Successful business transformation requires the ability to change the attitudes and behaviours of people at all levels in the organisation and to create ownership for these changes in structure, focus and way of working. This demands an integrated “hard–soft” approach that solves the structural issues and connects with the hearts and minds of the people.
All successful change management initiatives start at the top, with a committed and well-aligned group of executives strongly supported by the CEO. This alignment can’t be taken for granted. Rather, work must be done to ensure that everyone agrees about the vision, ambition and case for the change.
The top tier of a company sets the direction and determines the boundaries. From here on the mid-level and first line managers are fully involved. We build on their knowledge and experience and help them reflect on their own performance in the context of the vision and ambition.
We follow a process of deploying targets top-down, combined with a bottom-up analysis of the “as-is” situation to provide fact-based insights. Our “catch-ball” approach allows the people to agree on and really own their targets – carefully aligning the organisation in the process.
“We deploy our distinct Operational Performance Builder®, to deliver sustainable change and lasting performance improvement”
For business success, a company’s internal business processes need to be synchronised with the entrepreneurial activities on the outside.
We analyse the de-facto business processes and explore what is strong and must be kept as well as what needs to change. We address the processes coherently to optimise the overall architecture and ensure full synchronisation.
From here we design the rest of the operating model. An operating model captures all formal elements that transform the company to the desired state and support ongoing business success. Formal elements are KPIs, roles and responsibilities, meeting and reporting systems, ways of working and systems for rewarding and developing people.
We run the implementation as a project within a clear, measurable, performance improvement context. Step by step, the de-facto operating model turns into the intended one as visible behaviour of (key) people in the organisation becomes more effective. Business benefits and the capacity to continuously improve are delivered.
We work with a clear set of milestones and milestone deliverables. The deliverables are set, but we are agile during the implementation: learning by doing and adapting quickly to ensure both high-quality structural changes and on-time-in-full delivery of goals and targets. The process we follow is co-creative, inclusive and produces strong local ownership of solutions.
The aligned operating model and behaviours, combined with transfer of our knowledge and the strong local ownership of solutions, ensures sustainable change.
4. Focus on behaviour
One of the most important lessons learned from successful business transformations is that culture is everything. In fact, in cases where change has been unsustainable, the reason is often because the existing culture was not taken into account when designing the transformation effort.
In collaboration with key people at all organisational levels, we determine the critical behavioural characteristics and describe visible behaviour. We help them to understand the relation between visible behaviour and the effects and what is required to become more successful. Our implementation approach ensures real behavioural change from within.
Using a set of custom-designed questions, our Change Insider measures people’s perceptions and how they experience the initiative. The Change Insider is an important aid to ensure timely and in-full execution of an improvement programme or any deep organisational transformation with sustainable results.