Hire Graham Y. , a brainy Business Trainer from Woking, United Kingdom | Expertbase

Implementing Change Successfully

Quick Summary

A challenge for most managers is to initiate or implement change programmes - and lead people through them, whether in the way they work or what they do. In this, lies one of your major challenges...
Change Management
50
10 min
1856 Words
4.45 K
What you can do to help your people, and the organisations you work in, is powerful and can make a real difference to their success. You have many tools to work with, from key management and leadership skills, principles of many quality programmes, through kaizen and six-sigma to lean thinking, lean processes and agile manufacturing. Although many of you reading this may be experts in one or more of these, how many people within organisations understand them, or the processes behind them? I wonder how this affects the degree of "buy-in"?

The requirement to improve productivity and quality is high on the agenda of most senior management thinking – or at least it should be! Many of the people at these levels are open to change, and even drivers of it. The difficulty is that many people further down the organisation still perceive change as threatening or something negative. As a result, their response to change initiatives is often less than enthusiastic, to put it mildly! Change is necessary in most organisations for a variety of reasons. Maintaining the status quo can lead to stagnation as markets (and customers) move on, competition evolves and changes, and so do other stakeholders. One of the problems with many of the tools listed above is they tend to have something of an internal focus and, therefore, can fail to create the real urgency for change or to engage the people within the organisation to come along with the need to change.

There are two key dimensions to successful, and effective, change initiatives. The organisational rationale and case to fit with the market needs is one. The other is the people part of the equation. Ideally, this involves gaining their commitment, at the very least you want to have their acceptance and compliance. By approaching the first one in the right way, you can increase the chances of bringing people with the process. Looking at the broader picture and reasons you can create a better, more rounded case for change. You can enhance it further by involving more of the personnel in all or part of this process. If people feel they have been part of the evaluation they are likely to be more supportive of any required changes, even more than if they are consulted on the need to change. In this article, we are looking more closely at the organisational analysis aspect rather than handling teams and individuals.

I have worked with some client organisations where they have been undergoing a change or recognised the need to change, using the Denison Organisational Culture tool. Although the model looks at the culture, it has a wide range of applications for using in conjunction with many of the more "standard" organisational development and improvement tools. It can also help to identify the probable financial performance of the organisation!

The first step is to assess the present situation. Just how well is your organisation operating to achieve the current business aims or the planned changes? There are four traits within the model.

You can see that these give a mix of perspectives, external and internal, people and processes. Some organisations are good at one or even two of these and put themselves under threat because the fail to consider the others. One client, a newly merged telecom company had a very clear strategy and plan for what it was going to do over the next three years. It looked very impressive for the stakeholders and shareholders! Additionally, the upper levels of management also thought that the overall mission trait was strong and they were clear about the vision and strategy. The thing they had overlooked was that in the merger their involvement trait had actually diminished as a number of key people had left for a variety of reasons and in general leadership was not paying much attention to the people! They wanted to be very proactive in the market, which needs higher scores in the "adaptability" trait – and they did not have these,

The top team had been planning many of the expected initiatives to create the organisation they wanted in order to move ahead and achieve their strategic aims. Within their more technical areas they wanted to introduce six-sigma or one of the other more serious quality processes. On the marketing, sales and customer service side they were going to invest heavily in a new CRM system and plenty of personal skills training for the front-line. Seemingly all good ideas. Yet, when they started to talk to line managers about these proposals they found varying degrees of resistance. The top team were both confused and frustrated. They were following many of the principles of effective implementation of change – consulting, sharing the vision for the way ahead, being open about the strategy etc. What was getting in the way?

We had been involved with some parts of one of the merging companies carrying out various development projects and were working with the newly formed top team to help them bond together and lead the business forward. We suggested that taking an objective overview of the organisation and finding out what people thought could help to overcome some of the apparent blocks which seemed to be impacting their progress.

We set it up so that a large number of the staff could take part in different functions within the business and across most of their locations. This was to get a breadth of responses, which we considered to be important in a newly merged organisation where two very diverse cultures were coming together. (And this had already contributed to the reasons for a number of the people leaving.) The process involves people completing an on-line instrument which can provide the client with reports for the organisation as a whole, by level, location or function. The choice is the clients.

The senior management of the newly formed company thought they were doing a good job of assessing the possibilities for their strategy and even analysing this information. (The report for their group confirmed this for their level!) However, even they admitted that they did not have a clear process for sharing this knowledge and integrating it with the day to day planning and operations within the organisation. When they saw the reports for the other levels in the organisation they received something of a shock! The scores from the majority of the workforce thought that there was no great sense of a clear strategic direction, because they did not feel that information was being shared and fed down to them! Without going into the scores in the other dimensions, this was a tricky situation which had all of the potential to get considerably worse before it would be better. Would the shareholders and other stakeholders put up with it? The very act of merging was introducing a challenging (and even threatening!) change. As often happens with mergers, the people from one of the organisations felt slightly more comfortable, and positive, about it. Many of those from the other were disillusioned and negative.

We had alerted the top team to the fact that the response might be challenging for them! We also explained that using the information in the right way they would be able to move the business forward with a lot more commitment and support from the workforce. What they received was something similar to this: (these are samples from a dummy organisation and not the real client!)

They could see the percentage ratings from the people across the organisation in each of the traits and the indices within them. The scores from the telecoms company had some similarities to the sample. Their "mission" rating was OK in one index and low in the others. They were also pretty poor in "adaptability" and "involvement" and "consistency". They certainly needed to change – in a number of areas at the same time!.

The next level of detail looks in more detail at each trait. The reports, presented as bar charts, show the weighted responses for each question. Therefore, the client is able to see exactly what the people think. In the case of the telecoms company, one of their primary aims was to generate a strong sense of team and teamworking as a key driver to achieve their new strategy and vision. The problem was that even the overall average score, including the top team, showed that the scores in 4 of the 5 elements of "team orientation" showed less than 15% believed that teamworking was encouraged or important!! I could go on, suffice to say that in many of the 12 main indices, the scores were distinctly worrying!

When we produced the actual reports for the telecom company, drawing attention to these percentage responses to each question, it opened the eyes of the top team. Firstly, it clearly highlighted where there were differences in perception between the top team and others in the organisation. Secondly, it showed the key areas to start to address. Thirdly, and this is where it really helped to get a quick buy-in to the need to change, they were able to present the overall information across the company and explain what it meant and what they wanted to do. In doing this they were able to acknowledge the additional concerns of the personnel of one of the companies in the merger. In sharing the feedback with the staff, the top team were able to be objective and pragmatic in putting across the need for change and what they felt would be involved. Taking this approach, and stressing how it was using input from the staff, meant that there was a more positive reaction from the vast majority. We do not pretend that it was greeted with 100% enthusiasm – some people will resist any change!

From this point, they were able to set up cross-functional and multi-level action teams to address the key items which would begin to make a difference. Setting up a clear communication process enabled sharing of the outcomes across the organisation. Implementing the plans quickly showed the staff that this was serious, non-threatening and could make a more successful organisation. Within a relatively short period of time, processes were in place to address some of the strategy issues and also there was a strong commitment to address the teamworking and personal capability requirements. This led to a sharp reduction in staff turnover and a general improvement in morale and buy-in to the change process. Alongside this, there is still a need to utilise the "normal" change implementation processes and good management practices. By linking them with the information from carrying out the Denison Culture assessment, there was a clearer focus. The communication of the need for change and how it needed to be carried out was much easier because the staff felt more involved as they could see what the ratings were. Oh, and they were able to introduce six-sigma and the new CRM system after a couple of months!

This Article is authored / contributed by ▸ Graham Y. who travels from Woking, United Kingdom. Graham is available for Professional Training Work both Virtually and In-Person. ▸ Enquire Now.

Your Comments

Your thoughts matter to others - more than you can imagine.

More Articles published by Graham

23 Free | Ad-Free | Full-Text Business Papers
More Articles written / submitted by Graham Y.
Success Building

Can Nlp Help Or Harm Your Business?

The simple answer to the above is, "both"! It depends on a number of things. Perhaps the first thing to explore is your reaction to seeing those three ...
50   |   4.84 K   |   15 min
More Articles written / submitted by Graham Y.
Coaching

Coaching Can Get The Boss In Shape

Who tells the boss that they can improve their management or leadership? How do they look at themselves objectively and identify what areas they can improve and the benefits of doing so?
50   |   3.05 K   |   8 min
More Articles written / submitted by Graham Y.
Personal Development

Building Your Personal Resilience To Reduce Stress

A look at why developing greater resilience matters.
60   |   3.3 K   |   7 min
More Articles written / submitted by Graham Y.
Change Management

Encouraging Successful Change

Two key dimensions to successful, and effective, change initiatives
50   |   5.09 K   |   10 min
More Articles written / submitted by Graham Y.
Corporate Culture

Does Your Culture Support Or Sabotage Your Strategy?

When a company's culture is not right with what is needed for strategic success, the culture has to be changed as rapidly as can be managed!
50   |   3.77 K   |   8 min
More Articles written / submitted by Graham Y.
Sales - General

Be A Successful Sales Manager Not A Super Seller!

How many sales teams suffer because their sales manager is not doing their job at the right "level"? Sales figures suffer, sales people suffer and the ...
50   |   3.58 K   |   8 min
More Articles written / submitted by Graham Y.
Sales - General

You May Be Taking The Wrong Approach To Selling!

Are you hitting or beating your sales target or quota? If not, are you blaming the market, the customers or your competition? If you are making your target ...
50   |   2.67 K   |   8 min
More Articles written / submitted by Graham Y.
Health and Fitness

You Think Absenteeism Is A Problem? Worry About Presenteeism!

It is estimated that about 60% of GBP 23bn in lost productivity in the UK is from presenteeism!
50   |   4.35 K   |   6 min
More Articles written / submitted by Graham Y.
Leadership

Why Leadership Matters In Professional Practices

Too many organisations are "over-managed and under-led" to quote Warren Bennis. There is a difference between leadership and management.
50   |   3.73 K   |   7 min
More Articles written / submitted by Graham Y.
Sales - General

Why Do You Need A Sales Process?

The benefits of having a defined sales process
50   |   5.67 K   |   8 min
More Articles written / submitted by Graham Y.
Coaching

Coaching Or Mentoring - Does It Matter Which?

Some differences and grey areas where Coaching or Mentoring overlap
60   |   3.17 K   |   4 min
More Articles written / submitted by Graham Y.
Leadership

Leadership - Do You Use Or Abuse Power?

How do you prefer to "control and influence" others?
417   |   30.59 K   |   6 min
More Articles written / submitted by Graham Y.
Communication

Think Before You Speak!

How many times have you said something and realised that the person, or people, on the receiving end have not fully understood what you meant or headed ...
52   |   5.44 K   |   9 min
More Articles written / submitted by Graham Y.
Stress Management

Manage Stress And Mental Health To Improve Performance

Stress and mental health are not issues which managers should ignore. They cost the organisation money, both directly and indirectly.
50   |   2.84 K   |   6 min
More Articles written / submitted by Graham Y.
Presentation Skills

Presentation Paranoia - Prevention And Cure

Have you had this feeling before? Rest assured you are not alone. You might be one of the many who would rate your fear of public speaking alongside or ...
50   |   14.66 K   |   17 min
More Articles written / submitted by Graham Y.
Stress Management

When Will Organisations Really Take Stress Seriously?

Most organisations and many managers within them are probably aware of the costs and consequences of stress and stress related problems. They may have ...
50   |   2.83 K   |   7 min
More Articles written / submitted by Graham Y.
Sales - General

Sales Success In Tough Time

It is not about having some new magic method for selling, it is about applying the things you have perhaps forgotten.
50   |   3.15 K   |   9 min
More Articles written / submitted by Graham Y.
Sales - Specialised

Is Your Sales Forecast Too Sunny?

How to improve the accuracy of your sales forecasts
50   |   3.44 K   |   9 min
More Articles written / submitted by Graham Y.
Stress Management

Are It People Wimps?

Decent management communication and support, plus personal development for the people can combine to help prevent a lot of the issues which lead to pressure ...
56   |   3.17 K   |   6 min
More Articles written / submitted by Graham Y.
Negotiation Skills, Techniques

Careful What You Cut!

Enhance your negotiation skills to keep afloat in tough times
50   |   2.98 K   |   9 min
More Articles written / submitted by Graham Y.
Sales - General

Ask For More - You May Get More!!

If you are involved with sales, how do you feel when you hear phrases such as, "Can you do anything about your price" or, "You'll have to do better than ...
51   |   3.12 K   |   7 min
More Articles written / submitted by Graham Y.
Personal Development

The Cost Of Stress - The Need To Monitor And Manage The Risks!

Not only are there a lot of potential risks arising from the spread of stress within an organisation, it costs a great deal of money!
50   |   4.03 K   |   10 min
More Articles written / submitted by Graham Y.
Success Building

Who Do You Talk To?

When you are a leader in a business you face a number of challenges at different levels. Ask yourself how much focus you put on to these...
50   |   4.52 K   |   7 min

More 'Change Management' Articles

3 more Articles that may interest you, too...
David B. : The Winds Of Change Are Blowing

The Winds Of Change Are Blowing

We live in a very exciting time of the World's history. Great opportunities abound as innovation is so prolific. Thirty years ago innovation took place once a decade - now it takes place daily.
3.72 K   |   50
Graham Y. : Encouraging Successful Change

Encouraging Successful Change

Two key dimensions to successful, and effective, change initiatives
5.09 K   |   50
James A. : Managing Change

Managing Change

An ideal and proven way of getting employees to embrace change
3.44 K   |   50
Back to top
50