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4 building blocks on organisational change

As a business leader, you are most likely thinking about essential change to the organisation to continuously improve processes. New industry platforms, geopolitical fluctuations, industry competitors and changing consumer demands are remodelling your business needs.

You face newcomer competitors with high valuations intruding on your business turf, and forward-thinking investors looking at targets. During which, you will likely have your own ambitions for your company: to be a lucrative innovator, to seize prospects, to lead and govern your industry, to draw in highly dedicated talent, and to nurture a socially responsible function in which your company makes a difference. You also probably want to update your business to keep up with current times: practices, structures, technologies, and cultural habits that hold your company from moving forward.

It has been proven in both research and practice, that company transformations have the best bet of success when they concentrate on four fundamental actions to change mind-sets and behaviour: fostering understanding and conviction, reinforcing changes through formal mechanisms, developing talent and skills, and role modelling. Together labelled the “influence model,” these philosophies were presented more than a dozen years ago in a McKinsey Quarterly article, “The psychology of change management.” They were founded on academic research and practical experience.

Yorkshire Change delve into the 4 building blocks on organisational change and discuss what they are, how they work in practice, and why they are an important part of change.


1. Fostering Understanding and conviction

Stakeholders: At this stage, they comprehend what is needed from them and it makes sense to them.

Why it works: People pursue correspondence between their belief and actions. If they can affirm the “why we are doing this” and it makes sense to them, then they are inspired to behave in support of the change.

In Practice: in times of company change, we advise that leaders create a change story that helps all stakeholders comprehend where the company is looking to go, the reason for changing, and why this change is crucial at this given time. Working in a feedback loop to understand how the story is being received is also beneficial. Change stories communicated well not only help get out the message across but also, recent research finds, serve as an successful influencing tool.


2. Reinforcing Changes through formal mechanisms

Stakeholders: They are seeing congruency in the structures, processes and systems are being changed to support their role.

Why it works: Psychologists have discovered many years ago that behaviour often stems from direct association and reinforcement.

In Practice: Those of us who have had commissions-based sales jobs will recognise the point on reinforcing for desired effect —being paid more for hitting targets can sometimes be a strong incentive. Despite the prominence of reinforcement, companies often fail to use it correctly. We therefore recommend that you focus on what really initiates desired performance—such as collaboration and feeling valued.


3. Developing Talent and Skills

Stakeholders: They are being equipped with new skills and opportunities to behave in a new way.

Why it works: People can learn new concepts and skills at any age. Our brains do not stop taking in information after a certain age – we can constantly shape and learn new things.

In Practice: Positive change necessitates the development of new talents and skills. Employees must be supported and encouraged in this development so that they keenly accept it, instead of remaining unreceptive.


4. Role Modelling

Stakeholders: They see my colleagues and managers behaving differently

Why it works: People often conform and mimic those around them, especially if they have a higher authority. This is somethings done consciously and sometimes it is done unconsciously.

In Practice: Research tells us that role modelling occurs both unconsciously and consciously. Instinctively, people often find themselves mirroring the emotions, conduct, speech forms, expressions, and attitudes of others without even noticing that they are doing so.


Considering change for your organisation

Fortunately, with our present time’s digital tools and their opportunities, businesses have new ways to amalgamate their employees into the change process and thus confidently influence the acceptance and execution of innovation and change. Leaders should adopt these building blocks methodically because, as research and experience validate, all four building blocks for organisational change together make a bigger impact.

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