A significant number of change projects fail (Al-Haddad & Kotnour, 2015; Biech, 2007; Kotter, 2008). Prior to the learnings of this course, if I had been asked why so many change projects fail my answers would have focused on resources such as people resources, time, and budget. I may have noted lack of leadership however at the time I did not know exactly how that should look in practice. Examining the models, theories, frameworks, and strategies for leadership and change in this course has given me the confidence and tools needed to improve my next change project.
I was drawn to Biech’s CHANGE model because of its focus on the people involved in the change. Reflecting on past change projects I have been involved in I now recognize the steps of the CHANGE model that could have significantly improved the experience. For example, Step 2 in Biech’s model involves leaders coming together to align the overall vision for the change and plan how to communicate that vision to others to give them a chance to share in the vision (Biech, 2007). Just being told that something is changing, and this is what you will need to do is a far less effective approach than allowing people to share in the vision and excitement that the change may bring. This step in Biech’s model also recommends leaders collaborate to predict barriers to the change and proactively create strategies to manage these potential barriers. A recent change project in our organization could have benefited from these steps where we implemented a new online learning program. Because it was rushed there was little consultation with leaders across the organization. As a result, some leaders did not understand the need or the vision and without their buy-in those groups had very low participation rates. We also would have benefited from considering these potential barriers and resistance and created strategies to manage them prior to implementation. We also found that leaders emerged throughout the organization during implementation through early adopters who shared positive feedback and provided advice to their peers through social media. This was a reminder that an organization should be supporting and rewarding these emergent leaders and capitalizing on the motivation they provide to others. A more holistic and inclusive approach to change is supported through applying a change model that acknowledges the entire system and all the people within it when making a change.
I plan to use the Biech CHANGE model along with our current project management process in our next change project and I feel confident it will greatly improve our next change experience and outcomes.
Al-Haddad, S., & Kotnour, T. (2015). Integrating the organizational change literature: a model for successful change. Journal of Organizational Change Management, 28(2), 234-262. https://doi.org/10.1108/JOCM-11-2013-0215
Biech, E. (2007). Challenge the Current State (Step 1). In Thriving through change: A leader’s practical guide to change mastery. Association for Talent Development.
Kotter JP. (2008) A Sense of Urgency. Boston, MA: Harvard Business Press; 2008. https://www.scirp.org/(S(vtj3fa45qm1ean45vvffcz55))/reference/ReferencesPapers.aspx?ReferenceID=1970793