Organisational Change Management Volume 1

Framework 37 DICE

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Currently most transformations fail

Organisations need to focus on both the soft (culture, leadership, motivation, etc) and hard aspects in change management. There are 3 distinct characteristics of the hard aspect:

i. easy to measure (direct and indirect ways)

ii. easy to communicate to all stakeholders

iii. quick impact (time to complete, number of people involved and results intended)

There are 4 critical elements:

i. project duration (especially the time between project reviews)

ii. performance integrity (capability of project teams)

iii. commitment (of senior management and staff that change will impact on)

iv. staff effort (extra required to cope with the change)

DICE framework stands for Duration, Integrity, Commitment and Effort

i) Project duration

There is a perception that the longer a change initiative takes, the more chance it has of failing, ie early impetus will disappear, windows of opportunity will close, objectives will be forgotten, key supporters will leave or their enthusiasm wane, problems will accumulate, etc.. On the other hand, if the project is regularly reviewed, it is more than likely to be successful. In other words, the time between reviews is more critical for success than a project's lifespan. It has been found that the likelihood that a change initiative will experience trouble rises exponentially when the time between reviews exceeds eight weeks; complex projects should be reviewed fortnightly. The best ways to review are to schedule milestones and assess, ie identify gaps and spot new risks. The most effective milestones are those that describe major actions or achievements rather than day-to-day activities. The review of these milestones is done formally and includes identifying any problems faced in reaching the milestones and how the achievements will impact the next phase of the project. Furthermore, senior executives need to pay special attention to the dynamics within the team and changes in organisational perceptions about the initiative.

ii) Integrity

The success of any change program depends upon the quality of the people involved. In successful change implementation programs, staff members are willing to ensure that both their daily jobs and the change program are completed successfully. To facilitate this, project members need to understand their roles, commitments and accountabilities, etc in the change project. There needs to be flexibility to handle the unexpected. Furthermore, senior management needs to support the team and provide adequate resources.

The ideal team leader has good problem-solving skills but is tolerant of ambiguities; is organisationally savvy; is willing to accept responsibility for decisions; and is highly motivated but doesn't crave the limelight.

iii) Commitment

The 2 important groups in a change initiative are the influential senior executives and the people who are at the coal face. The latter have to deal with the impacts of the new change program.

Senior executives need to be communicating the change initiative at least 3 times more than they feel that they need to. Sometimes senior executives are hesitant to talk about the change initiative as they fear a negative impact on staff's jobs and lives. However, if communications are too late or inconsistent, staff can become disillusioned about the change initiative. Unless the senior executives are regularly communicating the need for change and what it means to their staff, staff will not commit themselves to the change initiative.

iv) Effort

Change initiatives require extra effort in addition to the day-to-day responsibilities of staff. Ideally no-one's workload should increase by more than 10 percent. Go beyond this and the initiative will probably run into trouble; resources become over-stretched, compromises are required that can have negative impacts on the change initiative and/or normal operations, conflict levels rise, etc. Sometimes there is a need to take staff away from regular work so that they can perform key roles in the change initiative.


Questions to determine the status of the DICE framework (duration, integrity, commitment and effort)


- do formal project reviews occur regularly?

- if the project will take more than two months to complete, what is the optimum average time between reviews?

Integrity of performance

- is the team leader capable?

- how strong are team members' skills and motivations?

- do they have sufficient time to spend on the change initiative?

Commitment (senior staff)

- do senior executives regularly communicate the reason for the change and the importance of its success?

- is the message convincing?

- is the message consistent, both across the top management team and other?

- has top management devoted enough resources to the change program?

Commitment (rest of staff)

- do the employees most affected by the change understand the reasons for it and believe it's worthwhile?

- are they enthusiastic and supportive or worried and obstructive?


- what is the percentage of increased effort that employees must invest to implement the change effort?

- does the incremental effort come on top of a heavy workload?

- have people strongly resisted the increased demands?

(source: Harold Sirkin, et al, 2005)


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