Change readiness was initially defined as ‘the cognitive precursor to the behaviours of either resistance to, or support for a change effort’ (Armenakis, Harris and Mossholder, 1993, p.681). Today the construct at least at a practical level has come to include considerations of organisational support as well, so not just “will they”, but also “can they” (eg do they have the skills, knowledge, resources, training, infrastructure, assets).
You can have all the will in the world and be emotionally and intellectually supportive of change, but without the resources, structure and capability you are simply not change ready.
From the work we do with clients we see there are 12 very clear factors that tell you if you are ready for agile transformation.
- Is there a critical mass of executives who have embraced an agile mindset?
- Is the rationale for “going agile” clearly aligned with the company strategy
- Do the majority of middle managers know how increased agility will benefit them personally.
- Have you got the structure that will support increased agility?
- Does the organisational culture reflect values that are compatible with the agile manifesto?
- Has each functional area identified a target state that represents increased agility and is of value to them?
- Do you have sufficient specialists with deep expertise to guide and coach your leaders and managers (agile coaches, agile change managers)
- Have you aligned the future performance framework with the behavours that support agility
- Have you identified metrics that make sense to people and are achievable in making the shift to agile
- Have you built a sufficient level of baseline change capability to absorb the changes that will come along with this program
- Have you got the collaborative tools that will enable the conversations that come about in agile transformation
- Have you got the feedback loops in the organisational system that will give you data on your progress
The journey toward change readiness, especially in the context of agile transformation, demands a holistic approach. As Armenakis, Harris, and Mossholder (1993) originally highlighted, it’s not just a matter of will but also a question of capability. Without the necessary resources, structure, and skills, even the most fervent support for change can fall short. The twelve factors we’ve explored – from executive buy-in to collaborative tools and feedback loops – serve as a comprehensive checklist for assessing an organization’s readiness for agile transformation. Let us know how they work for you!