The winners accurately determine when a change
is major and thereby worth special implementation effort. They
know that every change does not require the same level of
implementation effort. They know that focused change management is
required when the change is major, when there is a high cost
of implementation failure, and when there is high risk that
certain human factor could result in implementation failure.
There are numerous factors that are important
when estimating the risks to successful implementation. Of the
major risk factors, three of them standout as being the most
important. First, how strong is the commitment of those
individuals with the power to legitimize the change? Next, is the
cost of change perceived to be greater than the cost of the status
quo? Finally, how clear is the definition of the future state at a
strategic and tactical level?
Without sufficient commitment, the change
should only be treated as an idea that is being promoted by a
change agent(s), and significant resources should not be invested
in the change until an executive sponsor has committed to the
Stop the change project, if the cost of the
change is greater than the cost of maintaining the status quo.
Without sufficient pain to justify the change, the cost of change
will only detract from more important business issues.
If you don't know where you are going, then
stop until you have agreement on where you are going
The winners are not only capable of enabling
organizations to initiate change; they are also able to build the
resolve necessary to sustain the change.
When the resolve to change occurs late in a situation, it is
due to current pain. Current pain is easy to surface and for
people to understand, but it only allows for short-term tactical
action to be taken. When the resolve to change is generated early,
it is due to anticipated pain associated with an anticipated
problem or anticipated loss of an opportunity. Responding to
anticipated pain provides the time necessary to make strategic
moves, but it is more difficult to convince people that they must
The timing of resolve to change is essential;
it can occur during either the anticipated or current time frames.
If this commitment to act is formed too early, it won't be
sustained; if it's formed too late, it won't matter.
The winners know that top management's issuance
of directives is not synonymous with successful implementations.
They understand that they must identify and orchestrate key
roles in the change process that are essential to successful
There are five key roles in major change
process. The initiating sponsor is the individual or group who has
the power to initiate and legitimize the change for all the
affected targets. The sustaining sponsor is the individual or
group with the political, logistical, and economical proximity to
the targets. The change agent is the individual or group
responsible for implementing the change. The change target
individual or group who must actually change. And finally, the
change advocate is the individual or group who wants to achieve a
change but who lacks sufficient sponsorship.