Step Change Management

It might seem business garble to many but whether you call it step change or simply adapting the business model, making change happen through managed processes and making it stick is a challenge that very few businesses have managed to avoid during the last 5 years. The impact of world markets, trade recessions and technology have all contributed to reshaping our industries.

We also recognise the fact that change has become more frequent does not make such changes any easier.

The only thing that remains constant, is change.

Change is, at its core, a people process, and people are creatures of habit, hardwired to resist adopting new mind-sets, practices, and behaviours. To achieve and sustain transformational change, companies must embed these mind-sets, practices, and behaviours at every level, and that is very hard to do — but it has never been more important.

We can help you change. We can help you save money, become more efficient and streamline your processes. We can help you think differently and look differently at the way you procure, programme, implement and process your business dealings.

Some organisations have managed to develop approaches to change management that address change comprehensively. A successful business transformation effort must capture the hearts and minds of people who need to operate differently to deliver the desired results. The good news is that it can be done and Accio Consult & Construct can aid this process to change.

5 Key Steps to Effective Change Management?

The Five Success Factors

Each of the following five key success factors should be considered vital by those designing a change management program. These are the actions that can make change happen — and make it stick. All five should be evident in the program’s implementation.

Understand and spell out the impact of the change on people.

A prerequisite to any viable change program is a clear-eyed assessment of the impact it will have on various populations in the organisation. This analysis identifies the type and scale of changes affecting each segment of employees (as defined by role or business, for example). This assessment also provides a basis for communicating with the team members about what the change means for them personally — the predominant concern of every employee in a business transformation.

A well-known supermarket did exactly that when it produced a change impact analysis with a “heat map” illustrating the intensity of change for each group of employees, and a detailed description of the changes each role would need to deliver. As a result, the leadership team was able to focus and redirect the transformation program to address the challenges facing those in the roles most affected. Moreover, project teams identified areas of potential overlap and conflict in the impact of various initiatives. Finally, the analysis informed the plans and sequencing of the overall transformation program and became the basis for communications with managers. In cascade fashion, managers received the message from their supervisors and then delivered it to their teams.

Build an emotional and rational case for change.

Many leaders excel at building the rational case for change, but they are less adept in appealing to people’s emotional core. Yet the employees’ emotions are where the momentum for real transformation ultimately lies. Change management communications need to be targeted to each segment of the workforce, and delivered in a two-way fashion that allows people to make sense of the change subjectively. If you are asking people to adapt to a new reality, they need to understand the emotional case for the change so they can feel truly committed to the transformation. It can’t be presented as another “program of the month” that they will have to live through. Bringing the details of what will change — and what won’t — into the presentation allows leaders to paint a vivid picture of what the change means for employees personally, not only why it benefits the business.

Ensure that the entire leadership team is a role model for the change.

Companies start their transformations from the top. Senior executives must be not only “on top” of the change program, but also “in front” of it, modelling the new behaviours they are asking their people to adopt and holding one another accountable for the initiative’s success. When executives talk about creating a performance culture, they must demonstrate through example what that means. An aligned and committed leadership team is the foundation for any major corporate undertaking. When executives lead by example, the impact can be profound. One senior director found that it was only after he introduced ongoing performance discussions with his direct reports that his team started to hold similar sessions with their own direct reports. This requires consistent attention, but that level of engagement will make the difference between success and failure.

Mobilise your people to “own” and accelerate the change.

The blunt truth is that most change initiatives are done “to” employees, not implemented “with” them or “by” them. Although executives are pushing behaviour change from the top and expecting it to cascade through the formal structure, an informal culture left to instinct and chance will likely dig in its heels. To counteract this undermining force, companies should leverage the informal organisation — the network of peer-to-peer interactions. People need to be encouraged and motivated to change their behaviour by those around them as much as they need incentives from the top.

This does not mean that companies should forgo a centrally driven program with a clear road map that lays out the formal elements of the new organisation. But they must not overlook the informal organisation either. Pride, commitment, and purpose reside here. If you use powerful emotional motivators, invite employees to contribute ideas and perspectives, and provide the kind of informal support and recognition that makes it easier to take ownership of new behaviours, you can accelerate and intensify the impact of the change initiative.

Embed the change in the fabric of the organisation.

Sponsors often declare victory too soon, diverting leadership, commitment, and focus from the ongoing effort. To embed the change and ensure that it sticks, you should acknowledge the lessons learned. You also should investigate how to engage and involve employees over the long term and how to institutionalise best practices to capture the full benefit of this change and any future changes. The human resources function plays a critical role in this process. To enable lasting change, all HR systems, structures, processes, and incentives must be aligned and consistent with the goals of the transformation. You need to articulate clearly the various people-oriented elements of the future organisation — not just its structure, but also employee value propositions and individual and team roles, as well as required competencies, skills, and behaviours. Things like performance management, learning and development, workforce strategy, and retention programs are key enablers of the change program.

The team at Accio Consult & Construct are able to work with you to identify the step change challenge and stand shoulder-to-shoulder with you through every step of the management processes.