A “change readiness assessment” can help you determine whether you have in place the key success factors for organizational change. Our Dynamic Change Model defines Rath & Strong’s approach and guides clients through an assessment of their organization’s readiness for change.
Exactly how you will use our change readiness assessment will depend on where you are in the implementation process. For example:
- If you are considering Lean Six Sigma, the change readiness assessment can tell you how prepared you are on the Change Management side, and can pinpoint areas to address for a more successful rollout.
- If you have already decided on Lean Six Sigma and are about to launch, the change readiness assessment can help you identify which of these elements might be missing from your rollout plan and overall message.
- If you are in the early stages of Lean Six Sigma projects, and the rollout is not going as smoothly as you had hoped – or if you are well into Lean Six Sigma, but not getting the results you anticipated – the change readiness assessment can help you diagnose problem areas and identify remedial steps.
Involve Key Stakeholders via Rath & Strong’s Readiness Assessment
We advise that you assess change readiness through small group meetings, including the leadership team, with a Rath & Strong facilitator (or Rath & Strong trained facilitator) leading the process. Your leadership team will make its own assessment, and compare its results to those of other stakeholder groups. This type of process – that is, different stakeholders coming together to talk about the state of the organization vis-à-vis the change – helps build commitment to Lean Six Sigma. If you wish, you can get a broader perspective by using the readiness assessment as part of a targeted employee survey.
The results of your change readiness assessment will feed into an overall picture that will help you focus your Change Management efforts. You’ll identify areas in which you need to take remedial steps, as well as those that you should monitor to ensure that they continue to facilitate a successful Lean Six Sigma rollout.
Note that it is also possible to consider “change readiness” on a level below that of the organization – that is, on the level of individual readiness – as there are certain variables that can increase an individual’s receptivity to change. We are certainly not suggesting that you analyze every employee and create an influence plan for each. Rather, you will identify key stakeholders and stakeholder groups, so that you can then focus your efforts on those whose support is most needed (that is, they can have the greatest impact on the success of the project) but least likely (that is, they have many reasons to resist, and probably will). You will also want to identify those stakeholders whose level of support is high and who will be willing to help you bring along other stakeholders.
The Change Readiness Communication Imperative
Communications is a (perhaps the) major element of a successful Lean Six Sigma change plan: It’s a thread that runs through the entire plan, touching everything else you do. If you don’t do this right, you’ll encounter serious problems.
However, in spite of its critical role, communications is something that organizations typically do not do well even during times of little change (are there such times any more?), much less during an all-consuming Lean Six Sigma rollout. We could guess at root causes: lack of appreciation for what’s involved in good communication; inability to identify the real cost of poor communication quality; lack of an expert (and loud) voice on the implementation project team, and so on. Whatever the underlying reasons, we have seen numerous organizations make the same few – but potentially deadly – mistakes in communicating their Six Sigma initiative. Therefore, our change readiness assessment focuses leaders on organizational communications deficits and strengths as a key factor that is critical to Lean Six Sigma success.
“I firmly believe that at least 50% of the success of the deployment – and I don't mean just getting some savings the first year, but truly embedding Six Sigma in the culture – is due to how you lead change and communicate.”
Bryce Currie, Vice President of Six Sigma TRW Automotive
Rath & Strong’s Six Sigma Leadership Handbook