Driving successful change through a clear Need for Change picture

There are 2 fundamental building blocks of successful change in organisations – firstly, the Need for Change picture; and secondly, a Vision for the future of the organisation.  Sticking with the Need for Change picture, if we do not convince the senior leadership team of the organisation and the operational team members of the need for change, then they will simply see any change as change for change’s sake.  They will also see it as a personal campaign on our part and will not commit to it.  

We need a clear and consistent picture of the need for change if we are to drive change at both senior and operational levels.  

I was the member of a project team involved in looking at the turnaround of a repair and overhaul business.  We had the support of the senior team, but we needed their commitment and that of the operational team, who otherwise would have been cynical about any changes we proposed to make.  We developed a Need for Change picture out of 3 elements:

  1. A market share calculation which showed our market share to be around 30% of the available work and this was much lower than any of us envisaged.
  2. Customer feedback which came from visit reports from our field service engineers and this showed a consistent picture – our customers were moving to independent, third party, repair and overhaul businesses who offered a 15 to 30 day turnaround time.  Our average turnaround time was 90 days.
  3. A value-stream map of the operational process – through this we showed that it took an average of 21 days to release a job into the operational team.  Many of competitors had completed the repair in that time.  

This consolidated Need for Change picture gained the commitment of the senior leaders because they saw the ability to grow the business through addressing some fundamental operational issues.  It also showed the operational team members that we had understood their concerns with the operational process and if we addressed these it would take away many of their frustrations too.  

When setting out to lead operational change in your organisation, it is important to get the project team to do some clear analysis and to develop a Need for Change picture, which works at both the senior team and operational team levels.  

If you want to know more about leading change in organisations, please read Changing Spots – a systems approach to change management.  For more information please go to www.changingspots.co.uk.