The Pink Elephant 20/20 Change Model
Over the years, many experts specializing in organizational development have published change models describing how to implement changes, lead or manage a change project or transform teams and organizations. Some such models include the ITIL® continual improvement model, Lewin’s Three-Stage Model, Deming’s Plan-Do- Check-Act Model, Professor Kotter’s Eight-Step Change Model and the European Foundation For Quality Management’s (EFQM) Performance Management Model.
Although these various models have worked well, the thought leaders and industry experts at Pink Elephant realized there was something missing – especially in terms of the relevance to IT. Using what all these models teach us, and our over 40 years of training and consulting experiences, we have developed the “Pink Elephant 20/20 Change Model”, which I will outline in this post.
The Need For A New Model
Pink Elephant’s mission is knowledge translated into results, and over the years we’ve recognized that giving people knowledge about best practices or new practices is the easy part – it’s written down and relatively easy to explain. The bigger challenge is how should people use these practices – implement, manage and work with them – to get positive benefits for the organization?
When we examined the existing change models, it became obvious there was often a lack of connection between the proposed change initiative and what the business was trying to accomplish. This is something that is often bypassed. You can only make a good decision if you’re aware of the business objectives. Before formulating the objectives for a project or department, you need to have a clear understanding of what the business is trying to accomplish. This will guide you, help you stay on track and deliver value.
This is where Pink Elephant’s 20/20 Change Model comes in, providing organizations and individuals with a sharper focus on what needs to be done when implementing a change initiative.
One of the major differences between traditional change models and the new 20/20 Change Model is that the latter clarifies objectives on two levels. The first is, of course, the initial objective of the specific project that the individual, team or department wants to introduce. The second – and most important thing to understand – is that this initiative needs to align with the over-arching business’ objectives.
For example, if you’re in IT and a tool for capturing information at the service desk needs to be replaced because it’s lacking the latest functionality, or isn’t supported anymore, or doesn’t reflect the best practices your organization has adopted – you may decide to acquire a new tool. And so, you take the necessary steps to do so.
The 20/20 Change Model requires that before taking any action, you first clarify your organization’s business objectives. Current priorities, financial climate feasibility, strategic initiatives, etc should all be taken into consideration before launching into a new change initiative. Connecting all activities to the business’s goals will help keep you on track with achieving your objectives.
Another step that the 20/20 Change Model requires is that the change should go beyond simply achieving a goal – it should become embedded within the culture and practices of the organization. For instance, building upon the earlier example of a new service desk tool, once it’s determined that the new tool aligns with the current objectives of the business and is purchased and implemented, there is another question to ask. Have the organization’s processes, practices and culture adjusted so that the new tool is adopted, adapted and optimally utilized?
Here are the four phases of Pink Elephant’s 20/20 Change Model, along with a sampling of actions contained within each:
Phase I – Clarify & Align
Every change initiative should begin with “What are our objectives?” Pinpoint the business objectives that your project or team needs to align with, determine what needs to be done to realize these objectives and whether it is worthwhile to undertake this project right now.
In this phase you should also identify how this project will move the organization closer to achieving its business objectives – an activity that also will make clear how near/far your team’s objectives are from those of the business.
Phase II – Plan & Approach
This is really the thinking and planning stage, where you get into the nitty gritty of how you achieve your vision. Determine the various steps that need to be taken to implement this change, including what needs to be done and by who and with which resources to implement this change.
A key factor in this stage is deciding an appropriate methodology, e.g. an Agile approach of iterative changes that breaks things up into bite-sized, short-term wins. As you proceed, continually validate progress with the customer to ensure you’re on the right track.
Phase III – Engage & Implement
As the name suggests, Phase III is about getting the work done to implement the change, but equally is about engaging with individuals affected by the change. Determine how to engage with your people and consequently to empower them with everything they need to get the job done. As well as to accept and adapt to the change. One of the ways to do this is to ensure there is frequent, concise and clear communication, including opportunities for two-way communications. Remember, as a leader your job is to help others achieve their goals.
Phase IV – Validate & Sustain
“Have we achieved what we set out to do?” is the leading question in Phase IV. You can help answer this question by:
- Identifying key performance indicators at the outset, and then validating they are being achieved as you proceed
- Observing the impact of the change on customers and business goals
- Observing if employees are:
- Truly committed to the permanence of the change?
- Working in a different, more efficient way?
- Motivated to build on the change through additional improvements and benefits?
When you look at all the models we referred to earlier – everything that is described in other models has a place in this one, but we describe it in a relatively simple way. The 20/20 Change Model is also scalable, allows organizations to scale change, whether it’s an organization-wide change or a change within a team of only two.
We believe Pink Elephant’s new 20/20 Change Model can help your organization not just envision, but also plan, implement and carry out your desired transformations.