Massive change ahead

We’ve just had a long period of ever-increasing economic growth, but this has been halted in its tracks because of the Corona virus. The impact of the global lockdowns is huge, both generally, on the economy and society as a whole, and specifically, on companies, families and individuals. A major recession is a given. Consumer behaviour is likely to change in a fundamental way – and so are the ways in which business will be conducted in the future.

How will you navigate these current challenges and position yourself for new growth? Now is the time to review your company, the products and services it offers, the markets it serves and the way it conducts its business. Significant change is required to create the “new normal”. Your strategy needs to be reviewed. New (perhaps digital) operating models need to evolve. And all this needs to be implemented fast so that you can capitalise on new opportunities and build your competitive advantage.

The change challenge

Transformation, strategy execution and performance improvement programmes are notoriously hard to deliver successfully. Most change initiatives struggle to accomplish and sustain the initial programme goals – in fact, only 30 percent are successful. The delivery of a mission critical initiative on time and in full is, therefore, a real determinant of competitive advantage for any company. The vast majority of change initiatives stumble because of precisely the thing they are trying to transform: attitudes and behaviours of people at all levels in the organisation.

Successfully implementing change

The ability for people to change their attitudes and behaviours is primarily driven by their perceptions and intentions. These must be changed first before any change in attitude and behaviour occurs. So how can we do this? People’s perceptions and intentions change due to experiences and information. Perceptions and intentions capture people’s motivations and are indicators of how hard they are willing to try or how much effort they plan to exert in order to perform the required behaviours.

During a change process, people are confronted with two forces: first, change tension (the perceived necessity and urgency of the initiative) and, second, the power to change (the willingness to support and adopt the change and the ability to contribute effectively). Both forces are required in a programme to make change happen.

The way people experience these forces is the key indicator for people’s perceptions and intentions towards an initiative. The rating for these two indicators gives the best prediction about a person’s intention to adopt the attitude and behaviour that is needed. In different parts and at different levels in the organisation, the two forces are likely to develop differently. This drives the need for differentiated interventions for various parts of the organisation. Our Change Insider® provides insights and fact-based guidance for precisely these differentiated interventions to enable the on-time-in-full delivery of a company’s mission critical initiative.