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Are your people ready for change?


adj. in a suitable state for an action or situation; fully prepared.

Verb. prepare (i.e make ready) for an activity or purpose.

While many organisations focus on mastering the operational or structural side of change, they may give little attention or effort towards the other half of ‘the change equation’ i.e., their people. In our article, Ready, Willing & Able: the keys to successful change management delivery’, we introduced these distinct lenses that provide specific insights and shape change management efforts to ensure that leaders focus on people so that business change outcomes are achieved.

So what distinction are we making between Ready, Willing & Able – and why? Often, these are rolled up into ‘employee engagement’ and, in doing so, opportunities to ensure the change is successful are missed and the benefits of change are reduced.

Employees and leaders that are ready for change will find it easier to implement and sustain new ways of working and deliver the planned benefits. All change at an organisational level, requires change at an individual level.

Change is personal and depends on a choice made by individuals to transition which then influences the business environment, the processes, structure and relationships. A person’s readiness is determined by their understanding and interpretation of the impact of the change, and what it means for them. In short, they must be able to decide if the effort and cost of changing is worth it and to do this they must have access to information such as:

  • the disadvantages of the current state and/or advantages of the proposed change or end state

  • clarity on what needs to be done and the amount of work required to complete it

  • practicalities (e.g., issues and challenges) and the level of risk and disruption

  • the criteria applied to define when the change is done, and the tests performed to demonstrate the criteria have been met

Achieving readiness focuses on ensuring individuals are prepared (intellectually and emotionally) to take action and this involves:

  • building awareness for the need to change so that people understand the reasons why the organisation is investing in the initiative.

  • communication with employees so that they understand what the change means for them.

  • creating opportunities for learning about the change.

  • providing access to resources about the transition and the support available.

  • listening and responding to employee resistance to new ways of working.

A Change Readiness Assessment (CRA) is a means for the change manager to gauge the effectiveness of business change activities in preparing those within - and beyond - the programme who are delivering the change, as well as objectively confirming the organisation is ready to receive the change. It is not an end in itself; completing a CRA does not increase readiness it is simply a datapoint. Ideally, a CRA is conducted at least twice: to provide a baseline at the start of the project; and during delivery (with sufficient lead time to address findings). CRA outputs can be also used to inform project go-live decisions.

A relationship approach to communications and engagement based on regular contact and exchange of information with business leaders, ensures that information is shared in a consistent and timely way and provides frequent opportunities for feedback. In this way, leaders can make a practical contribution to the change effort; providing valuable input to shape change and identify where change management effort and resources may need to be targeted. Leaders are also more likely to openly support the change themselves.

If you need support with enabling your people to be ready for your business change programme please contact us.


About Marlowe

At Marlowe we partner with you and your organisation to deliver large scale, complex transformation and change. We deliver business change solutions, change capability, assurance, training, leadership effectiveness and cultural change.

Our focus is on your people to ensure your change is delivered practically, successfully and sustainably.

Please contact us if you would like to know more about delivering exceptional business change.

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