by Ian Saunders, Antony Aitken, Ray Charlton and David Flatman

Where does change go wrong?

Change can go wrong in many ways. What follows is a framework that will allow you to focus on particular areas. The Performance driver framework provides four interrelated elements which combine to deliver effectiveness:

  1. Direction (purpose, strategy, goals and plans),
  2. People (capability, alignment, commitment),
  3. Enablers (structure, systems, processes) and the integrator of these
  4. Leadership (distributed and active wherever the appropriate knowledge and skills are available).

The framework will help you to investigate where a change may be going wrong.

1. Direction

  • Have you and your change team created a clear vision of the desired future?
  • Does everyone understand or know the purpose of this change?
  • Are strategies clear and connected?
  • Are individual or group goals and plans clear?

2. People

  • Does everyone have the necessary capability to carry out their tasks?
  • Are the people resources sufficient?
  • Have you put sufficient time and effort into aligning individual goals with this change programme?
  • How well aligned with the purpose are the behaviours of the people involved?
  • Have you done enough to ensure commitment to the change?
  • Is there a sense of urgency?
  • Has ‘critical mass’ been reached, in terms of the number of people invested in and supporting the change? How do you know?
  • Are people taking action, or is it all talk?

3. Enablers

  • Do you have the ‘right’ processes in place to support this change?
  • Do your communication systems allow everyone to know what is going on?
  • Have you set up the correct structure to support the direction of this change?
  • To what extent do the structure, systems, processes and policies inhibit or constrain the achievement of the purpose, or best enable it to be achieved?

4. Leadership

  • How are you leading this project?
  • Have you created a core group of committed people to guide and continually evangelise the change?
  • How stretching is this project for you and where do you get your support from?
  • How well are you managing upwards (see Managing Upwards)?
  • Have those involved with the change lost their way?
  • How well is leadership being exercised to integrate purpose, people and enablers and so deliver?
  • And, importantly, what is the quality of your commitment to the change?
  • Have you engineered some quick wins on early milestones to encourage people?
  • What are you doing to enable the change to become embedded in the culture – ‘the way we do things around here’?

Uncertainty or a no to any of these questions means that you need to find answers to get your change back on track.