Louise Palmer, director of 7 days looks at the challenge Capital radio faced: turning the blue print for a new look business into a reality.
An in-depth strategic review of the business produced a blueprint for a radical restructure where stations around the UK would be brought under the umbrella of one of four brands. Key functions such as sales and programming would be centralised, giving Capital the chance to optimise its resources and offer a better deal to advertisers. The restructure also posed a raft of structural and cultural challenges. Working with 7days, it was possible for Capital to turn the vision into operational reality.
The restructuring project began with a series of intensive sessions with the board, designed to put the flesh on the bones of the new organisation framework. The 7days team helped ensure that roles, responsibilities and accountabilities across the new structure were clearly defined. There was a strong focus on establishing the integrating processes – such as decision-making frameworks -to ensure the organisation was ‘glued’ together.
The biggest change for Capital, however, was ensuring people on the ground were willing and able to embrace the changes and make the necessary cultural shift: “Radio stations are very organic, creative, intimate places. They are strong, cohesive and self contained units and there was a fear that the restructure would reduce local stations to just part of the Capital Radio machinery, which was viewed as very London-centric and not in touch with local needs,” explains Louise Palmer of 7days.
It was agreed that the changes should be launched to employees face-to-face, so that the inevitable fears and concerns about the new scenario could be dealt with sensitively. 7days helped Capital craft the communications for the launch, which involved presentations to 700 employees in 11 locations, over a period of two days.
This launch was swiftly followed by a ground breaking change management programme, designed to give Capital’s managers the chance to assimilate the changes and build the skills they would need to drive it forward. The two-day programme, ‘Achieving Through Change’, was delivered by 7days for Capital’s 140-strong management population. The aim was to provide a high-energy intervention to help managers understand and cope with the dilemmas and challenges posed by change.
Participants were able to gain clarity about their personal role in the change process – and were provided with a toolkit of techniques they could use to guide and engage their teams. There was a strong emphasis on drawing out managers’ own experiences, views and opinions – and on helping them to manage change while still getting on with the day job.
An employee opinion survey, conducted by 7days after the restructuring, showed that the changes had bedded down well and the new organisation was in good working order. The results also provided the business with valuable feedback about areas where managers needed further support.