Accelerating and overlapping changes, multifaceted opportunities and problems … all of these challenges call for equally sophisticated solutions that combine processes and tools to create a future-proof organisation. Not for nothing do we observe an increasing number of business players choosing to deploy so-called “facilitation systems” through which they acquire new aptitudes to deal with change. In this third instalment dedicated to organisational agility, we explore most common Change Facilitation Systems (CFS) to gain insight into how most innovative organisations approach change-readiness. You will not be surprised to hear that Change Management is an essential contributor. But you might be interested in learning more about the way(s) it is being combined with other aptitudes. Read on to find out!
What’s in a word ?
On the surface, the term “Change Facilitation System” evokes sophistication, integration and embeddedness. Clearly, it covers multiple situations and setups. Strictly defined, a Change Facilitation System (CFS) refers to a platform or a set of change aptitudes designed to provide a coordinated solution for supporting the change, improving its outcomes and likelihood of success. In a sense, the CFS is akin to the overarching structure of an edifice (see illustration below). It is made up of change-related specific aptitudes. By aptitude, we mean a discipline, a body of knowledge or a particular effort to deal with a certain aspect of organisational performance. Examples of aptitudes include: change management (CM), agile development, collaboration, communications, continuous improvement, client experience, data analysis, creative thinking, digital strategy, employee engagement, collaborators performance, innovation, Lean, Lean Start Up, training & development, organisational design, organisational development, performance management, portfolio management, process management, project management, Six Sigma, strategy, talent management….
As CM specialists, we meet more and more clients who plan to develop their Change Management aptitude as part of a larger system. Take the following two examples illustrated below. In the first case, CM is a sub-unit of a larger program aimed at optimising the organisation and its processes along with other initiatives related to performance management, strategy and process management. In the second case, it is embedded into a system labelled “basic organisational functioning” and is meant to be developed together with adjacent aptitudes, namely problem solving, data analysis and project management.
Most frequent aptitudes and winning combinations.
If we look at a sample of 120 organisations, recurring patterns can immediately be observed. Here are the takeaways from the online poll conducted by PROSCI. Note that left terms on the graph are CFS labels; corresponding items listed on the right refer to the set of aptitudes. Now, examine the usual suspects and their frequency of occurrence: “Change Management” is found in 94 out of 120 collected cases while 70 include “Project Management”, 33 “Process Management” and 27 “Strategy”. As a side note, there are some emerging aptitudes worth noticing: Lean, Six Sigma, program management, transformation, leadership, organisational development… to name but a few.
If a system is made up of a combination of, say, X aptitudes, how many of them do we usually find in a CFS? Answers to the poll suggests 3,7 on average. Most common combinations include Change Management (CM) and Project Management (PM), which is not surprising considering the importance to integrate each discipline from an early stage and to align respective activities (and milestones). CM and PM both work in synergy so as to effectively cater to the technical and human sides of change. This configuration accounts for no less than half of the cases. CM is also frequently coupled with “process management”, “process management and project management” or with “strategy” as well as “project management and strategy”. We should point out that very few systems do actually include all 4 aptitudes at once.
Whichever the setup or configuration, the danger lies in collecting aptitudes and failing to effectively activate and unleash their power. That is why it is so critically important to develop a shared understanding, create anchors for integration and build a solid communication platform. In the words of Henry Ford, “coming together is the beginning, keeping together is progress, working together is success”. If you would like to share you experience with us or get support to take your Change Management skills to the next level, feel free to get in touch or check out our upcoming training sessions and webinars.
 Participants to a survey conducted in the course of a webinar on Change Facilitation Systems by PROSCI.