Forget “resilience”; let’s talk about becoming capable

It’s been more than three years since the start of the global pandemic, and during this period, we’ve heard about how organisations and even individuals must become resilient. 

However, we should guard against it becoming a cliche. Reacting to the unexpected is the bare minimum. It’s better to be prepared and build capabilities to change in adverse and favourable circumstances. 

If resilience refers to our ability to react and positively respond while navigating transition, we can’t reward ourselves simply for being reactionary – we should be prepared, agile, and, critically, capable. 

Change capability is at the forefront of change management, particularly Enterprise Change Management (ECM). ECM experts, Prosci, say that for organisations to move beyond simply reacting requires an ideological shift: “You have to move out of the mindset of simply doing more change management… to a mindset of deploying change management and building organisational capabilities.” Effectively, this means institutionalising change management when change is perpetual. 

Rather than simply dealing with a significant organisational change (e.g. digital transformation to new processes), the most competitive organisations develop ways to pre-emptively respond to change. They’re even taking it one step further: finding healthy ways to actively initiate change to benefit their business, staff, and customers. 

Research, tools and training agents of change within an organisation contribute to developing change capability. 

Strategically, this means determining your organisation’s level of change maturity with five factors in mind: leadership, application, competencies, standardisation, and socialisation. Putting this into practice means answering key questions when making changes, like;

Who is responsible for designing a solution?

Who is our change ‘sponsor’ facilitating the change at the executive level?

What is our schedule, budget and governance for implementation?

What are our change management plans at an organisational and individual level?

Doing this manifests change maturity and identifies gaps in capability. 

Ultimately, the people who need to become capable are the organisational leaders across all levels. In a recent article for Forbes, Christine Tao, CEO/Co-Founder of leadership coaching organisation, Sounding Board, wrote on capability development: “…companies often overlook it because it takes much work. It means investing in teams and developing individual members’ leadership skills… taking on the organisational responsibility for creating an environment and culture where leaders have room to lead ….” 

So, self-awareness, communication, and managing change are top leadership capabilities integral to growing a culture of change but are challenging to develop. It takes a concerted effort and great intent to build these competencies throughout an organisation, delivering undeniable benefits. 

Poorly managed change is costly, from loss of talent to plunging productivity. But when managed correctly, the time to implement change reduces, and the possibility of failure sharply declines while employee performance increases. 

 Agility and adaptability become the norm, and accelerating an organisation remains manageable despite rapid global disruption. Who wants just to be resilient? Let’s shift the conversation from resilient to becoming change-capable.

*Tom Marsicano, CEO of ‘and Change’, a global advisory and change management consultancy

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Last modified on Wednesday, 22 March 2023 17:00

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