Organisational Change Management Volume 2

Measurement of the 3 Distinct Phases of Learning Initiative for Transitional Team

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The conventional way to assess organisational performance is to use a process stressing short-term financial indicators. It involves

. collecting the data (the amount spent and quantifiable benefits)

. plugging into formulas (perhaps return on investment, cash flow, internal rate of return).

This produces a quick, quantifiable judgment and often is misleading and undermines the learning efforts. On the other hand, there are complex, long-term links between learning and business performance. Any assessment strategy needs to somehow indicate, through short-term measures, that the organisation is on the road to improving profitability in the long-term.

Furthermore, there is a need to go beyond the conventions of additional financial analysis. How can we measure diversity, employee satisfaction, morale, personal change, motivation, commitment, ownership and resistance to change? Sometimes these are referred to as "un-measurables".

One way to do this is described in the following chart which will help distinguish the cause-and-effect relationships between learning efforts (input), actual new capabilities and skills (output), and the visible results produced

organisational development change management

The table helps answer the question: How can you prove that these "noticeable results" had anything to do with your training efforts?

Comments on the Learning Initiative

. Phase 1 ‐ Learning Process

It begins with a new "intervention" that aims for "noticeable business results" (see top right hand corner of the table). Start training sessions. Then, it is necessary to develop criteria for assessment that engender "buy-in" by the team and senior management. To help develop the assessment criteria, consider the following questions, ie

- How are we going, as far as achieving objectives, tracking organisational drivers, critical variables, etc?

- How will we judge success, ie what type of new behaviour is desirable?

- What is the time-frame to assess progress and success?

- What are the dangers and opportunities in achieving success?

This phase becomes part of the transition team's innate capabilities, and reinforces/accelerates the team's/organisation's improvement.

In determining the type of data collected to assess performance of the transitional team (such as cost of training, the time spent in training, etc), the following questions will help

- Why should we collect this particular data?

- What do we expect it to show?

- What assumptions are embedded in it?

. Phase 2 - Deliberate Intermediate Changes

Start applying the new skills. This phase includes a shift in business practice and training continues. Staff begin to act differently, ie building relationships with key suppliers, improving time management, etc. Staff are starting to think more creatively and speak more candidly, with open inquiry about difficult issues and treatment of people with dignity and respect, and having conversations that are effective and have consideration of the staff as a community

. Phase 3 - Diffusion and Extension of Decision-Making

The attitude of "business as usual" has changed, ie the emphasis within the team/organisation has shifted from concentrating on the skills learnt to focusing on the results they can produce. New methods start filtering through the organisation. Now is the time to reassess the criteria for success, ie continue to stretch staff. Maximising staff input into reassessing the criteria for success will maximise "buy-in" from staff

The solid black arrows represent 5 different documented relationships that over the project's life allow a generic way of testing the progress of activities.

. Assessment A ‐ see box on the chart

During Phase 1, assess the link between the learning process and new skills, by asking people to rate their own improvement when they return from training.

. Assessment B ‐ see box on the chart

Track the number of new innovations and activities within the trained group against those staff who have not been exposed to new training

. Assessment C ‐ see box on the chart

From Phase 2, measure the impact of new behaviours by looking for observable behavioural indicators and applying these questions:

- Do people report that their meetings are more productive?

- Is decision-making happening in a more collaborative fashion?

- Is there less of a "blame culture"/"us and them" attitude?

- Can staff distinguish their observations from their interpretations?

- Do staff really seek to understand one another's points of view, especially in moments of stress?

- How would we know if it was making a positive difference?

- Can a team/organisation conduct candid "after-action reviews" or debriefings?

. Assessment D ‐ see box on the chart

Trace the influence of trained group(s) on the work of the organisation, ie new areas of innovation, delegation of decision-making, etc

. Assessment E ‐ see box on the chart

Identify "noticeable results". This approach allows for a reliable set of measurements as part of the assessment. Furthermore, this is an evaluation without being judgmental

Some other comments

. Learning efforts depend upon good performance measurement, ie need to monitor progress towards goals and how progress affects other actions

. Measurement is meaningless without interpretation and judgment - be careful of a tacit "measurement mindset" that treats measurement and judgments as synonymous. There is a need to consider the issues behind the numbers, ie where they came from, how measured, and why chosen.

(sources: George Roth, 1999; David Meador, 1999)


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