After more than 20 years’ experience in the software industry, I have been through a lot of change. The changes I have experienced, sometimes painfully, are foundations of my own approach toward managing change…large or small.
This starts a four-part series where I lay out the 4 Pillars of Change…
The 4 Pillars of Change
Robert Byrne (1930) famously stated, “Everything is in a state of flux, including the status quo.” Businesses change if only to keep apace of the changing world swirling about them. Most of that change is incremental over time. Every once in a while sweeping change is thrust upon every business. Evolutionary in nature, it can be through conscious action, proactive. Or, reactive, responding to massive external change.
Every change effort, large or small, is typically gnarly, ugly, and more complicated than originally anticipated. This simple summary cannot convey the sophistication required by teams in order to be successful. JT can help.
Regardless of the reason for change, success requires all 4 Pillars of Change be addressed. The 4 Pillars of Change are People, Process, Systems, & Data. Many change efforts, regardless of how grand they are to be, fail because leaders only address 1, perhaps 2, but almost never all four of the pillars.
JT & 321 Ignite’s focus on change processes is tied to these Four Pillars of Change.
Focusing on the 4 Pillars of Change helps ensure success. It bears repeating, while most organizations focus their efforts on just one, sometimes two of the 4 Pillars of Change, success can only occur when the organization focuses, very deliberately, on all 4 Pillars of Change.
Change initiatives can be hard for those who are not ‘change leaders.’ The imperative, the need for change can result in the messenger being shot. This is but one reason for working with a consultant.
Change is hard and resisted by those most closely effected…those in the trenches. This means communication is paramount. Define the message, communicate the message, persist in the message, and do not let up. Failure to keep the pressure on leads to lost momentum, a need to ‘rebuild’ that moment and, commonly, failure.
To drive adoption it is important to build a coalition of Team Leaders…change agents…with sufficient authority to mitigate objections. Major change efforts require a level of teamwork many senior leaders are not familiar with—it is important to build a team that can work together. Also change ‘by committee’ does not work. As the change effort takes on a life of its own, at some point, everyone will become involved.
It is important the change leadership team itself has a leader. This needs to be a senior line manager who is able to champion the overall effort, embodying its vision and direction. Weak change agents without senior management actively participating spells certain doom.