Clare Elliott speaks to WBMS Associate Emer Wynne, an Interim Transformation and Change Director. Emer discusses how managers can deal more effectively with change and transformation within organisations.
What are some of the typical pitfalls and blind spots when it comes to change programmes?
Maintaining sustainable change: Organisations put significant effort in creating something to implement that will transform their business (new Target Operating Model, technology solution, business merger) without preparing the business and following the change through. Sustaining change means measuring how well people are working in new ways and ensuring that the programme is yielding the stated benefits and holding people to account for some time after the change has been introduced.
Accountability: When leaders at all levels are not held accountable for implementing and sustaining new ways of working the change will fail. Change is coordinated by the Transformation Programme team but owned by the business.
Scale of change: Underestimating the management time and overall cost of implementing significant change in a business. Enough said!
Impact of change: Change tends to creep up on people. It can take a while for the impact of change to become apparent. Sometimes people can be so busy with the day-to-day that they don’t think about the impact change might have. So you ask them ‘what impact will such-and-such have’ and they say they’re too busy to think about it. They are can feel surprised and unprepared despite earlier invitations to become involved. It’s a reflection of the intensity of everyday demands but strong leadership plays a significant role here.
What are the biggest concerns leaders have about transformation progammes?
Leaders worry about how much time, money and energy transformation change demands and whether the overall investment will pay dividends. Some worry about reputational damage in the event of business disruption or change implementation failure. Others worry that change is not happening quickly enough and feel impatient about delivery timescales especially where shareholders have expectations.
How does this translate at an individual level?
It means understanding what the change entails in terms of ways of working and what needs to be done differently for it to be absorbed. It’s essential to get real clarity on this point and make sure the messages are really clear and the capability is built. In particular, leaders who will be held accountable need to be properly equipped to lead the change and they must be absolutely clear about what they have to do to land the change well in their area of the business.
Business leaders also need to recognise that change is a constant and continuous. If they realise that leading change is a central part of their jobs, their organisations will be more ‘change-able’.
When leaders regard leading change as integral to rather than an addition to their roles and are measured accordingly, their organisations are more agile and ‘change-able’.” This is happening now in more high performing organisations.
How does personal resilience play into all of this?
Resilience is key both at a personal and organisational level. Leaders need to implement change in a consistent way and build their own capability – especially personal resilience. That means joining up change and leadership development to help leaders become better at change generally as well as boosting the capability within organisations.
People have different levels of resilience to change. Through coaching I help people to build up their personal resilience and identify any blockers as well as the things that do and don’t serve them well.
WBMS has a record of delivering transformation and improvement programmes across the retail, consumer, travel and leisure, TMT, energy, utilities, retail FS and insurance industries. Our invitation-only network of professionals, represent the best interim talent in the market. We can provide talent and capability to meet your resourcing needs and deliver business objectives.
Contact Us: To discuss how WBMS can help your business deliver your customer agenda, contact Clare Elliott on clare.elliott@WBMSglobal.com to arrange an introduction.