How to Embed Change

Embed Change

To really embed change, you need to understand the levers of change within your organization. So ultimately, this is about the things within your organization that can act as true enablers of change or can really inhibit and prevent change. For any type of organization, broadly, these are the main areas that you really want to look at:

Organization Design: This is looking at how your current operating model structures in terms of spans and layers, the way teams interact, the way teams are structured—hierarchy, etc. How is that currently either encouraging enabling new ways of working or potentially preventing it? If your change isn’t being fully adopted or successful, I think that’s a really key place to start.

Performance Management: The saying is ‘what gets measured gets done’. If you expect people to behave differently, to adopt new ways of working, you’ve got to align that to the way in which Performance Management is done. So you want to make sure that you’ve got performance outcomes. You’re assessing people on KPIs, etc., that actually fully align with these new ways of working. Otherwise, how are they going to really see whether they’re being reviewed against this, and whether it’s, therefore, really valuable for the business? So really making sure that your Performance Management activity is fully aligned to the new ways of working you want to see.

Talent Management: Similarly, again, a really key HR process. So how are you currently attracting and retaining and developing talent in your business? Are you doing that in a way that fully aligns with the new ways of working that you want to see, or the adoption of new behavior? And equally, are you retaining people and attracting people that represent new behaviors or a new way of working and have the new skill sets that you need?

Leadership: Leadership is probably cited as the number one reason why change isn’t embedded or why things have failed. So this is really crucial to get right. And we’ve got other videos that really focus on the leadership alignment piece and how you drive change through leaders. But ultimately, this is about taking the time to get leaders to really understand how to support the change, how to sponsor it, how to really role model new expected behaviors.

Learning: So beyond just understanding the short-term learning needs of your program, this is thinking longer term. How does your overall approach to Learning and Development really support whatever this change is that you want to see? Does it really align with how you’re expecting people to behave? For example, if you’re asking people to really adopt a new digital way of working but all your learning very much doesn’t feel like it’s being delivered through digital technology channels, it’s not really going to align and might be causing behaviors not to be adopted in the way you like.

Governance and Decision Making: Another really, really critical area. You know, is your current approach to governance potentially stifling innovation? How are decisions being made? You know, is there any way you can become more agile so that things and, you know, growth and transformation can happen more quickly, you can become more adaptable, and you can kind of take that fail-fast mentality?

Processes and Systems: Obviously, a really key area. So where does process, technology, systems—how stuff gets done, basically—is that enabling or supporting the changes that you want to see?

Symbols and Behavior: So by symbols and behavior here, this is obviously about, you know, workspaces, physical workspaces, the language people use, social relationships. All those tiny symbols and cues that are really at the core of your culture and whether that’s really embedding and supporting the behaviors that you want to see. For example, if you’re trying to embed a new culture around collaboration but the physical workspace in the office really isn’t, you know, conducive to that, then that’s not a symbol that’s going to really support that change that you want to see.

So it’s not that you need to cover every single one of these, but if you’re really looking to embed change, you really want to be trying to think about these areas to some degree or recognizing which ones are going to be most important to you depending on your business, the scale of your business, and the type of change you’re looking to implement.

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