As Organizational Change Management (OCM) continues to evolve, key areas are trending as major focal points that practitioners and executives might want to pay attention to in 2022. In my opinion, focusing on the following five areas will help IT projects and other organizational change management initiatives reach their full potential. Let’s explore!
This word is mentioned more and more as a differentiator in project success and expedited product delivery. But what does it really mean, and how does it affect the bottom-line results of technology implementations? According to Dictionary.com, agility means:
- The power of moving quickly and easily; nimbleness
- The ability to think and draw conclusions quickly; intellectual acuity
Change agility is and will continue to be a key differentiator for organizations as they move through digital transformation. Moving at the pace of a project, considering sponsor engagement and organizational rigidity, and being flexible with the types and timing of deliverables will be imperative to effective OCM execution. As organizations use agile frameworks for project delivery, traditional OCM efforts must align with the project cadence to ensure people-readiness success!
Discovery will be as important in 2022 as it has ever been. Analyzing a current-state environment as change occurs will provide insight into the barriers and enablers to technology implementations. As the speed of change increases, assessing organizational capabilities, stakeholder group dynamics, and the complexity of the change will allow for greater understanding of what’s needed to accelerate change adoption.
This is where the rubber will continue to meet the road in 2022 and beyond. All the agility and planning in the world is of little benefit if you cannot put it into action. The tactics used to move stakeholder groups and individuals from “awareness” to “commitment” should be intentional, tangible, and measurable. This laser-focus effort should be about pulling change levers to enable buy-in and support, addressing resistance where it lies, effectively communicating at the right level, with the right messages, and at the right time, and holding change leaders accountable for executing change plans and getting results.
The key to successful change lies in the adoption of the new solution, maximizing the “people-dependent” part of the ROI for the transformation. Going live is a major milestone in the project life cycle and should be celebrated with much fanfare. However, it’s not the barometer for how we should measure project success. If the system is live and nobody is using it, what is its true value? The people responsible for the day-to-day operation of an organization must use and embrace the new technology. With the overabundance of change that has happened since 2020, employees are overwhelmed, and resistance to change is high. Managing that resistance with a comprehensive change-and-adoption plan will be beneficial for any organization going through a digital transformation.
Adoption is a key post-go live activity that requires measuring and should be considered part of the overall change solution. These measurements are designed to determine how fast people adopt the change, whether they are using the system, and whether they are proficient in getting work done within the new system. Understanding adoption issues and closing gaps will lead to benefits realization. Without proper adoption, attainment of expected benefits is in jeopardy.
Achieving adoption of new technology is the first step toward benefits realization. Adoption of planned changes, or successfully changing the way in which people think, act, and behave to align with the future state, should result in achieving organizational outcomes. So, my new words for 2022 are “Benefits Realization.” Every change tactic should have this as its primary purpose. From targeted communications to leadership alignment sessions to managing change resistance, all should have the one goal of obtaining bottom-line results for the organization. Without an approach, plan, and metrics for benefits realization, technology projects will struggle to reach their maximum value and desired transition to a sustainable future state.
These trends are what I believe to be the most important for 2022 and beyond. One might say these have always been a focus of organizational change management, and I would agree. But by highlighting these key areas in your OCM initiatives, you could yield significant results and outcomes from change projects moving forward.