We are pleased to offer the following Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) and their answers to share insights about how ChangeSmith has contributed to the success of healthy leaders and their organizations.
What does ChangeSmith do?
ChangeSmith helps leaders to improve the Organizational Health of their team so that delivery of products and services can be done more efficiently and effectively resulting in better business outcomes. We achieve this through consulting, team coaching, training, coaching, and facilitation.
We don’t have much experience with Organizational Health… can you offer a taste like at the Ice Cream shoppe?
CERTAINLY! We’re happy to host a quick discussion at no charge to learn more about you and potential challenges to the health of your organization. We often customize solutions that might not be obviously available just from our website or social media. We’re also happy to offer some spot reactions about how our experiences and / or capabilities might be useful so that you can make an informed decision about what makes the most sense for you, your team, and your organization.
What is Organizational Health?
Beyond the formal definition on our homepage, Organizational Health refers to the extent to which the remarkable experience of people contributes to the successful pursuit of shared organizational outcomes. Its about the capacity to put people first, empower them to authentically and intentionally perform, and realize the differentiating benefits to the bottom line.
What types of organizations benefit from Organizational Health?
Organizational Health is business type agnostic. Any organization that can be impacted by fluctuations in the performance of people. Our clients frequently see 5-10% higher performance levels among leaders and team members impacted by our services. ChangeSmith client relationships represent the commercial, association, and federal government markets. We have also supported not-for-profit clients and in certain circumstances have offered our services on a pro-bono basis.
How do we know if your organization is “healthy”?
Much like a physician would conduct a physical to assess a person’s health, ChangeSmith works with our client organizations and leadership to assess the likelihood and impact of various factors that put health at risk. We particularly look at behaviors related to cohesiveness and clarity, and assess the gap between potential and realized impact.
With a name like “ChangeSmith,” does ChangeSmith only do organizational change management work?
Well, no and yes. Change with a capital “C” is about influencing people behaviors which is fundamental to continuous improvement and sits firmly in the wheelhouse of the change, culture, and leadership initiatives we pursue collaboratively with our client leaders. Back in 2015, we initiatively pursued “change work”, which made sense given our deep OCM expertise. But we quickly realized that it was exceedingly difficult to make change without a culture capable of encouraging the right behaviors, and that nothing was going to happen without the leadership capacity to prioritize those behaviors in a sustainable way. And so we discovered ourselves - an Organizational Health firm with Change in our DNA.
Organizational Health looks like a no-brainer… Why is it hard to be healthy?
There’s an old adage that says, ‘what gets measured gets done.’ In most organizations, the overwhelming majority of behaviors that are measured, and thus encouraged, are operational (or Smart) in nature. Healthy (or aspirational) behaviors are too often complimentary, lower priorities, or not even measured. IT IS NOT HARD to be healthy… but when organizations hesitate and resist measuring health as a priority, it is logical then that leaders would prioritize those other behaviors for which they ARE held accountable. This sets the tone for the entire organization - an unhealthy posture from which it is hard to recover. It is in that posture where it becomes hard to be healthy.
With what types of professionals might ChangeSmith clients collaborate during a typical engagement?
The ChangeSmith team is made up of highly experienced management consultants, executive coaches, HR generalists, and facilitators.
How do client organizations invest in ChangeSmith solutions?
Most of our clients tend to be first-time buyers of Organizational Health services, which means that comparison shopping can be difficult. It is rare that our consultants are deployed on an hourly rate (unless it is absolutely necessary, like in some Federal government work). Rather, we work with our clients to quantify the impacts of realized and not yet realized Organizational Health risks, and the impact to your organization of ChangeSmith collaborating with you to mitigate those risks. 99% of the time, our fees represent a fraction of the value that ChangeSmith’s collaboration, insights, and influence would represent to your bottom line.
In practical terms, what might ChangeSmith practitioners actually do during an engagement?
We have played many different roles based on the needs of our clients, but here are some examples that seem to repeat:
Client has a major business transformation initiative. ChangeSmith plays the role of the change advisor or change architect, collaborating with client leadership to ensure that people are encouraged, influenced, and given the tools and circumstances they need to behave in a way that is consistent with the expected outcomes of the business transformation. In this capacity, we serve as the eyes and ears for the client to ensure the technical and implementation consultants continue to prioritize the people change elements of the initiative.
Client has an interest in human capital development and skill building, but perhaps isn’t sure exactly what makes sense. ChangeSmith works with leadership to assess gaps in the alignment of purpose, strategy, and vision to see what developmental areas might have the biggest impacts. ChangeSmith will often leverage both market-leading facilitated solutions with custom facilitated solutions to deliver an experience that sustainably builds skill and capacity, and reinforces the cohesion and clarity of the team.
Client doesn’t necessarily have a problem, but she or he “feels” like things aren’t moving as efficiently and effectively as they should. ChangeSmith engages in a consulting role or a team coaching role, or a combination of both to best understand the cultural norms, mindsets, and behaviors that characterize the environment in which the work is done. It is nearly impossible for client leaders to self-assess in this capacity, but ChangeSmith can readily offer insights and recommendations. We can then design and deliver high-touch solutions to pursue the efficiency and effectiveness that the team seeks and deserves. In this capacity, one executive client called us her “Culture Conscience,” which we kind of liked.
We are happy to offer other case studies at your request.
With whom would ChangeSmith engage within a client organization?
Our clients are almost exclusively C-suite executives and leaders who share in the responsibility for the people experience in the organization. We do not replace or substitute our client organization HR professionals, rather we compliment organizational thought leaders and collaborate in making our external perspective available to better align strategy and culture, and improve Organizational Health. Our most successful relationships are characterized by a trusted advisor status with our client HR leaders.
What is the typical duration of a ChangeSmith engagement?
ChangeSmith professionals are often far more available to our clients executives than our client executives are to us. Our approach to developing familiarity and insights, data collection and validation, planning, recommendations, design, delivery, and measurement will generally involve three - twelve months. We can be very creative about advancing our Organizational Health initiatives while our clients are completing their operational work. The value we provide is in the customization of the approach, the increase in capacity, and the sustainability of the behaviors meant to advance the Organizational Health. We appreciate that our clients have a business to run - how long it takes to get there is almost always up to our clients.
What are some clear signs that our organization might be Unhealthy?
We have identified the following seven deadly sins of Organizational Health. Organizations and leaders who are either experiencing or at risk of experiencing these would benefit from the expert perspective of an Organizational Health like ChangeSmith:
Betraying organizational purpose
Tolerating a dysfunctional leadership team
Changing structures / processes instead of behaviors
Failing to build change capacity
Breaking the strategy / culture alignment
Resisting transparency in communications
Neglecting to assess and measure the right behaviors
If you are not sure about whether you are experiencing or at right of experience one of these, or something related, we can help you figure that out.
Even highly-experienced leaders struggle with people behaviors for four main reasons:
Organizations do not consistently measure these behaviors, which suggests that they are not a priority,
Leaders are often far too close to the challenges to have the perspective to effectively and sustainably influence behavior change,
Too many leaders lack the time and the capacity to perform the root cause analysis required to understand why people behave as they do, and
Organizations continue to promote people into leadership roles for demonstrating remarkable aptitude in some competency other than leadership, and these individuals miss out on the skills and tools that people expect in their leaders.
More than one executive has said to us something along these lines - "If we can’t get our teams to work better together ourselves, we should be fired because we are not doing our jobs." Well, we don’t want to see leaders get fired… we want to see them be HEALTHIER!
Healthy leadership creates the conditions for continued and sustainable high performance, and it sows the seeds for more healthy leaders to be developed.
The very best reason to work with ChangeSmith is because savvy, purposeful, healthy leaders find it far more attractive to invest in our Organizational Health services, than to suffer the dysfunction and costs related to poor Organizational Health.
What is the significance of the butterfly?
A butterfly is a classic symbol of change, of progress, and of transformation. The butterfly represents a transition to something more agile, more efficient, more unique, and more beautiful. In our case, there is also a second meaning. Our founding was influenced by a young girl. Her life was characterized by transformation and courage, and her favorite color was pink.
We are pleased to consider other questions and to add to this list of FAQs. Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.