Change Management Is Impossible Without a Process

Author: Bryan Ritchie

I have worked with hundreds of high level business and other organizational leaders who desired to make a change in their organization. Strategically the changes were usually well thought out and reasonable. But the objectives of their desired changes went unmet far more often than one would assume given the great desire the leader initially showed to accomplish their objective. Why the lack of positive change? Because there was no process to effectuate change management. Without a process, change management fails!

In so many cases I’ve observed, the leader believes that once strategically crafted and communicated, execution of objectives will happen naturally. But, as I’ve written before, change is hard. Without a strong framework and process to guide behaviors and channel energy, efforts to change won’t escape the gravity of the status quo.

Think what is needed for change to happen:

  • People need to know what change is desired
  • People need to understand what they have to do to effectuate change
  • People have to have the needed skills to do the new behaviors
  • People need to be accountable to do the new behaviors
  • People need to see progress

What process will you use to make your desired change happen? Whether it’s Lean Six Sigma, Agile, 4 Disciplines of Execution, or SPORT, you need a process to implement organizational change.

Change management processes like the ones mentioned above can address the weaknesses in implementing change in the following ways (and in the following order):

  1. Apply iterative and focused thinking to identify desired outcomes
  2. Apply iterative and focused thinking to devise a strategy to achieve the desired outcomes
  3. Provide a mechanism to communicate the desired outcomes and strategy to all team members in an organization
  4. Provide a process to deconstruct strategic intent into sub-goals and, most importantly, key performance activities (KPAs) at every level of the organization
  5. Give clarity to methods of scoring progress
  6. Create a template and methodology for holding all teams in the organization accountable for their specified KPAs

Notice that each of the benefits of a strong change management process address exactly the problems that bedevil the implementation of new change initiatives. Without a strong process the change organizations desire usually flounders on the shoals of poor execution.

Implementing a change management process is not easy and requires great energy and focus from the senior leadership team. Efforts to define strategic intent, deconstruct that intent into behaviors at every level and then to score and hold accountable all players while also working to build team strength is not an easy task! Yet without a structured effort to work ON the business rather than just IN the business, successful change management will likely elude the organization.

Which process should you use? It depends on what you’re trying to accomplish. All have their strengths. Lean Six Sigma is excellent at achieving incremental process improvement. Agile excels at project management achievement. 4DX is a wonderful process for executing on important initiatives outside of the day-to-day operations. The SPORT methodology’s strength is its ability to coordinate and manage multiple processes, including the three mentioned here, at many places in the organization. Whatever you choose to use, it’s the application of the process that will lead to change.

Bryan Ritchie and James Western are co-founders of GrowthSPORT, a successful consulting company whose mission is to improve SCORES (Stimulate Culture, Optimize Results and Engage Staff) for Teams, Divisions, Departments and Organizations through the SPORT model (Strategic Alignment, Personnel Performance, Operational Execution, Results Accountability and Team Strength), which are the Five Core Elements of Success.

GrowthSPORT provides resources, tools and experienced consultants to effectively implement the SPORT performance model from companies ranging from Startups to Fortune 500 companies.

Feel free to reach out to GrowthSPORT at (801) 676-2500 or at


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