Change Readiness

Like change fitness, change readiness is an important element of successful change. Unfortunately, many companies give it too little attention – a fact highlighted by the 2015 report from Optus. The report shows that while 85% of senior business leaders believed their companies were ready for change, in fact only 23% of them actually were ready.  So change readiness is clearly not well understood, not properly identified, and not widely present. All this increases wastage and costs money. Fortunately, though, you can take some positive steps to increase your organisational change readiness – and this often brings immediate gains and is very cost-effective. Let’s explore some more.

Manager’s Assessment of Change Readiness 85%
Actual Change Readiness 23%

What is change readiness all about, and how does it differ from change fitness? To understand the concept more clearly, let’s first go back to the physical world.

We all know what physical fitness is – it’s about our capacity to engage in and succeed at physical activities. It relates to real and measurable things like our heart and lung capacity, the strength of our muscles and bones, and our capacity to process oxygen. It’s not the only thing needed for success in, say, sport, but it’s definitely an important thing. Someone who is really unfit and can barely walk to the corner store is not going to be ready to run a marathon. But readiness to run a marathon doesn’t just depend on physical fitness. An elite marathon athlete may have other commitments and other plans.

So you can be physically fit to run a marathon, but not ready to do it. But you can never really be ready to run a marathon if you’re not fit. You might be willing to have a go; you could even be excited about it, but you don’t have the capacity to go the distance.

Change fitness is about your capacity to run the marathon race of change and it too is measurable.  To be successful, you must have the capacity to go the distance, no matter how hard the journey may be. But it’s possible to be fit enough to go the distance with change, but not ready to start on the process. People can have the capacity to make beneficial change in their lives or workplaces, but still not be ready to start.

Organisational change readiness is about an organisation’s capacity to support change in its stakeholders. The change-ready company functions in such a way that it helps its people change – in all kinds of positive ways. If a company doesn’t do this, it makes it harder for people to change, and therefore harder for the company to change, adapt, and grow.

So what is involved in change readiness? Click below to find out more.

So far, we have talked about people being fit and ready for change. But organisations consist of more than people, so what does organisational change readiness look like?

Change readiness in organisations consists of 4 pillars. First, there is the individual pillar. Organisations do consist of more than people, but people are always at their core. If the people are not fit for change and not ready for change, the organisation itself cannot be ready for change. So it’s always very important to work with your people.

Second, there is the cultural pillar. The question to ask is, “How does the culture of this organisation support people to make these changes, and how does it hinder them?” The third pillar is the structural pillar – how do the organisations structures (policies, procedures, physical and geographic spaces, governance, hierarchies, etc) help or hinder people’s ability to change? Finally, there is the managerial pillar. The question here is not so much how do managers affect change, but how do the organisation’s management practices support or hinder successful change?

People can have the capacity to succeed at difficult change, but they may never become ready to make the change because there 4 pillars are not aligned. We strongly recommend you audit your organisation before embarking on any significant change. Remember, only 23% of managers know how to properly audit change readiness, so there is much scope for improvement here.

So how do you assess your change readiness?

A change readiness assessment is designed to identify areas where the organisation is weak in supporting its stakeholders to successfully navigate the change process. It is looking for areas where you as a manager or leader need to focus your attention to support your people. This focus is on the 4 pillars spoken of in the section above.

We specialise in change readiness assessments and we can do them for you, or we can teach you how to do them for yourselves and supply the tools you will need.

We love talking about change readiness. Let us help you.

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