Having an organisational strategy for change reduces waste, accelerates benefit delivery, prioritises the important over the demanding but, and most of all, reduces the risk of failed change. 'Organisational strategy for change' includes aligning the work to achieve the vision, turning strategic aspiration into structured actions and the creation of a clear 'line of sight' between the strategic intent of the Board and the set of projects that need to be established to develop the necessary new or additional competences within the business to deliver the benefits of the strategy.
Not only the organisation's aspirations but also its culture will ultimately determine the organisational strategy for change. Just as with organisational strategy, circumstances will coerce the deliberate organisational strategy for change into an emergent strategy - the organisational strategy for change must accommodate such flexibility too and is therefore likely to be updated in 'real-time'.
Why is it valid
Often a major inhibitor of change is not a lack of clarity on what is wanted but rather how to go about achieving it. Applying a stepped approach to the development of a change strategy gives a clear sense of direction, and allows the construction of the optimum portfolio. Whilst valuable at the outset, it has another great strength as it structures how best to conduct the continual review of progress against plan, and the adoption of alternative strategic strands as becomes necessary.
What you will experience
An initial mapping is made between the declared strategy and the project portfolios under management to determine risk-adjusted expenditure and risk-adjusted outturns and outcomes. This process, called 'brigading up', groups current expenditures into sets that allows the emergent strategy to be described.
The agreed strategy is decomposed into strategic threads, and the specific foci for management attention are subjected to value management disciplines. The tacit, as well as the explicit, prioritisation practices are discovered and the consequences of the choices made clear in terms of risk-adjusted value returned.
The Board then has a model that reflects the actual alignment of the project portfolios with the strategy, which can be used to do scenario analysis - and to confirm or alter the operational imperatives of the emergent strategy.
Where the portfolio contains tens of projects the option analysis often proves very complex. To reduce this to manageable proportions, tool-based decision-support approaches are deployed: cross-linking dependent projects to prevent infeasible choices, and reducing the offered choices to a range of near-optimum selections based on published criteria.
A boundary based organisational analysis can be used to overlay the portfolio and its schedule to optimise opportunities to accelerate or de-risk the desired outcomes.
How you might start
Typically the start point for an organisational strategy for change engagement is a strategic implementation planning workshop with the board sponsoring the change; it is imperative that they have a shared view of and consistent support for the organisational strategy for change. This is moderated through a series of stakeholder engagement workshops and interviews amongst the change managers and change agents. The emerging suite of initiatives are subjected to portfolio analysis to determine the optimum composition for the initial portfolio and this can then be subjected to periodic reviews (typically using boundary analysis or benefit, impact, product maps and associated KPIs) to assess achievement and adjust or regulate the portfolio as appropriate.
"The classic training model, taking individuals out of the business to sit in a classroom for a week at a time, was not going to work for us. But at the same time, we knew we needed to raise our game in managing change. I have to say, your people are brilliant!"