Case Study: Change readiness for whole-of-government
A whole-of-government purchasing arrangement was established to deliver best value and the latest technology for voice, mobile, data, internet and unified communications services. Following a decade of similar services from similar providers, the opportunity was taken to encourage competition and access new technologies. Rather than more of the same, the challenge was to encourage users to strike the balance between staying with the incumbent or trying a new supplier.
The project outcome was to assess the readiness for change, encompassing service performance, the costs and risks of transition, and what constitutes best value. Many leaders have to make choices between the risk of the known and the risk of the unknown. After all, risk is defined as the effect of uncertainty on objectives (by ISO 31000 which sought to also allow for positive consequences of uncertainty, as well as negative ones). Hence, part of the change readiness assessment was education on the opportunities and the opportunity cost of changing suppliers.
In achieving this outcome, it was crucial to engage with key influencers in the key departments and agencies to first listen then to discuss the implications of change and a potential roadmap.
We brought a consultative approach to the change readiness assessment
We worked with key leaders who were most impacted by the change to:
- Conduct facilitated interviews for listening, communication and education.
- Assess the change readiness of the different parts of the enterprise focusing on factors of leadership alignment, measures of success, operating model, internal and external communications and engagement, and project integration.
- Track understanding and commitment to the change (leveraging change tools such as the commitment curve: Conner and Patterson) and need for education.
- Explore the different attitudes of ‘if it ain’t broke why fix it’ to ‘what if’.
- Manage the project, the change and the communications in parallel.
The change readiness assessment comprised the assessment by area, common issues and risks, alternative scenarios, and a change roadmap. This helped the project steering committee to know when and how to intervene at crucial decision points.
What we can learn from this project
- Communicate early and often about the process even if the outcome is still uncertain.
- Name areas of uncertainty and explore alternative scenarios to assess change impacts.
- Track levels of commitment or hurdles to change and deal with them genuinely.
- Maintain line of sight to the objective to re-emphasise the ‘why’ not just the ‘how’.
What the client shared about the objective
Government sponsor: ‘We know it’s smart to shop around to get the best value for money”…The market for mobile services, data and internet services is dynamic and competitive, and …This is great news for taxpayers and great news for the newer, smaller players in the market who can now grow their businesses and create new jobs.”