Updated: Nov 23
"Organisations with superior leadership of change capability stay ahead in the marketplace"
We are currently in the middle of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) and a time of major disruption. 4IR is differentiated by the speed of technological breakthroughs and its widespread scope. It has had an incredible impact, changing the way organisations operate and how we live and relate to one another. 4IR includes technology breakthroughs in fields such as artificial intelligence, robotics, the Internet of Things, autonomous vehicles, 3D printing, 5G, genetic modification, energy storage and more recently AI. “What I consider to be the fourth industrial revolution is unlike anything humankind has experienced before” (Schwab, 2017).
Change will impact nearly every organisation like an explosion, continually disrupting how the organisation delivers normal day-to-day operations. How organisations react to 4IR change will become a source of competitive advantage. Their ability to reduce the internal period of disruption and negative performance to deliver positive operating performance and future state benefits will be critical. Organisations that adapt swiftly and effectively to the challenges of 4IR and other disruptive factors will forge ahead in the competitive landscape. The ability to embrace and mitigate the internal disruptions and minimise the period of negative performance caused by these upheavals is crucial. What sets apart successful organisations is their change leadership capability to swiftly adapt. There are four main change leadership enablers to reduce organisational change disruption:
Effective and Proactive Sponsorship
Aligned Change Leadership Team
Change Implementation Framework
Employee Change Adoption Process
Effective and Proactive Sponsorship:
Sponsorship is the single most important factor in change success. Without effective and proactive sponsorship, the change project will eventually fail, the change will not be adopted by the employees nor be sustained, and it will not deliver the intended benefits. The sponsor is usually a trusted senior executive with many years of experience and with widely accepted organisational creditability. The change sponsor performs three critical Leadership of Change® responsibilities to enable change projects to be successful. These three critical responsibilities are: Say, Support and Sustain to ensure sustainable change.
Aligned Change Leadership Team:
Change leadership alignment ensures that the organisational leaders are prepared and equipped before they start their organisation’s change implementation. This means they understand the organisation’s change history, they have the same change vision, they are aligned on their strategic objectives, they are a high-performing team, and they have the change leadership skills, knowledge, and self-awareness to lead the change, transformation, or improvement that their organisation is facing. Change leadership alignment is important because the skills required for leading day-to-day operations are very different from those required for change leadership.
“I have yet to encounter a successful change implementation, without an effective and proactive sponsor backed by an aligned leadership team with change leadership skills and knowledge”
Change Implementation Framework:
Successful organisational change management is delivered by leaders, so employees fully adopt the change, the ROI is achieved, and the organisation is ahead of the competition in terms of improving performance. The a2B Change Management Framework® (a2BCMF®) is a structured and disciplined programme approach used by change implementation leads, to support their organisation, the leadership teams and employees going through a change, the transition from the current state ‘a’ to the future state ‘B’.
Employee Change Adoption Process:
Achieving Employee Change Adoption in a major organisation change or transformation has mixed success, and the ROI benefits are not always realised. The main objective of any change project is to deliver improved future performance by facilitating and enabling step improvement, from the current ‘a’ state to the future improved ‘B’ state. The improved future ‘B’ state is about maximising employee change adoption. It is about providing the employees with the new skills, behaviours, and motivation so they are aligned with the organisation’s processes and systems.
In the realm of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR), change isn’t a sporadic interruption; it’s the very essence of the new normal. Organisations and leadership teams that are hesitant about change will lose ground quickly as new innovations disrupt old business models and ways of working. Organisations that grasp the new normal and develop superior change leadership capabilities will gain a significant competitive edge. Superior change capability is a critical asset that provides organisations with the agility to swiftly adapt to the change challenges and opportunities that 4IR presents. It allows organisations to markedly minimise the disruption caused by change, swiftly transition from negative performance to positive outcomes, and unlock the benefits of future state transformations. Organisations that develop superior change capability will be better positioned to capitalise on the transformative potential embedded within these changes. They can proactively embrace and leverage these changes for innovation, growth, and competitive advantage. This shift in perspective not only fosters a culture of adaptability but also opens doors to new possibilities, allowing organisations to redefine strategies, drive innovation, and ultimately stay at the forefront of an ever-evolving marketplace.
“While adopting change it is important to learn the new skills, but sometimes the new behaviours are critical”
Find out more:
Further Reading: Change Management Handbook - Leadership of Change Volume 3
Peter consults, speaks, and writes on the Leadership of Change®.
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Peter F Gallagher is a Change Management Global Thought Leader, Guru, Expert, International Speaker, Author and Leadership Alignment Coach.
Listed #1 by leadersHum Top 40 Change Management Gurus You Should Follow in 2022 (Mar 2022).
Ranked #1 Change Management Global Thought Leader: Top 50 Global Thought Leaders and Influencers on Change Management (2023-2022-2021-2020) by Thinkers360.
Ranked #1 Business Strategy Global Thought Leader: Top 50 Global Thought Leaders and Influencers on Business Strategy (2022) by Thinkers360.
Ranked #2 Leadership Global Thought Leader: Top 50 Global Thought Leaders and Influencers on Leadership (Aug 2020) by Thinkers360.
Business Book Ranking
Change Management Behaviour - Leadership of Change® Volume 6, listed among the 50 Books from Thinkers360 Thought Leaders to read in 2022.
Change Management Adoption - Leadership of Change® Volume 5, listed among year-to-date’s (Jul 2021) most popular books on business and technology from Thinkers360 member thought leaders.
Change Management Handbook - Leadership of Change® Volume 3, listed among the 50 Business and Technology Books from Thinkers360 Thought Leaders to read in 2021.
Change Management Pocket Guide - Leadership of Change® Volume 2, ranked within the top 50 Business and Technology Books (Jan 2020) from Thinkers360 Thought Leaders.