What we do

CHANGE MANAGEMENT AND REORGANIZATION


Change and the anchoring of change require a well organized and flexible plan. Weather it is about a large scale change project, an interim leadership role, or about the plan that needs to be put in place after a merger, a good plan with several steps is necessary.
Our method is mostly based on the experience of John P. Kotter the way he described it in his book “The Heart of Change", (2002). John Kotter is the change management expert of the Harvard Business School in Boston. Kotter has been a think tank in the area of change for years. He conducts a numerous research and keeps publishing articles on the subject of change management.


THE APPROACH
1. Orientation Phase
Orientation as an outsider is necessary to get a first image of the organization. The question on hand is to get an idea of the scope of the problems as well as the goals that have to be met. Change management is difficult. It requires a broad and determined approach.

2. Build the Guiding Team
Determining the coalition for change is an important step in the change process. In some cases there will be an existing team. In other cases, a project organization needs to be put in place. The enthusiasm and commitment of the team are of key importance in order to get the right people involved in the project. The team has to have the right mix of influence, credibility and expertise. It will not work to have weak task groups, single individuals or too complex structures. A team has to be balanced and the members have to be complementary to one another. In order for a team to be successful, it has to have enough resources, the right information and ample support. It is the task of the team to come up with a clear direction and a consistent plan.

3. Increase the Sense of Urgency
In order for a change effort to start, a sense of "urgency" has to be created. This is not only about a rational business case but it has to be really felt by the organization at large. It works best if people are shown the need for change in a way that they will care about it. It has to touch their emotions! Endless written reports and pure presentations will not get you to your goal of felt urgency.

4. Get the Vision Right
A vision, strategy and approach are prepared by a small group of key players or by the team that is in place. The first concept will be shared with and communicated to a larger group of stakeholders within the organization. Their feedback will be brought into the plans. It requires focus and a process of going back and forth to come to a clear vision and implementation plan.
The vision has to be clearly stated and has to enable employees to formulate a summary a few minutes. Is it an attractive and compelling vision? The vision has to help people making the right decisions in their day-to-day work lives.
The most important goal is to realise change in behaviour. Change in systems, structures and culture is actually of secondary importance. “Letting-go” of “old behaviour” proofs to be difficult time and time again.

5. Communication for "Buy-in"
Implementation of change starts with compelling communication to the organization. Communication has to take place in a simple and heartfelt way. Do your homework as to what people will feel! This approach is winning over an analytical one based on pure logical plans. It is easier to reach people via their emotions. Employees have to be able to paint a clear picture of the future in front of them. If possible, tell the story in an alternative way. An example if this is to make a video tape of a complaining customer. Or by literally putting too expensively sourced material on the general manager’s table- if the subject is to state that the procurement function should be improved. This makes a more lasting impression than just a presentation by a manager.
The single most important mistake made in change efforts is under-communication. This happens all the time! Communicate ten times as much as you would normally think would be enough. Tell the story in a simple way and don’t run for the emotions that it will evoke. Be receptive for confusion and anger.
Oftentimes it happens that a plan and their consequences are not well understood. To track this, there are simple techniques that can be applied.

6. Empowerment of Players
It is important for people involved in the change process that they get the freedom to act and behave according to the plan. Oftentimes managers need some push to change. Barriers that stand in the way, such as insufficient information, performance appraisals that have not been adapted and incorrect incentive systems need to be taken care of. Employees have to be encouraged in their self-confidence. It helps to add experienced change agents to a project. This will increase the self-confidence of the other (project) members due to their earlier experience. Also positive feedback that can help people make better vision-related decisions will help. It is impossible to remove all obstacles at the same time. Don’t let this lead you to frustration and pessimism!

7. Create Short-Term Wins
It is an old story that short term successes are important. The goal is to convince employees and management of the right direction. So that the organization cannot deny it anymore. Speed is of the essence. What does not work is starting too many projects at the same time. This is not doable and often causes short-term wins not to happen. Focus on a number of cases that can be realized in the short-term. This way a better chance of success will be created.

8. Don’ t let up
To really implement change, you have to keep going realizing the plan until the vision has become reality. Keep on going despite the problems that will arise. Key managers need to get rid of regular work that can be delegated. You need to focus constantly to keep the urgency up. It doesn’t work to make a rigid long-term plan. You have to be more opportunistic. Don’t wear yourself out. Don’t work so hard that you physically and emotionally collapse. But also don’t fool yourself about the progress you make.

9. Make Change Stick
Make sure the changes will have roots in the organization. Act according to the vision in your HRM policies: in your new employee orientation, your education and training efforts and in promoting the right people. Changes have to be anchored in the culture of the organization but don’t try to change culture as the first step in the transformation process. The key success factor lies in change of behaviour. The change of culture will follow during the course of the change process.