Embedded Change Management contributes to Organizational Resiliency
The Oxford Dictionary defines resilient as “able to withstand or recover quickly from difficult conditions.” Recognizable behaviors that make a person resilient include a positive attitude, optimism, perseverance, and the ability to see failure as a form of helpful feedback. A classic example of a resilient person is someone with the fortitude and mental toughness to repeatedly withstand personal or professional challenges, and who inevitably comes out ahead each time.
But is resilience is a learned skill or an inherited trait? Current research suggests that resilience is primarily learned and is often developed out of the challenge to maintain confidence and self-sufficiency. Additionally, what researchers are learning about resilience is that it’s a characteristic embodied not only by individuals, but also by teams and organizations. Organizational involves being adaptable, agile, responsive, and robust.
One tried-and-true method organizations can use to cultivate organizational resiliency is the development of Organizational Change Management (OCM) capabilities (including Leadership Alignment, Governance, Stakeholder Analysis & Engagement, Change Analytics, Communication Strategies, and Project Management) that become embedded in the organization’s culture.
In the recent Successful Change Management Practices in the Public Sector Report developed from the 2016 Changing Government Workplace Survey, we found that successful organizations employ similar embedded Change Management strategies to mitigate effects. Organizations should:
- Recognize and learn from past organizational change initiatives: Identify what worked, what didn’t, and why from past initiatives. Regard future organizational change as both a challenge and an opportunity.
- Develop an OCM Center of Excellence (CoE): Create an active community that collects and shares OCM experiences, knowledge, and best practices and whose purpose is to advance OCM organizational awareness and capabilities.
- Integrate, coordinate, and communicate across the various operational disciplines and organizational divisions: Make it a normal practice to engage and share information broadly so that effective communication practices (both push and pull) become an organizational asset long before difficult change happens.
- Operationalize an enterprise-wide OCM approach: Adopt or develop a standardized methodology and toolkit that will be taught throughout the organization and used during change initiatives. Establish high-level critical success factors for change. Identify potential OCM risk factors and develop mitigation strategies.
- Leverage Change Agents before, during, and after change initiatives: Identify a pool of employees representing a cross-section of the organization who are recognized as evangelists of their own innovative practices and problem solvers who have the answers. These will be the go-to influencers helping to build grassroots momentum for future change.
The benefits of developing a resilient organization far outweigh the effort to develop organizational change capabilities. An organization that is capable of rapidly adapting to change will benefit from a workforce that is better equipped and prepared to support the organization’s strategic priorities, adapt to technological advances, adjust to leadership transitions, and respond unfettered during times of conflict.
What additional methods should organizations use to build resiliency?