As we’ve recently discussed, the second-most common New Year’s resolution is “Life/self improvement.” In other words? Change.
Unfortunately, as both individual resolution-makers and business leaders know, change is easier said than done. 95% of people abandon their New Year’s resolutions, while many in the business world estimate that at least half of change management projects fail. Yet as we enter the 2020s, experts are saying change management will be more important than ever.
So how do we change the way we do change management to better prepare organizations for the dynamic digital landscape 2020 has in store? Below are three trends in organizational change management to keep in mind.
1. Bridging the innovation/trust divide
How many times have you heard a leader at your organization resolve to make the business more Agile, only to go right back to the same old patterns and inefficiencies as before? Maybe you yourself have been the leader in this scenario. When buzzwords get thrown around with no follow-through, frustrations abound.
It can help to understand the good intentions behind hollow promises. At the end of last year, Seth Godin made a fantastic observation about the Tesla pickup truck debacle. Borrowing from Geoff Moore’s Crossing the Chasm, Godin differentiates between two types of audience members or customers: early adopters who seek innovation vs. skeptics who seek trust.
Think of buzzword-happy bosses as those early adopters. Sure, they might be a little over excited about something that ends up shattering under the force of reality – but their hearts are in the right place. They recognize that a transformation needs to happen and want to be the catalysts for change.
But skeptics are onto something, too. They’re hesitant to adopt over-ambitious or under-developed resolutions because they seek proven solutions that are worth the immense effort change requires. Current trends in organizational change management are highlighting the need to cross this divide.
2. Recognizing the human elements of change
One way to cross the innovation/trust divide is to recognize that humans are both the agents of and obstacles to change. Without changes in habits and processes on the ground, nothing can transform at the organizational level.
Yet leaders cannot reverse-engineer larger cultural shifts by dictating new behaviors. Instead, the will to change must come in from within each member of the organization. Again, leaders must find ways to foster trust in the value of the proposed change efforts. That starts with understanding why individuals hesitate in the first place, rather than trying to fight it through top-down mandates.
But human-first and data-driven approaches to change are not mutually exclusive. That brings us to…
3. Leveraging the science of organizational change
In a comprehensive review of what trends in organizational change management will look like in 2020, BCG Henderson Institute forecasts the indispensability of the emerging science of organizational change. The review highlights the importance of evidence-based change efforts led by data (including AI and machine learning).
BCG doesn’t ignore the human aspects of change, either. They contrast the traditional “mechanical” mindset – in which everything can be known and planned – with a more useful systems model.
In this model, organizations are viewed as large, dynamic systems made up of lower-level systems (individuals) embedded in higher-level systems (teams, departments) that interact with and change each other in real time, creating a level of uncertainty that must be embraced rather than fought.
The science of change – aided by data and technology – helps organizations create objective, evidence-based systems informed by real human scenarios. Read the rest of the fantastic report to learn more about organizational change in the 2020s.
Technology can help
The digital transformation is well under way, and there’s no going back. In addition to data analytics and machine learning, there are simpler digital tools that have long been helping organizations change their ways for the better. Project management software is one of them. To see if Clarizen can help your organization, schedule a live demo today.