change management and innovation and leaderership

As you can imagine, I spend a fair amount of time keeping up with changes and challenges faced by industry and business in the fields of change management and innovation. So I’m constantly on the lookout for information and news that may impact behaviour and best practice across organisations.

Here’s a pick of what I’ve been attracted to this week:

Change Management

IT Change Management can be described, in a nutshell, as a formal set of processes designed to help a business make changes to their information technology system or product in the most efficient, controlled, smooth and successful way possible. This may sound similar to the idea of … >Mr. Lewis holds a Graduate Certificate in Business Management from the Macquarie Graduate School of Management, Sydney, Australia. He has earned several certifications …

Since then there have been many models for effecting organisational change, however there is something profound in Lewin’s simple model. The symbolism of “unfreezing” is important. For any change management …

She advises firms on executive management skills, digital change management and social data analysis. She is on the Board of Code Club Australia, and she is a Director of word of mouth marketing firm, 1000heads, where …

In many organisations the leadership pipelines are broken. In organisation when they settle for insiders, they often find candidates who lack the needed leadership skills to drive transformation or develop others to be leaders. The world is in …

It’s a great read that will change the way you identify and develop top talent. Must reading for every leader! Discount: Claudio is speaking at the World Business Forum Oct 7-8, 2014. Use discount code LDRFREAK to save …

Innovation News

When managers become early adopters, a spirit of positivity and a focus on collaborative efforts frequently result. This is seen in all areas of business, but is especially important when innovation is a desired result.

As a response, innovation program leaders and managers have been looking for mechanisms that unify and leverage their existing activities, as well as provide a more consistent presence for their program over time.

In the autumn of 1906, 85-year-old Sir Francis Galton made a fascinating discovery on the judgment power of crowds: The accuracy of groups is far greater than of individuals. It’s a well-known story yet worth recapping.

Australia launches online forums to support people with mental illness. By Healthcare Innovation Editors | 2014-08-28. Email PrintShare. The Australian government has launched two new online forums in Canberra to provide support for …

Focusing on the post-digital creative technologies Phil Phelan, national strategy director, SapientNitro Australia and Melanie Cook, head of strategy, SapientNitro Singapore & HK will discuss what the next great wave of …

Where My Words Have Travelled

publish around the place from time to time. Here’s the latest:

Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) are the subject of a lot debate in the blogosphere. Will they be a disruptive technology for universities? Will they take over the trainer’s job in corporate organizations?

From a higher education perspective, it’s easy to see the selling point for students

In 1987 Paul O’Neill became the CEO of Alcoa. Taking over the helm of a company usually means making grand statements about finances, about cutting costs, and change the investment priorities. But what O’Neill did at his first investor press conference was a little different.

To improve productivity in organizations you need only get leaders out in the field

The controversial Koch brothers wrote a book called the Science of Success (2007). I don’t recommend you read it as it’s one of those books that successful people write where they think they were successful because of these management techniques, whereas it’s more likely that because they were successful they could try out these management techniques (fads of the day?).

According to the ASTD’s 2013 State of the Industry Report, U.S. organizations spent $164.2 billion on employee learning and development in 2012. The report does a good job of categorizing and classifying expenditure. But what about ROI? How can managers structure training to ensure a positive ROI?

How often have you rolled out a new IT project that failed to deliver the desired benefits? Most projects fail to deliver benefits because of poor change management. Little to no attention is paid to the people side.

From the Vault

Being data-driven is a valuable quality to have as an operations and sales manager. I usually talk about data in terms of using analytics to make better business decisions, but there are definitely other areas of your business case for change that can benefit from a little data here and there.

 Better design of interfaces can significantly improve throughput of service processes.

 Recently I was busy because of client deadlines, and needed to book some overseas flights for my girlfriend and me. So I went to a website to book, and went on to fill out the form wrong three times, and when I finally got it right, I was redirected to another page with different branding.

Eight Steps to Create a Change Management Framework that will Fly

Change management framework

In 1981, British Airways (BA) was an inefficient, loss making nationalised company which, had it been in private ownership would probably have been declared bankrupt. A few short years later, effective change management had seen BA become the envy of the global airline industry and a flagship of the then British government’s huge privatisation program.

The architect of this change management was John King, who was appointed chairman in 1981 when the passenger airline was making annual losses of £140 million. By 1989, two years into life as a private company, BA was making over £260 million profits per year. Examining how this change materialised, and the strategies employed by King, provides a change management framework for organisational change.

When organisational restructuring is unavoidable, change management is obligatory

King took on a company that was haemorrhaging money. His change management was sweeping; it needed to be, to be effective. King removed 22,000 employees when streamlining its operations. He hired Colin Marshall as CEO, and he renewed BA’s fleet of aircraft. He also removed unprofitable routes, and made a previously loss making aircraft the very epitome of BA using it as a marketing tool (by guaranteeing a number of upgrades to Concorde in exchange for new corporate accounts opened with BA).

Such widespread and all-encompassing change required a widespread and all-encompassing change management plan.

The first yard on the change management runway

Though the need for change and the type of change required was obvious to the new chairman, King realised that the organisational restructuring would affect every single person associated with the company.

His first action in the change management process was to present reasons for the restructuring, communicating the importance and necessity and putting in place a plan to achieve the goals of organisational change. In the case of BA, the ultimate goal was the privatisation of the company. To get there, King first had to ensure its survival.

King involved the whole organisation in his change management plan, from HR to technology, engineering, aircrews, and individuals. He realised that resolving conflicts and dealing with resistance to change was part of the change management process, following the following eight step change management framework.

Step 1: Create a sense of urgency.

In BA’s case, the urgency was simple to communicate – either change or face extinction. A company cannot continue to lose huge sums every year, even if it is owned by the taxpayer.

Step 2: Communicate vision of the future.

All stakeholders need to understand the vision of change management, buy into it, and then act upon it.

Step 3: Create flexibility for change.

An overly rigid organisation will not be able to change, and resistance will be created by a change revolution rather than a change evolution.

Step 4: Communicate effectively.

Stakeholders need to be communicated to, with change management using a variety of communicative tools. News and information should be communicated effectively, to those affected, and in a timely manner; don’t let the rumour mongers do the job that change management should be undertaking, it will only lead to increased resistance as misinformation rules.

Step 5: Engage all stakeholders.

When stakeholders are involved in the change process, the change can be effected more swiftly and more effectively with less resistance. If restructuring involves job losses, then stakeholders should involve workers’ groups or unions.

Step 6: Ensure the change management is led by leaders.

Change management must be sponsored consistently and supported constantly by managers at all levels. These managers not only convey the message down the line, but also report on feedback and progress (including areas or issues of resistance).

Step 7: Integrate project management with change management.

Strategising change means project implementation. The two will go hand-in-hand, as all stakeholders move toward organisational strategic goals.

Step 8: Cultivate behavioural change.

Put in place coaching, training, and reinforcement processes that instil the new behaviours and cultures required. Not only will this help to propagate effective change management, but also help in long term sustainability and reduce propensity to slip back into old ways.

The three phases of a change management framework

This eight step change management framework is an extension of the recognised three phases of change management. The first phase requires management to recognise the necessity for change, and then to establish the exact nature of the required change as well as its scope.

Change management then leads the change, scheduling through to completion with an agile approach. During this change management phase, leaders will need to deliver:

  • A communication plan
  • A roadmap for stakeholders to follow
  • Training and coaching plans
  • A methodology for managing resistance to change

The third and final phase of effective change management is the reinforcement of new processes, practices, procedures, and, most importantly, behaviours. Corrective measures need to be introduced to ensure that new ways of doing things are maintained and built upon.

King took BA from its dire and inefficient, loss-making state to become one of the most successful and profitable airlines in the world. He empowered his people and his organisation through a change management framework which was later employed by Malaysian Airlines when it, too, needed to restructure or die.

A change management framework will help to solidify aims and objectives of change, as well as engage all its stakeholders on the way to a successful and profitable change process, no matter how big or small the scope of the change management project.

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mistakes made by executives managing change

The problem encountered by most C-level executives when managing change is that the change process is completely different to any other management function they have undertaken. Executives selected to manage change are often chosen because of their experience and perceived management qualities. Whatever task they have previously undertaken, they have faced it with a full tool-box: they have been fully equipped with all the management knowledge and skills needed. What they find is that the change process and skills required for managing change cannot be commuted from their existing skill base.

The most common mistake made by executives managing change

Once the necessity for change has been accepted, the most common mistake made by the change sponsor is approaching change as if it were a pure process reinvention. The change sponsor ­– commonly the CEO or a divisional head – announces the need for change, appoints a number of bright lights to a task force, which is expected to produce a blueprint for the ‘new organisation’, and then gives a deadline for reporting back.

This task force locks itself away from the rest of the company while spending long hours trying to solve the riddle set it. A solution is put forward before deadline day and only then does the task force realise it needs to communicate the change process to the rest of the organisation.

When change is not sold, the change process will fail

When JC Penney needed to change to stay ahead it turned to Ron Johnson, a manager of no little repute. At Apple he had been responsible for a retail revolution, but his ability for managing change was found to be seriously lacking when recruited as CEO of JC Penney.

He wanted to move the company from its traditional success base of low cost retail and compete against high end retailers. Attempting to force the change through, he failed to understand the profound effects on employees, managers, and customers. Sales plummeted, profits drooped, and shareholders sold. For his inability in managing change he paid the ultimate price: eighteen months after being announced as the new CEO of JC Penney it was announced he was the new ex-CEO.

Managing change requires communication

Compare and contrast Johnson’s failure with the success of David Thodey at Telstra. Faced with declining sales and increasing competition in a rapidly changing communications market, Thodey’s style of managing change was one of acceptance. First, he accepted that change must happen for the organisation to survive. Then he accepted that all employees, executives, and customers were stakeholders in the change process.

He placed emphasis on explaining the change required ­– taking the company from complacency to what he called ‘customer advocacy’ – and tasked his 300 most senior executives to work with Telstra’s people. One-to-one coaching courses were developed, employees were coached through specifically designed programs, and new reward and recognition processes were put in place.

From the very beginning of the change process, Thodey realised that managing change was about managing people’s expectations and shaping beliefs and values. He accepted that people change at a different pace, and understood that, as individuals, we all have different concerns which need to be addressed.

Managing change requires stakeholder engagement

The contrasting results at JC Penney and Telstra (one organisation taken to the brink of failure while the other saw increasing market share and profits) highlights one of the key rules of managing change:

Stakeholders must be engaged with the change process from an early stage for successful change to materialise.

By engaging his people through effective multi-channel communication, Thodey was able to achieve a number of key elements which Johnson ignored:

  • Stakeholders were given opportunity to discuss and understand the rationale for change
  • People were allowed the opportunity to explore how the change and the change process would affect them
  • They were able to realise the benefits without being ‘told’ the benefits
  • Consequently, the engaged stakeholders became owners of the change

Thodey first engaged his executives, and then challenged them to engage their people. He encouraged a culture of managing change process by communication and coaching. He insisted such coaching was delivered via a range of creative methods, with people engaged at the right time throughout the change process. He understood that, as individuals, employees needed to feel their concerns and benefits of employment were being addressed individually.

Managing change healthily

Through any change process, the executives responsible for the success of the change require a whole new tool box of management skills. Managing change is completely different to managing a new machine or operating process.

One CEO I worked with summed up the difference by comparing the change process to maintaining physical health. It simply isn’t good enough to work on one part of the body at a time. If you want to lose weight, for example, then a combinational approach has to be taken with diet, exercise, and mental attitude all working together simultaneously.

The change process today commonly requires a number of projects to be on-the-go at the same time. These projects may include process reengineering, people empowerment, competitive problems, quality procedures, and any number of other issues. The key to managing change successfully is not to attempt each element in isolation. Rather it requires a holistic approach, with the change manager understanding interconnectivity.

When managing change, introduce new concepts and behaviours in measured doses. There will be resistance along the way, which is best tackled by early communication and employee empowerment. By all means use emails, intranet, and notice boards for communicating change. But neglect human face-to-face communication at your peril. As a sponsor and leader of change, ensure your task force is out there from the outset.

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