Enabling and Amplifying Successful Change

How can a systemic approach deliver change more successfully?

If you are involved in change in any way, you should be thinking about how to enable your people to succeed, and what you can do organisationally to amplify the impact of your people.   

Our previous article on the Conditions for Success (C4S) framework and tools has hopefully convinced you that it is a powerful way of either setting up a change initiative for success, and/or diagnosing issues on in-flight change initiatives, and identifying where remediation needs to occur.  

What is easy is to overlay a C4S approach on your existing change methodology. It has both a data-based element that is incorporated in a diagnostic tool, a framework guiding the capability uplift of those involved in change, and a set of tools that have evolved. This is partly based on what the data was telling us, but also from being involved and advising on hundreds of client change initiatives. 

This approach enables and amplifies successful change, and it can be done with any existing change methodology. In fact, we see these enablers and amplifiers as a ‘Martini’ approach – they can be used ‘anytime, anyplace, anywhere’.  What are these enablers and amplifiers?  They can be simply expressed by the diagram below: 

The enablers we propose are based on developing the capabilities of those people leading and participating in change.  This is largely done through learning and development programmes.  At the most senior end, this is Sponsor Skills, then for full time change leaders, our Mastering Change and Delivery Excellence Programme, then for everyone, our Commercial Mindset Digital Learning Modules. 

But these development programmes are only the start.  Unless the organisation puts in place specific embedding and sustaining mechanisms to support this enhanced change capability, we have found that, while there is an improvement in change success rates, it does not achieve what it potentially could. This is because the organisation is often ‘getting in the way’ of the people. 

This is where the amplifiers come into their own. We have four categories of amplifiers, and apart from the principles, the other three categories can be seen as a ‘menu’ to pick from, depending on any issues identified and/or where you are in the change lifecycle.  The four categories are: 

  1. Principles.  Sometimes when you are ‘in the weeds’ of a change, it’s hard to step away from the detail and look at the bigger picture of what you are Remove featured imagetrying to do, and how you are trying to do it.  We created 12 change principles, based around C4S, that can be used to instantly gain this perspective again, and inform important decisions and actions.   
  2. Diagnostics. Again, when you’re working on a change day in day out, it can be hard to see issues, or if you do, then hard to see the root cause.  We have a set of diagnostics that can be used to focus on different aspects of change through the lifecycle. Some examples include our C4S assessment itself, which through a 44 question survey can pinpoint specific pain points. As well as our High Performing Team Diagnostic, which surveys a team’s view of how it is performing across the nine elements of the Sionic High Performing Teams Model. And a Power of Purpose Survey, that helps to identify why individuals and teams may not be motivated or engaged in the change. 
  3. Interventions. Having identified issues with diagnostics, or already being aware of issues, we have a set of interventions that can help remediation, and accelerate improved outcomes for the change.  Mostly, these interventions take the form of half or full day workshops.  Examples include workshops looking at: outcome and business case, collaboration, operating vision, risk management, programme infrastructure and agile reviews. These workshops can focus members of the change team on key issues and result in them taking away concrete and practical actions to improve their change. 
  4. Ways of Working. We have developed many tools and techniques to support change that can be incorporated into the change team’s day to day activities.  Many of them can be learnt and practiced in the development programmes that are part of our enablers. These include collaborative decision making, change impact analysis, and our systemic model. Or they can be introduced through a Sionic change coach, who can create a significantly positive impact through observing how the change team is working, and looking for the best possible tools and techniques to help them. 

A systemic approach to change

We have found the combination of enabling increased change capability, then amplifying that through team and organisational mechanisms, to be very powerful. Too many times organisations look at either training or processes and tools in isolation. But by taking this more systemic approach, change is delivered better, sooner, with higher quality, and by more engaged and motivated teams. 

Meet the expert

I help organisations and the individuals within them change and develop; to be better, more effective and have a positive impact on the clients and society they serve.