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How to upgrade your change work to be more strategic

A manager recently complained to me that her team of Change Managers are quite tactical and not particularly strategic. She mentioned that her goal is to build a team that carries out high impact, valuable work that has significant impact on the business, and more than just a pair of hands to do work. Sounds familiar?


Is your change work tactical or strategic? If it is tactical is there a way to become more strategic? Let’s start by outlining common Change work and where they fall within the strategic continuum.



Level 1 is concerned with basic change delivery work. This includes the basics of conducting impact assessment, developing a change plan, and executing on communication, stakeholder engagement and training to impacted parties. The bulk of project based and BAU business change work are in this category.


Level 2 is about planning for change across different changes. This includes planning across the whole change portfolio, and establishing a heat map report and other change analytics that provides insights for business planning. Other activities also include supporting and developing change leaders through coaching and development. It also includes work on establishing appropriate change methodologies, tools and standards determining what change techniques may be applied in what setting.


Level 3 is about holistically driving the business strategy. This may include work such as establishing business-focused (vs. project focused) governance to make decisions on change. It could also include work on business operating model, and strategic execution approach. At the most strategic level, change data is collected and analysed to support decision making, in a way that links directly with business performance. Change leadership to drive successful strategy execution across multiple initiatives is also a key part of this level.


So how does one move up the chain of the strategic ladder? The above diagram illustrates common change activities to focus on in moving up the continuum. However, the practitioner also needs to understand the company’s business needs in delivering its strategy and thereby focus change activities accordingly.


Key questions to consider include:

  • What capabilities or gaps does your organization have in implementing its strategy?
  • Are you focused on what is best for the organization or what is best for your initiative? (even if your remit is on one project, you can still demonstrate capacity to support the organization)
  • Have you taken into account tactics to drive change maturity in the organization as you deliver change?
  • Are you leveraging change analytics to be positioned appropriately with senior stakeholders? (vs. using assertions or anecdotal info)

If you have examples of organizations that are clearly well into Level 3 we would love to hear from you. Or, if you would like to learn how to move up into Level 3 – we would also love to hear from you! Through using The Change Compass some of our clients are accelerating into Level 3 by arming themselves with robust change analytics to drive strategy and business decision making. Talk to us to find out more.



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