today’s KPI’s for CEO’s
The discipline of finance is at the core of any CEO’s business, not only because it is a measurable function but also due to its ability to facilitate informed decision-making. Imagine if those same benefits could also be applied to corporate situations where people must change their work habits. Examples might include large enterprise-wide changes like IT implementations or mergers through to the much smaller yet equally-impacting shifts from the use of Gmail to company email or from one procedure to another. What information could your organization garner from measuring the:
- rate of adoption and proficiency rates
- the leadership team’s competency and willingness to lead the change
- the readiness of the organization for new conditions and also
- the CEO’s own ability to be active, visible and consistent through the corporate upheaval to name but a few measurements that now exist as a result of 16 years of longitudinal research as published in the Prosci® Best Practices Report?
Change will disrupt business and hence disrupt the customer experience if not planned, managed and rewarded. The hotel customer being redirected to take his evening meal in a competitor’s restaurant, the client not receiving his answer in the corporate 24-hour response timeframe, and gossip and untruths morphing into corporate cancer are all outcomes of mismanaged change, where individual team members do not buy into a new business model or behaviour. The loss of revenue that equates to when considering an 800-strong team is more than a flesh wound; in fact it’s a gaping hole from which the organization will bleed to death; a slow, painful death by financial ruin.
Why does this occur? Quite simply, it happens when the change is approached from an HR perspective and not a business perspective. If there was no attempt to measure before, during or after, all decisions taken are nothing more than ‘pot luck’. What could possibly justify not ascertaining the risk level of a proposed change’s disruption prior to taking action? Wouldn’t knowledge of the risk factors determine which initiatives and actions to introduce? As no two changes are alike and whilst all need a process-based approach allowing for measurement and continuous improvement, they will all have unique circumstances, personalities, challenges, history and cultural norms attached to them, each weighing in heavily on the situation.
Analysis will guide the leadership to introduce the appropriate activities at the best time by the right person in the correct or best format to ensure defined business outcomes will be achieved. As the research states, the presence of active, visible and consistent executive sponsorship is key for success. If that does not exist, what’s the likelihood of achieving your intended ROI; people won’t change the way they work just because they are told to. The research also shows that executives must not only take executive decisions, such as committing to time, dates and resources, but also be prepared to act to build coalitions and communicate at specific times. If that does not happen, won’t the people be feeling overwhelmed and question the validity of the reasons for the change if they never see or hear their leader referring to it again? The research also states that human beings need to understand the ‘why’ before they care about the ‘how’. If there are no reasons to change, or clear ramifications or consequences that mean something to them when not changing, why would they?
Some may argue why Change Management is not necessary when Project Management already exists; aren’t changing conditions simply a project underway? Project Management is not the answer alone as that focuses on the technical side of situations and, let’s be honest, its track record of being on time and budget is certainly dubious. A technique that deals with the abilities and attitudes of the people must be embedded alongside the project technicalities, but not from an HR perspective; rather a business perspective. Research shows that 95% of those who believe they do have excellent Change Management techniques do indeed achieve their objectives 95% of the time, six times more than those who had poor Change Management in place.
For business to be successful it has two major areas to concentrate on:
- finance (cash flow, expenses and income)
- the customer
Like it or not, these variables are in the hands of those who are often asked to adopt changes and work differently. For a leader to be effective in a changing landscape, there is only one way forward; to measure the changes at every point of the process. Change Management, a defined process mature enough to warrant its place ‘up there’ as a business discipline, is the one and only way for that to be achieved.
Debbie Nicol, the managing director of Dubai-based ‘business en motion’ serving a myriad of industries across the GCC region, moves businesses and leaders ahead by leading strategic change, leadership and organizational interventions as well as corporate learning initiatives.