An Integrated Approach to Change

Victor and Franckeiss, experts in change management, introduced a model of change called “The Five Dimensions of Change” in 2002. This post is a summary of their article.

Change management does not follow a neat line from start to finish. In fact, while an organization is going through planning for change, it is also dealing with change at all management levels. Due to this dynamic environment, a cyclical model is necessary to understand and evolve toward successful change practices.

Although the model set forth by the authors is similar to the 5 stage O.D. processes discussed in module two, there is an important enhancement. The process is directed to organizations and gives them more direction on how to institute comprehensive, integrated, change.

The Five Dimensions of Change

D1 – Direct

This stage ensures the overall direction and purposes of the business. At this stage, the organization should consider their vision, mission, and value statements in relation to the external business environment. The resulting strategies should be well defined and communicated to all stakeholders to ensure they are internalized.

D2 – Describe

At this stage management is responsible for translating the aspirational statements defined in stage one into strategies (or plans of action) for achieving goals. The strategies need to be customized to the functional level, with the vision in mind. Victor and Franckeiss assert that there are four principle strategies that ensure integration of constancy of purpose and consistency of approach.

  1. Resource strategy—the design and structure of the business and HR planning
  2. Performance management strategy – ensures that all  functions, teams, and individuals understand their roles and requirements
  3. Reward strategy – pay structure, benefits, and bonuses that are in-line with the company’s vision
  4. Communications strategy – internal and external communication, employee relations, employee attitude surveys

D3 – Define

This is the part that is less glamorous, but critical to the success of change efforts. Defining involves business processes, policies and procedures that support business strategies. Clear and straightforward communication helps ensure that the organization doesn’t slide back into old ways.

D4 – Deliver

Now it’s time to deliver the change consistently as defined in the preceding sections. At this point, managing by example is essential. The management team must consistently demonstrate the behaviors expected of employees during and after the change in order to ensure them that the changes are sincere and there to stay. Any inconsistency can be exploited by those resistant to the changes. All employees must understand what behaviors are expected and successes should be defined and measured to reinforce the changes.

D5 – Develop

The fifth stage is about more than evaluating and feedback, it’s about keeping the communication system open. This stage presents the opportunity for continuous learning. Feedback should come not only from internal processes, but from the external environment through such common analyses as SWOT and PEST. If the environment warrants it, it’s time to start the process again.

As evidenced by this process, communication and leadership are critical characteristics to successful change processes.

Victor, P., & Franckeiss, A. (2002). The five dimensions of change: an integrated approach to strategic organizational change management. Strategic Change, 11(1), 35-42. doi:10.1002/jsc.567.

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