To support change – five to-do’s and one don’t

beyond performanceDuring the summer break, our team has been learning more about leading organizational change.  One useful model is from the book Beyond Performance by Keller and Price of McKinsey & Company.  They propose a “5A” set of change stages:

  1. Aspire: where we want to go?
  2. Assess:  how ready are we to go there?
  3. Architect: what do we need to do?
  4. Act: what steps do we need to take?
  5. Advance:  how do we maintain momentum?

This model provides a useful framework to consider large scale change such as MnSCU’s Charting the Future initiatives. While all the steps are important, this month we’ll focus on #4 – taking action. As we’ve looked at change leadership models, they have a variety of ways to describe the initial steps of planning and goal setting. But eventually, they all have a step that talks about actually getting things done. Without strategic attention to this step, none of the others will result in useful outcomes.

In their research on what it means to take action to lead change, McKinsey identified five critical actions and one pitfall that should be avoided in order to lead successful change.

DO:  Assign accountability:  Define roles, responsibilities, and ownership of the change activities.

DO:  Communicate:  Use a wide range of strategies to inform and involve leaders at all levels, and remember to celebrate successes and milestones.

DO:  Empower employees:  Provide the information, resources, and autonomy to allow employees to take initiative toward the change goals.

DO:  Form a talented team:  Develop internal leadership capabilities, and provide enough resources to move the change forward.

DO:  Identify influencers:  Know which senior leaders are responsible for setting and communicating goals, designing initiatives, and providing resources; then make sure they are engaged throughout the change process.

 DON’T:  Over-emphasize process.  Make sure that committees, meetings, and governance support the change; they should not be ends in themselves.

Have you found these steps helpful in your change activities?  Which of these have been most challenging for you?

Dee Anne Bonebright


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