ground-hogStrategic planning sessions are great. A chance for a team to take time out from their busy schedules to work ‘on’ rather than ‘in’ the business. An offsite location, some team building, capped off with motivational pep-talks from senior management. At the end of a couple of days of hard work, the team leaves with a clear set of strategic directions, action items, timelines and allocated responsibilities.

Later back in the office, good intentions and early enthusiasm kick implementation projects off on a high. But soon business-as-usual priorities dwindle focus and change projects seem to go off the rails. The following year’s annual planning cycle comes around again, same discussions, different location. It’s ‘ground-hog day’ because last year’s strategies were never successfully implemented.

It’s not an unusual scenario, in 2008 a McKinsey survey of 3,199 executives around the world found that only one transformation in three succeeds. That’s a staggering 66% project failure rate. We know that nowadays it’s change or die, the impact on a business unable to implement change can be dramatic, without change organisations stagnate, fail to implement their strategies and ultimately fall behind the competition. A trial and error approach to implementation comes with a high cost in terms of lost time, reduced confidence, wasted money and poor utilisation of resources.

As a business performance advisor you’re in a unique position to help clients get off the ground hog day merry-go-round, ensuring change success becomes the norm, not the exception.

How advisors can improve client change success

In 2012, Dr Chris Mason undertook a PhD, surveying 240 leaders from 9 organisations around the globe, to identify the core factors that impact and organisation’s ability to change. The result was the Mindshop Change Success Model, a tool for advisors to identify and address the underlying barriers to change success.

The complete tool identifies 3 core factors and 10 sub factors that impact an organisations ability to change, each of which are interrelated – you cannot implement change just by focusing on the one area:

  1. Readiness (30% of the overall score): change-success-model-v4How ready is the organisation and the people within that organisation ready to implement change? Discuss the support being provided by the leadership team, the organisation’s need for change (how critical is the project?) and the ‘what’s in it for me’ factor – how important is the change to the individuals who are charged with implementing the change?
  2. Capability (40% of the overall score): The skills, people training and resources required to successfully change both from an organisational and people perspective
  3. Beliefs (30% of the overall score): The overall attitude of the organisation in relation to the change, consider the perceived difficulty of the project, team attitude to the change and the opinion of ‘significant others’ whether internal peers or personal connections.

A simplified version for calculating scores is as follows: give the three main areas a score from 1 to 10 (with ten being very high and one being very low). Multiply R (readiness) x C (capability) x B (beliefs) and divide the score by 1000 to come up with a percentage Change Success Score.

Dr Mason found that a Change Success Score of 78% or more was found to be the tipping point for organisations to succeed with implementation of change projects.

How and when should you use this approach when advising clients?

  1. Use this tool to front end any strategic planning process. Flush out the real issues impeding progress before tackling strategic direction.
  2. When reviewing a leadership team or coaching a leader to identify whether they have the capability to drive change
  3. When reviewing implementation of a sales process to identify the probability of achieving sales targets
  4. Before constructing a project team

What next?

Once you have identified what’s holding a client back from change you can assist your clients in developing strategies to boost their probability of success. When addressed, your clients can then focus on the creation of transformational strategies to improve their business, confident in the knowledge that these strategies will be successfully implemented.

What I have outlined is only a very high level overview, to understand the model in all its detail including categorisation of your clients into one of eight change scenarios, I encourage you to review the Mindshop Change Success diagnostic at http://www.web.mindshop.com/change-success/

On completion you will receive a complimentary report highlighting your own probability of change success for a given business or project. Best of luck!