Tuesday, 25 December 2012

There is a Hard Side as well as a Soft Side to Change Management

Often we get fixated on the soft side of teams and change management. By this I mean techniques concerning how do we get the right team, how do we understand the team members personal motivations, how do we create a good team working environment and how we resolve conflict. These are all vitally important however we may forget that this is only half the story.....

Teams usually have important projects which their employers are paying them to deliver - its not that they are working in the team out of the goodness of their hearts!

As an important counterbalance I point you to the October 2005 Harvard Business Review. It carries an article, The Hard Side of Change Management by Hal Sirkin, Perry Keenan and Alan Jackson of Boston Consulting Group.

Based on assessments of more than 200 major change initiatives, the authors have determined that the outcome of change initiatives comes down to four elements they call DICE:
  1. (D)uration of the project
  2. (I)ntegrity of the team
  3. Organizational (C)ommitment to change
  4. Additional (E)ffort required of staff members
The way it works is that interviews are carried out with executives and leaders of project teams, ideally before they start, and the project DICE score is calculated according to a simple formula with each of the four success indicators being graded on a scale of 1-4 (the lower the score the better). 

They also offer a simple useful little DICE calculator to help you to evaluate the chance of success of a project.

This score then places a project in one of three zones - a WIn zone, a Worry zone or a Woe zone. This allows the organisation to address key issues or cancel projects altogether if the chance of success is too remote. Good leaders and change agents will have both soft and hard change management techniques in their toolkits and will know which to use and when.

Ken Thompson (aka The BumbleBee) blogs about bioteams, virtual collaboration and business simulation at www.bioteams.com