Digitalisation & Disruption

Adapt smarter with a change readiness assessment

Rewire your organisation for the future with our change readiness assessment. Our framework helps you understand internal change blockers and identify mitigating actions, so you can deliver effectively against your goals.

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6 minutes to read

Why do so many business transformations fail? Simple: businesses start building upwards without putting the right foundations in place. But change readiness needn’t be daunting; it’s about aligning everyone towards common goals. 

Some 70% of major business transformation projects end badly, but this failure is often totally avoidable with the right processes in place. And all those processes really take is an understanding of the bigger picture – like why ‘tech transformation’ is never just about tech adoption, and why employees may be resistant to change. 

Run a successful change readiness assessment and you’ll not only have answers to those questions, you  might also unlock insights that can streamline the business from top to bottom.  

But before we get there, we need to answer a big, obvious question… 

What is change readiness? 

Change happens all the time in business, but we’re talking here about conscious change. That usually means larger strategic initiatives instead of ad hoc adjustments – sweeping changes with ramifications that splinter out across every department. 

Think of an organisation like a spider web; if you pull the bottom left, the top right feels that tug. In that sense, nothing truly happens in isolation.  

Change readiness, then, is about understanding all the factors that can limit your organisation’s ability to deliver that change – and devising and implementing a plan that can mitigate potential issues before they arise.  

And, crucially, doing so before you start any real transformational change with the project at hand. 

How to run a change readiness assessment 

A change readiness assessment begins with a discussion about the proposed transformation, resulting in a set of key questions around buy-in, fit, and process. These questions are fired up and down the organisation – to stakeholders at every level. The answers will help you build a maturity model that you can use to determine if it’s time to push forwards, or time to take a step back and rethink. 

Here's a framework for your change readiness assessment...

  • Appoint a dedicated change manager to oversee and drive the transformational process. They will be responsible for identifying and implementing any mitigating actions.  

  • Discuss the proposed transformation with impacted stakeholders at every level, especially those with influence within the organisation. 

  • Draft probing questions about the implications of the change, which impacted departments can answer. Assessing change readiness must take into account multiple viewpoints to understand where stakeholders are confident in their ability to deliver the required changes. You’ll also want to capture any areas of concern or reluctance, together with the underlying causes for this discomfort. 

    Use the findings to identify areas of concern which would benefit from further exploration. 

  • Use your answers to build a maturity model that answers critical questions like: 

    • Is your business able to enact this change? 
    • What will the impact be on each department, and is that impact generally seen as positive or negative? 
    • What issues will end users face during and after the change? 
    • How does the proposed transformation need to be adjusted? 
    • What’s a realistic change roadmap or timeline that can garner the necessary buy-in? 

As with most aspects related to business architecture, there's no black-and-white format for this; ‘readiness’ is a highly subjective term and the way you arrive at your change maturity model will need to be holistic and tailored to your business and desired outcomes

What is universal, though, is that all of this needs to be based around both business-wide and targeted communication. Successful change management connects the dots between members of senior management – who can often be a bit too ‘blue sky’ – and the people with boots on the ground – who can appear resistant to change given that they know exactly what the knock-on impacts will be. 

Really, that means eliminating surprises and guesswork, and making everyone an equal part of the solution.  

Why do business transformations fail? 

Transformations that don’t put time aside for change readiness assessment, and don’t have suitable change management processes in place, will find themselves running into issues for a few common reasons: 

Change needs to have unilateral support, but that starts at the top, with support not only for the transformation being tabled, but also the act of change management itself. Projects fail when there’s limited knowledge and resources for effective change management. 

This often leads to misalignment, where your new solution is only partially adopted, or has unforeseen knock-on effects in other departments. It might be that Department A thinks the change means X, while Department B thinks it means Y – and the reality is somewhere in between the two.

Change-resistant culture and attitudes are often prevalent in heavily siloed organisations, where not consulting people at every level can result in an unwillingness to embrace new solutions and technologies. Operationalising culture change is time consuming and difficult, but necessary if the proposed transformation requires a shift – for example, establishing more collaborative working as the norm.

Remember: culture is an organisational tool and needs to evolve along with your company. A change-resistant culture can be combated through clear communication at every step of the process.  

Transparent and upfront 

You never want to find yourself laying the track right in front of the train. By the time you start running into transitional issues, it can be too late to unpick the various threads that have landed you in trouble.  

While in most cases you’ll still be able to assess blockers and make amends, it becomes much harder when attitudes around a specific change have already started to cement into place. 

That’s why it’s so important to do the assessment work in advance of embarking on any major change initiatives.  

Usually, that means spending upfront to save in the long run – by fully assessing the change that you’re proposing, whether everyone understands the need for it, the implications of it, and whether the current organisational culture is even ready for it.  

In other words: you’ll want to have what you're proposing to do well documented and completely understood from the beginning. That's your starting point: setting clear expectations around timing and impact, laying out a clear vision for the enterprise and planning for meaningful investment across multiple years.  

Rewire your organisation for the future 

Across the many industries we operate in, we’re seeing a fundamental shift in the way organisations collaborate, compete, and create value.  

Diverse organisations are coming together to solve complexity and maximise value by connecting customer journeys and co-creating superior customer value propositions. Industry borders are eroding, innovation ecosystem partnerships are on the rise, and economies are starting to re-organise around fundamental customer needs. 

To secure a sustainable future in this era of exponential change, organisations need to run their current world smarter while adapting to meet the needs of tomorrow’s markets, customers, and colleagues. That’s no easy thing, and requires you to break old silos, adopt a strategic partnering mindset, and ensure your organisation is structurally set up to deliver change

Partnering with an experienced, third-party transformation partner can be hugely helpful for navigating and accelerating time to value across this strategic journey of inwards and outwards change, eliminating issues and incumbency biases from the outset. 

We support organisations of all sizes on their strategic change journeys, helping clients rewire their thinking and embed technology at their core. Speak to us today about your transformation challenges and how we may be able to support you. 

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