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The pace of change has grown exponentially. As technology advances, information is now readily available, and the lines between work life and personal life blur. In response, many organizations are striving to foster a resilient culture, responding positively to change and constantly looking for ways to transform. Disrupting company culture to create one that embraces change and innovation takes focus, strong leadership, processes and policies that reward the right behaviors, and open and honest dialogue with the workforce. Based on the organization’s current culture and size, it could take anywhere from months to years to fully instill a change mindset and resilient ways of working.
Change capacity is an organization’s ability to either effectively prepare for, or respond to, an increasingly unpredictable and volatile environment. Organizational Change Capacity (OCC) is the ability of an organization to plan, design, and implement all types of change efficiently with committed stakeholders, causing minimal negative impacts on people and operations, so that desired business and cultural results from change are consistently achieved and integrated seamlessly into operations to deliver maximum Return on Investment (ROI).
There are many research articles, books, and publications that describe aspects of OCC. One of the more comprehensive approaches, published by Saylor Academy, consists of eight dimensions:
It is critical that this effort has the support, and even better, the sponsorship, of the executive team. While building change capability is often done across an entire organization, it can also be successful as a more focused effort in only one or two functions if there is not an appetite to take on this work holistically. In a more focused effort, it is critical to have sponsorship from the functional leader and their direct reports.
Companies with strong change leadership and change capability are more profitable, with margins twice those of companies with low change capability. In addition, companies with high change capability have leaders and cultures that rate significantly higher in the eyes of their employees than those with low change capability, and they have employees who feel more inspired and engaged.
The higher the aggregate organizational change capacity is, the higher the environmental and financial performance.
Identifying the level at which the organization is currently prepared to embrace change and innovation to create the focus, leadership, processes and policies that reward the right behaviors and open dialogue with the workforce.
Proactively managing and planning all large-scale changes as a portfolio leveraging a formal change management infrastructure.
Adapting cultural conditions to be supportive of the new behaviors that are required to adopt changes and ensure that the entire organization contributes to effectively changing the culture.