Our expertise in Change Management has a great – and large – chapter in “Cases and Exercises in Organization Development & Change – The process of Leading Organizational Change” (Donald Anderson, 2nd ed. Sage Publications, 2017).
The book is a useful guide for those (students or professionals) looking to practice organizational development (OD) skills and to learn about theories of organizational change and human behavior. The volume includes a comprehensive collection of case studies about the OD process and organization-wide teams dedicated to change. We had the chance to present a useful tool: the dashboard.
We have learnt through our experience that organizations need to evolve continuously in order to adapt and react to the ever-changing external environment. To do so, the traditional approach to Change Management is no longer enough, because it lacks flexibility and doesn’t allow organizations to adapt their plans when facing unexpected change. The ability to forecast and anticipate the unknown is even more crucial than before.
Thus, organizations that are implementing a Change Management program must be equipped with a strategic analytical tool that can help direct the change itself: the dashboard can monitor change processes, provide clear information about actions that have been already done and help forecast future decisions.
The dashboard plays a substantial role throughout the organizational change program because it encompasses both Lagging Indicators and Leading Indicators. Lagging Indicators are those that measure the results achieved, while Leading Indicators allow us to predict whether key activities will be effective or not, and to take anticipatory action in order to make them successful.
You might think that every Change Management project should have a dashboard as a tool to monitor and decide the next course of action, but there are some criteria that may help you understand whether to utilize this strategic tool or not. We must, therefore, consider the following three factors:
- Time frame: the change dashboard should be implemented for organizational changes that have a duration of no less than six months. This is the minimum amount of time required to acquire relevant data from Lagging and Leading Indicators.
- Typology/Dimension: the dashboard is meaningful when indicators refer to large-scale projects, involving the entire organization.
- Perimeter: the dashboard works if it is focused on the staff’s behaviours, the most unpredictable but crucial variable for the success of the change program.
As said, most Change Management projects are based on a traditional approach that does not provide the possibility to adapt and react to external uncertainty.
The change dashboard must also focus on the human side of the change that is often overlooked, because of self-confidence, complacency or ineptitude.