential.
One of the strange ironies of implementing projects or solutions to achieve identified change strategies is the lack of a 360° dialogue element, and some direct linkage to the performance management system of the organization. Too often companies send a critical mass of personnel through some ‘training intervention’ or skill building effort and do nothing to ensure that the skills and knowledge are applied back on the job. Often, the assumption is made that the event in and of itself will bring about behavior change and application back on the job. This one factor is generally the death knell of most change-focused implementations. We believe it is critically important prior to launch to develop and discuss the process for application of the newly acquired skills, thinking, competencies, behaviors and processes back on the job. Open and candid dialogue that is both strategically and individually focused is an absolute must for implementation success.
Implementation strategy, planning and deployment are the most neglected parts of designing a successful change initiative. This represents the ‘roll up your sleeves and get dirty’ work that virtually everyone wants to wash their hands of, especially line managers in most cases. There are many reasons and excuses for why this takes place, but essentially line managers do not understand implementation well enough to be willing to engage in it in a significant way. Secondly, it is most likely viewed as high risk and non-career enhancing, not to mention possibly career destroying. It is vital to help educate sponsors to assure the implementation achieves success. Much of an intervention’s success is dependent upon how much groundwork, education, communication, and collaboration have been accomplished ahead of launch day. We use our ‘Implementation Acceleration Model’ as a tool while working with the practitioner early on to establish what implementation success looks like, and what obstacles must be considered.
The Three Continuums
The implementation must consider the three separate continuums that although distinct, must be considered as a whole in order to bring about successful organizational change.
The first continuum represents WHAT the organization must accomplish over time (the strategic objectives continuum) and the outcomes that must be achieved as a result of the change effort.
The second continuum represents individual behavior change, and parallels the first. This continuum represents the skills competencies, behaviors, attitudes and knowledge that each employee must acquire, develop or possess just in time over time, in order for the organization to achieve it’s strategic milestones. In essence, it reflects the shifts needed in the way employees think and act (your culture) that will assure the desired outcomes are achieved. This ‘Individual Development’ continuum will differ for each population within the organization, but must be integrated for effect. Upfront assessment and discovery is needed to identify essential elements to include in this continuum.
The third continuum represents deployment, or the HOW element. This is the process for piecing together the entire organizational change process and includes essential elements such as: communication planning, tasking senior leaders on the roles they will play, linkage to past and future initiatives to create a seamless solution, individual and organizational baseline and desired outcome metrics established, involving stakeholders, pre-assessments, positioning and publicizing, measurement and evaluation, individual contracting and establishing expectations, post-assessment, ongoing business literacy development, and alignment and improvements.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your efforts in making our first In-Service Day a great success. There were over 630 people in attendance and all provided positive feedback. The day would not have been a success without your participation.
The NCCET (National Council for Continuing Education and Training) Conference is an important event …as you can imagine, a group of professional educators and trainers can be a tough crowd. However, you presented a session that was outstanding at this event and we doubt will ever be matched.
Our supervisors and managers thoroughly enjoyed your keynote presentations. Your delivery was engaging and drew the audience in and held their attention. There never was a dull moment. Our employees found the training and tools so fulfilling many of them began implementing them immediately after the session.
We’ve had dozens of speakers work with our team through the years. We got more value in your 90-minute presentation than the last 10 speakers combined. Pragmatic memorable models & tools presented in a highly engaging manner.
The feedback we got today from the group was excellent. There were a number of principles that they felt they could employ immediately and they came up with several creative ways to get the message out to the rest of the bank…you really made an impact; so much so, that we will be bringing you back.
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