Chart the Path to Resilient Organizational Change Capability

Start with the organizational change capability maturity assessment from LaMarsh Global


The introduction of change management at an organization often follows this narrative:

An organization is preparing for a new project or change that is expected to have an impact on its employees and stakeholders. Perhaps previous changes of similar nature did not go as expected, or perhaps the initiative must be successful and any potential or perceived impacts need to be mitigated.


Teams are trained in a change management methodology, or experts are brought in to develop and implement a change plan. For future projects, change management is a tool that is considered to manage risks and contribute to success.

This story often continues with the progressive improvement of change management capability across the organization. Consistent practices are established, and a change management methodology is applied to more and more projects.

Organizational change capability is the ability to plan, design and implement all types of change. Not only is there effective use of a methodology, but change management is embedded within the organization’s culture and integral to business decisions.

Understanding where your organization is on this journey will make it more clear what next steps to take to achieve resilient change capability.


Two paths to organizational change capability

Organizations that are change capable are ready and willing to change. There are not only systems and processes in place to facilitate effective change, but change management is an element of the organization’s culture.

The foundation of organizational change capability are three features:

  1. Leadership commitment
  2. The strategic decision to strive for change capability
  3. Ongoing development of change proficiency

In addition, a change plan and acceptance that the journey requires time and ongoing effort are essential to achieve transformational capability.


To achieve self-sustaining change capability, organizations tend to take one of two paths:

  1. Impromptu route
  2. Deliberate and strategic route

Impromptu route to change capability

A change capable organization isn’t the intended destination but rather a positive by-product of the path selected. Change management proficiency is progressively introduced and matured across the organization because it contributes to desired outcomes, but the journey to self-sustaining change capability is indirect and the destination is nearly impossible to arrive at.

Deliberate and strategic route to change capability

A change capable organization is the intended destination. It is a strategic business decision and appropriate resources, plans and time are allocated. The journey to self-sustaining change capability is a change project in itself.


Stages of organizational change capability

As organizations develop their change capability, they pass through five stages of maturity.

  1. Exploring
  2. Repeating
  3. Defining
  4. Managing
  5. Optimizing


Stage 1: Exploring

  • Little or no application of change management
  • Little or no training
  • Leaders are judging value
  • Success depends on individual efforts and is not repeatable

Stage 2: Repeating

  • Some application of change management
  • Some training
  • Basic processes, roles and responsibilities are being established
  • Success can be repeated

Stage 3: Defining

  • The same change management methodology is being used on multiple projects
  • Leaders are beginning to expect change management to be applied to projects
  • Processes are standardized with attention to documentation and integration

Stage 4: Managing

  • Change management standards have been deployed throughout the organization
  • Ongoing data collection and evaluation
  • Processes are monitored and controlled

Stage 5: Optimizing

  • Change management competency is evident throughout the organization
  • Change management is an element of the organization’s culture
  • Processes are constantly being improved


Determine your organization’s maturity

Although the five stages of change capability maturity are linear, the reality is that organizations will mature in some aspects of change capability and while remain stagnant in others.

Assessing an organization’s maturity can identify the current stage, but – more importantly – it highlights the individual aspects that are stronger or weaker.

Use the change capability matrix to assess the current state of the organization. These categories are typical aspects of change capability, but each one may not apply to every organization. Also consider additional factors that have an influence on the overall change capability of the organization.


Download the change capability maturity matrix (PDF).


Chart the path towards change capability maturity

The foundation of change capability is leadership commitment and an intentional desired state. See the first steps to developing change capability for a guide on the essential requirements for starting the journey towards change capability maturity.

Following an assessment of the typical aspects of change capability, it will be clear which aspects are weaker and require attention. The goal is to get to Stage 5 in every aspect, but progression will require time, resources, practice and effort.

Overcome common barriers

Every organization has a unique path towards resilient change capability, but there are common barriers on that journey.

Leaders are not committed to change capability

The most important factor of any organizational change – including the transformation to a change capable organization – is the skill and willingness of leaders.

A core aspect of LaMarsh Global’s change management consulting is leadership development, coaching and support so they have the information and resources to lead and commit to critical changes.

Change management is inconsistent and not standardized

Appropriate structure and governance can help change management practitioners focus on their role instead of sourcing, learning and adapting methodologies for the changes at hand.

A Change Management Centre of Excellence can foster and steward effective change management by establishing a structure, dispersing knowledge, delivering learning, monitoring metrics and allocating resources.

There are multiple change management methodologies

Understandably, practitioners rely on the change management methodologies they are familiar with. A priority should be to select, support and adapt a methodology so there are standardized processes, data, expectations and language for all initiatives.

We rely on the Managed Change methodology because it is scalable and adaptable to a wide range of organizational changes.

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Determine the best next steps

When a journey is unfamiliar, a guide will help to avoid challenges and get to the destination quicker. LaMarsh Global delivers one-on-one support to help you assess the status of your organization’s change capability and identify the high-impact next steps.

Get an Expert on Demand to consider the best options for your organization’s change capability.


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