HomeBlogBusiness ProcessWhat can go wrong in a Change Initiative if testing isn’t done right?

What can go wrong in a Change Initiative if testing isn’t done right?

Are you having a hard time measuring the effectiveness of business change initiatives? If so, rest assured testing is something even many businesses have difficulty executing correctly. When aiming to move forward with a change management framework, these strategy pressures can make you feel like the ball isn’t rolling fast enough, or even that it may have come to a standstill. Still, it is important to know that it hasn’t, and that every stage is equally as important when it comes to change management.


What is a change initiative?

Change initiatives are the individual elements used to deliver a strategy, and are significant in determining whether goals and objectives are achieved.

Some of the most common change initiatives include:

  • Implementing new technology
  • Mergers and acquisitions
  • Change in leadership
  • Change in culture
  • Emergency response to a crisis.

Your end goal might be to improve the profitability of your company, for example, and the change initiative you might use to get there is to implement new software that makes bookkeeping easier, thus increasing the productivity of your team. Change initiatives like this should be tested. Don’t take for granted that they work. Quantifiable data must be collected and analysed in order to determine whether the change was worth it in the first place.


What should we be testing?

In all cases, the objectives of your overall change should be measured against your change initiatives and strategy, to determine whether or not milestones have been met and – most importantly – whether change initiatives are helping to achieve or exceed targets.

You’ll determine this in two key ways.

  • By monitoring individuals
    • You should see performance improvements, adherence to your project plan, adherence to a timeline, and an increase in the speed of execution.
  • Organisational changes
    • You should see wide-scale employee engagement and buy-in, awareness and understanding of the change (and how the change initiative is helping the process along), behavioural changes, and staff who report back as ‘satisfied’ or higher in satisfaction survey results.

These aspects of change management are important if you want to follow your carefully planned strategy and see results at the end of it, but they take time.


The consequences of cutting corners

Change management is usually well thought through, planned, and costly. There is typically a huge adjustment to be made – both organisationally and individually – and since humans don’t like change, some resistance might occur. If you have a really big team, the last thing you need is unknown persons throwing a spanner in the works, as this could either delay your change management resolution further, or throw the whole thing off.

For that reason, it is very important your change management strategy is carefully thought through, that milestones are plotted, and that you test the change initiatives you are using on the way to make sure everything is on track and things are running smoothly. There are several consequences to not doing so.


You’ll lose time

Time is money, and any delays can be costly. If you’re not analysing the effectiveness of your change initiatives, then you might get to the end and find your milestones haven’t been met and your change hasn’t been implemented. You may have to start all over again. This will not only demotivate your team, it could push vital and necessary changes back.


Your team may become demotivated

If you’re implementing your change management properly, you’ll have spent a lot of time getting your team onboard. You’ve no doubt had to encourage board members and stakeholders first, then spent time encouraging your individual staff, but if they realise the strategy is not being followed effectively and see they’re going to miss the deadline – whether or not they realise testing hasn’t been done effectively – they might become convinced there is something wrong with the overall plan, and you may have to work hard to convince them to rewind or start again.


You might get in trouble with board members and stakeholders

As mentioned above, time is money. If you’ve invested a lot of time and energy – and potentially money, in cases where you’ve bought new systems or hired new staff – only to fail because you aren’t testing and reporting on the effectiveness of your change initiatives, you’ll likely rub up senior management the wrong way. This is a major issue, as it might call your initiative and authority into question. It’s really important you keep a close eye on your initiatives and make sure they’re doing what they’re meant to do, by contributing to your overall strategy.

Change initiatives are extremely important and should be planned and executed properly. If you’re in any doubt at all around your ability to implement them, it’s a good idea to hire a professional, who can help make sure your new initiatives are sold correctly to your staff, tested properly as they’re running, and conclude in the way you need them to.

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