Organizational Change Potential – Pressure for Change

Organizational Change Potential – Pressure for Change

Part 2 of 5: Continued from a Previous post

There are four common areas to address when preparing to implement change in your organization:

  1. Pressure for Change
  2. A Shared Vision
  3. A Capacity to Translate to Execution
  4. A Realistic Workplan

Let’s talk about the Pressure for Change.


What does Pressure for Change mean?

From the book – A Beautiful Constraint (Source: &Strategy – adapted by Michael Hay):

To create the will to change, we first need the pressure to change. Without a strong, clearly articulated business case for embarking on a new direction, the initiative will stall pretty quickly when the going gets tough. We need to feel the heat or we’ll move without urgency and run out of steam.

Pressure for change is often the only reason anything ever actually changes. Aside from spontaneous combustion and immaculate conception, all other changes come from a pressure source, real or imagined. What usually keeps scope creep at bay is the Pressure for Change. Without it, there is a natural tendency to do nothing (or, in some cases, everything). Often, this Pressure comes from a business need or deadline, like the expiration of another software or the onboarding of a new client.

To know whether you have organizational Pressure, ask yourself: Does the Executive sponsor actively inquire about the implementation status and ask how they can help? Are there bonuses tied to the successful completion of the project? Do you feel motivation (positive or negative) to implement?

Why do you need Pressure for Change?

There is a reason WHY the software was purchased from the business perspective. As previously mentioned, a business need or opportunity is usually at the heart of new software implementations. If the reason WHY has not been communicated broadly, then the Pressure is limited. Translating the need to the implementation team and those individuals the change will impact is critical to success. Why is that critical?

Think of the last time you’ve made a change in your life. Was it fate, or was there something that led you to make that change? I hope you’ll say there was an event or moment when you realized the change was necessary. Now, without that moment of realization – would you have made it? Again – I’m hoping you are following my logic. We have to feel the need to change. In business, an executive mandate helps. And an organizational mandate with a time constraint is even better. “Mandate” may not be the right word here if you have adequately communicated the need for the change. If you’ve been able to share the vision and have obtained buy-in, which is ideal – the need for change will become personalized, and the Pressure for Change will be self-administered.

What happens when you don’t have it?

Being absent of Pressure to change is like driving in LA – no one is trying to go anywhere. There is no intended destination, just the pomp, and circumstance of being seen to be going somewhere. Nothing will get done in an implementation with no need to do anything. It will be too easy to deprioritize the change over the daily work. The need for change, the catalyst in this arrangement, will not be felt.

I’ve seen too many implementations without any Pressure to Change, and they rarely end as successful engagements. “Nice to have” change management doesn’t exist. I have never seen a company purchase software without any pressure for change and then magically change how they do business. It doesn’t happen that way. I have seen plenty of companies that have purchased the software either not communicate the importance, or apply any pressure for the change only to find themselves stuck in a software relationship they don’t want – because the software never gets implemented. Or it gets implemented, and the one dude in the corner that loves change is responsible for overcomplicating it because he wanted to learn something new. “Slow Death” is accurate here. Either way, you look at it; you need Pressure for Change to make real change in your organization – especially when a software implementation is involved.

Continue to Part 3

Supporting Music

Paranoid Android by Radiohead

Smile by Wolf Alice

Note: Originally posted January 21, 2018

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