• Anand Swaminathan

The Virtual Reality of Change Readiness


Change readiness is about people readiness for successfully crafting and implementing a strategy quickly. It focuses on organizational alignment, people skills, and cultural factors that facilitate success, as well as align leadership and energize employees behind an organizational effort.


Your organization must determine how to prepare, equip, and support the individuals in the organization to do their jobs differently. Functional leaders should translate a sense of urgency into a tangible and compelling action that everyone understands. Once everyone understands the common purpose it can turn into the shared sense of a desirable future to help individuals motivate themselves towards transformation efforts.


Impact of Change in a Virtual Environment

COVID-19 required organizations everywhere to respond quickly to shifting conditions. At such a stressful time, it is difficult to know where to focus your efforts and how to execute them appropriately. During times of crisis, it is essential for you to remember that any organizational achievement is the collective result of individuals and their combined efforts.


Considering the COVID-19 crisis, your Agency leaders may think employees are resilient to change because of the successful transition to the work-from-home model. However, this sense of resiliency may give your leadership a false positive. As a result, they may introduce organizational change without executing intentional change plans. Assuming your Agency has reached a heightened level of change resiliency because of COVID-19 is fraught with risk.


Keys to successful change readiness planning in an organization include:

  • communication planning,

  • knowledge of detailed change impacts to people’s day-to-day jobs,

  • change readiness plan execution involving skilled change management practitioners, and

  • ensuring adoption by employees at periodic milestones throughout the initiative


Change Readiness Assessment

A project readiness assessment is a pre-project review to evaluate your Agency’s overall readiness to begin a project. It will identify areas that need more attention and make recommendations that significantly increase the likelihood of project success. Items to assess include:

  • sponsorship / leadership support of the project,

  • expectations and concerns from people in the respective functional areas,

  • checkpoint assessments and strategies to minimize potential project slippage, and

  • project / program governance


Recognize Key Areas of Risk

A project readiness assessment sets up the project for success by identifying key areas of potential failure by:

  • identifying gaps in readiness,

  • solidifying project goals and expectations,

  • identifying and engaging stakeholders early, and

  • preparing leaders to manage the complexity and challenges of the project


Change Readiness Tools

Change has significant impact on an any organization’s productivity, reputation, and revenue. So, as your Agency plans to implement significant change, ensure it is up to the task of preparing affected users. This readiness assessment tool will:

  • identify your organization’s ability to prepare for change across three key areas: communication, business collaboration, and user confidence¹,

  • calculate an overall assessment level in each area, and

  • provide you with specific advice on areas requiring improvement before undertaking change


Common Pitfalls in a Change Readiness Plan

Without the support and direction of a well thought out change readiness plan, you may find yourself addressing one or more of the following pitfalls:

  • lack of confidence in decision-making, thus limiting the effectiveness of change,

  • poor overall management style, communication style, and meeting style,

  • culture and values the organization supports that inhibits it from fully realizing the benefits of change, or

  • lack of capacity readiness—the degree to which the organization can change work processes, historical knowledge base and experience of individuals, current knowledge of personnel with business and technology, and skilled resources to aid in successful implementation and sustain and reinforce the change²


Assess Your Agency's Readiness for Change

Download and print the 21-question assessment that MSS Business Transformation Advisory (MSSBTA) utilizes. Use this tool as part of your change preparation plan to assess your Agency’s ability to prepare for change and identify any areas in which you can seek to improve. At the end of the assessment, you will receive a score and a brief commentary.


If your assessment returns a near perfect score, congratulations! your organization is ready for change in most of the assessed areas. For most of us though, the reality is that proper change readiness takes preparation and often requires the help of Change Management professionals.


MSSBTA utilizes a comprehensive methodology that walks you step-by-step through the activities that focuses on organizational alignment, people skills, and cultural factors that facilitate success, as well as align leadership. Our methodology uncovers shortcomings between your Agency’s current and the ideal target state. It helps evaluate your Agency’s overall readiness to begin a project, identify areas that need more attention, and make recommendations that significantly increase the likelihood of adoption.


References:

¹Change Readiness Preparation Tool. InfoTech

²Combe, M. (2014). Change Readiness: Focusing Change Management Where It Counts. PMI White Paper.


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