Organisational transformation is hard. It's complex, multi-faceted, and takes time. Amongst this complexity lies risk - what if these aren't the right changes for the right reasons? What if all this change doesn't achieve the outcomes we seek? What if our people don't buy-in to this?
A Target Operating Model is the starting point for transformation. a TOM is essentially a description of future steady-state business where an organisation is delivering on its strategy, objectives, and goals.
As a future state description, the TOM should be based on the current operating model. A change roadmap will bridge the gap between the two.
As a blueprint of organisation's vision, a TOM looks good on paper - well-crafted strategic level artefacts usually do. Lots of swimlanes, aligned and integrated capabilities, external drivers and operational levers, detail on functional structure, and other general busy-ness. But a really good TOM will have substance as well as looks. A high-level visual description just won't cut it.
Real impact is achieved when we can quantify the current and target states and then determine meaningful measures to track our progress and alert us to any derailers or delays. This is where evidence-based change comes in.
How do we do this?
We use data. It seems we're all talking about 'data-driven' solutions and decisions. But what does this really mean, and are many of us really doing it? There are many millions of internet answers regardless of which search engine you choose. The crux of this concept is having evidence to back your decisions and approach. Now more than ever, facts are friends.
Is it worth the effort?
The real reason we need evidence is to convince people to act.
In any type of change initiative, people will be the greatest risk. And in any type of change initiative, you can mitigate the people risk by building the credibility of your approach. And credibility comes from having evidence to back relevant change initiatives. The more credible, the more people are likely to engage with and commit to the change. It starts to make sense. People begin to trust the process.
Crack the credibility code and you can build influence, reduce resistance and even improve the organisation's resilience to change.
Besides getting people on board - a major objective - an evidence-based approach to change also means you can track transformation progress reliably, identify and mitigate risks early, and sustain momentum on what can sometimes be a lengthy process. All of this saves time and money, and leads to a better outcome.
What type of evidence helps drive effective change?
facts may well be our friends, but the types of data, evidence and measures in any change initiative depends on the context. One approach to underpin evidence-based change is to find answers to some key questions:
- What is the problem we are trying to solve?
- What is the evidence that this is the real problem?
- What are the possible solutions?
- What is the evidence these solutions will work?
See the pattern? Problem - evidence. Solutions - evidence.
The sources for these answers should include organisational data, stakeholder perspectives, professional judgement and research literature. Collating, sorting and analysing responses by relevance and reliability will reveal important insights - you'll see patterns, identify contradictions, and notice information gaps.
Defining the problem and solutions using an evidence-based approach from the outset requires an initial deposit of time and effort. But it pays rewarding dividends down the track.
Proper problem diagnosis sets a change initiative on the right path. It's like seeing a real doctor instead of googling your symptoms. Gathering the right facts first leads to a solid diagnosis of the current state and gives a solid appreciation of the changes required to reach the target state.
Proper problem diagnosis also has cascading utility.
It's enlightening. Probing for the real problem will often shed light on new areas and reveal context.
It sets the scale and scope of change and ignites thinking on change readiness.
A proper diagnosis helps develop the right change solutions with meaningful metrics to track progress.
It will help refine and prioritise actions. A compelling vision will bring people on the journey.
Cracking the credibility code through evidence-based approaches to change management is the key to unlock your greatest asset in any transformation - the buy-in and engagement of your people.