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What is a Change Readiness Assessment?
You may have noticed that some changes we make appear relatively easy, whilst others are somewhat more challenging, even seemingly impossible. If, like most of us, you’ve tried shedding a few pounds (or kilos) at some point in your life, you may have found that avoiding the things you like isn’t quite so easy in practice as you may have thought.
On the other hand if we take up a new hobby, or do something that we’re really excited about, we may feel that we can’t leave it alone. It doesn’t feel like we’re making an effort, even if we’re giving up something else to fit it into our schedule. Somehow we just make it work.
How we feel about a change is unique to each of us
How we feel about any change is a very personal experience and will be different for each of us, depending upon our own unique circumstances. These circumstances may be down to our own values and preferences, our beliefs about the world or beliefs about ourselves. They may also be situational and related to things that are going on in our life in that moment.
Try asking those around you whether they like change. Such a simple question and yet I’ve found it always leads to many different responses and will almost certainly spawn conversations about their own unique experiences. The answer for almost all of us is: “it depends”. Each of us is completely unique and so it follows that our response to a change will be specific to us individually.
Change engagement is primarily an emotional process
The extent to which we truly engage in a change is directly linked to how we feel about it. Whether we are aware or not, this is mostly emotional. Think about those big changes you have made in your life and how you felt about them. Something drove you to make them.
Think about it, if change was a rationally driven decision, we’d all eat the right food, exercise according to the recommended guidelines, we’d live in houses and drive cars that function exactly to the needs of our lifestyle at the most economical price, regardless of what they look like. But life isn’t like that and we’re not like that (at least most of us anyway).
Consider those changes you’ve been involved in or have made throughout your life, maybe something at work. Consider for a moment how you felt about it and how that in turn drove your behaviours towards it. Did you find yourself really engaged and pushing it, despite any obstacles? Or were you more passive, even resistant to it? Maybe if I lay low, the whole thing will just blow over? You won’t be the first to have had that thought!
So we know from our own experience that the extent to which we engage in a change is directly correlated to the likelihood of a successful outcome. And we know that engagement is both emotionally driven and unique to each of us. Acknowledgement of this truth is the foundation of successful change outcomes, whether it’s a personal change, a change at work or a global change. And yet it’s an area that’s paid far too little attention in the vast majority of changes and in some cases it’s missed completely.
Why use a Change Readiness Assessment tool?
A change readiness tool allows you to quickly and easily capture the opinions and perspectives from a broad, representative group of stakeholders.
The tool does the hard work for you of running the process from survey (using an easy online link) to displaying results and highlighting underlying themes and trends. It captures participant responses and applies the latest science and best practice to give a point in time benchmark of how the group is perceiving the change using the framework discussed above.
It allows you to focus on the underlying themes that, if addressed, will improve the target group’s feelings towards a change and therefore their likelihood of engaging in it. It brings a clarity, objectivity and honesty to what can otherwise become a very subjective and often anecdotal assessment.
The change readiness tool is designed run alongside your change management initiatives, allowing you to see how well the planned changes are being received by your target group and, importantly, you can track your progress over time.
You can continually measure progress, safe in the knowledge that as you move the scores up your chances of a good outcome and pace increases significantly.
How do we measure Change Readiness?
Given that our experience of change is unique and that our engagement in it is directly related to how we feel about it then it follows that we need a way to assess our change readiness.
In association with University of West of England (UWE) Psychological Sciences team, we’ve pulled together the latest research, drawn from the popular change management and combined with decades of practical experience. We’ve found that, regardless of the nature of the change, there are 5 key themes upon which we need to focus our attention:
- Our strength of motivation to change
- How well we’re dealing with any perceived obstacles working against our ability or desire to change
- How achievable it feels. Can we see how we’ll get there and what progress we’re making?
- Our ability to make the changes stick for the long term. Are we paying attention to forming the required new long term habits and behaviours?
- The extent to which we are continually assessing, reflecting and adapting as needed. Are we doing that with honesty, a sense of curiosity and an awareness of any biases?
The extent to which we can score highly on each of these themes is proven by the research to correlate very strongly to both the quality and the speed of change outcomes.
With the help of our UWE partners we’ve broken these themes into a number of specific areas of focus and developed psychometrically validated questions and algorithms that are used to assess where each stakeholder is on the scale and therefore what we can do to move the needle in the right direction. This measured approach is unique.
Read more about the 5 themes or try one of our quick and easy surveys to see how ready you are, choose from either a change at work or a personal change.