Harvard Business Review (HBR) is a must-read for change management professionals. Below, we’ll look at HBR change management in depth.
We’ll explore a few of the:
- Most important change management articles
- Research, ideas, and takeaways
- Areas to dig deeper
Without question, HBR is one of the top sources of business knowledge in a variety of areas, including change management.
Let’s see what this journal has to offer.
HBR Change Management: 3 Top Reads
HBR’s articles on change management include opinion pieces as well as research articles.
Below are some articles that offer a blend of both:
The Hard Side of Change Management
In 1994, the authors completed a lengthy study of change management, where they determined the “common denominators of change.”
Their 225-company study discovered four key factors of change.
These factors can be used to guide and predict the outcomes of change management initiatives.
The authors call these four key factors the DICE factors:
- Duration – Duration is the length of the project, especially time between reviews. The authors’ study found that overall project duration matters less than time between project reviews. According to the article, projects should be reviewed at least bimonthly.
- Integrity – This refers to the integrity or capabilities of the project teams. Higher quality employees and teams produce better, more successful change programs. For this reason, organizations should free up their best workers to create change.
- Commitment – How committed are staff and executives? Top-level commitment is crucial to success. However, so is the support of staff and managers. Change managers should obtain the support of both if they want to succeed.
- Effort – On top of existing workloads, employees are expected to implement change programs. Before beginning a program, a change team should calculate the effort required to complete that program. If that effort exceeds 10%, problems will likely arise.
The article also goes in-depth on how to apply these factors in a change program.
The DICE factors offer a change management framework, claim the authors, that enables conversations at all levels of the organization.
This helps to decrease employee resistance and mobilize support.
Change Management Is Becoming Increasingly Data-Driven. Companies Aren’t Ready
This article is a good primer on using data to predict outcomes in change management.
Change management is always focused on “the people side of change.”
But in today’s digital world, data and analytics can offer insights and improve outcomes.
Here are a few takeaways from this article:
- Using data for predictive modeling. Predictive models take existing data sets and allow people to predict the outcomes of certain events. For instance, recruitment software can take work history data and psychometric data from potential team members, then predict how they will interact together.
- Implementing digital engagement tools. Such platforms allow managers to engage with employees in real-time, across the organization. Tools like this offer data-driven insight into employee metrics, such as employee productivity and feedback.
- Using analytics for sentiment analysis. Social media can tell you how people feel and how they are reacting to change. Stakeholders – such as customers, business partners, suppliers, investors, and so forth – can be tracked and monitored via social media.
- Build a dashboard. A dashboard allows you to collect and monitor all relevant data in a single place. Chances are, your organization has the pertinent data already – but it is not being collected.
The authors point out that implementing these items will take time.
However, businesses that do will be able to make reliable predictions about proposed change initiatives.
4 Things Successful Change Leaders Do Well
Many change efforts fail and there are many ways to increase the chances of success.
One way is by providing stronger change leadership.
According to the author, there are four things that successful change leaders do differently:
1. Recognize embedded tensions and paradoxes.
Every organization faces certain tensions, or conflicts, between opposing forces.
For instance, there is a tension between digitization and humanization.
That is, between the need to digitalize, automate, and adopt new technology … while still maintaining an authentic sense of purpose and collective ambition.
Effective leaders can recognize and reconcile paradoxes such as these.
2. Hold everyone accountable.
Change managers must be prepared to hold the entire organization accountable for its actions, not just a select few.
One way to do this is by providing real-world initiatives that back up their proposals with real-world actions.
3. Invest in new organizational capabilities.
Change managers must always use effective change management skills, techniques, and systems.
However, an organization needs the right resources if it wants to succeed.
Leaders must provide requisite resources and develop the capacity for change.
4. Emphasize continuous learning
Revitalization and renewal are easier said than done.
Those who succeed most often commit to a “relentless learning process.”
These HBR change management articles offer excellent advice and insight for anyone involved in business change.
They balance time-tested research with contemporary digital business practices.
HBR is an excellent resource for change management articles and research.
However, it is not the only journal that covers change management.For more resources and research, read our blog post that explores change management reviews, journals, and blogs.