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Change management goes mainstream


Change management now plays a major part in many transformation programmes, according to a global survey.

The survey, by global management consulting firm Booz & Company, polled senior executives who have led major transformation programmes in large organisations. It found that 82% implement change management work streams, with the same number reporting them to have had a positive impact on business performance.

Yet, despite these findings, a majority of the organisations surveyed admitted that, with hindsight, they could have done better, with many respondents wishing they had implemented all of their people initiatives more fully and earlier on in the programme.

The most common reasons for undertaking a transformation programme were performance improvement (79%), cost cutting (62%), and the desire to improve customer service (51%).

Ashley Harshak, principal at Booz & Company, said that the second generation of change management will focus on the ‘how’, rather than the ‘what’. “The attitude of the organisation’s leadership is key and they need to inspire people to adopt new ways of working, skills and behaviours. HR departments also need to act as enablers to underpin this – for example using learning and development programmes and the strategic use of recruitment and reward.”

One Response

  1. People are always the key
    Standing in the way of the “whats” are the people. If the “whats” make good sense, they will be readily and eagerly accepted by a workforce which has been managed by the very best methods, but resisted strenuously if not.

    The very worst method of managing people causes them to distrust and disrespect management as well as to treat their work and their customers with disrespect. This worst method is the traditional top-down command and control model, explained and named Theory X by Douglas McGregor in his 1960 book “The Human Side of Enterprise”.

    The opposite to top-down is McGregor’s Theory Y. The “how tos” of this approach to managing people were not provided by McGregor, but they have since become known to a few.

    This approach stops sending down orders and communicating down to employees. It starts listening to employees and providing to them what they say they need to do a better job. It also starts concentrating not on providing direction but on providing the highest quality support to employees by asking employees how it can be improved. The only people who understand the problems of the workplace are those who have to live with these problems day in and day out.

    It is management’s responsibility to provide to employees training, tools, parts, material, discipline, procedures, policies, rules, direction, information, technical advice and documentation, etc, etc. If the quality of this support is less than exceptional, work output suffers.

    As concerns the support function of direction, realize that your very best people are self-directed and are not in need of your myriad of goals, targets, visions and orders. They only need high quality tools, material, parts and the like so that they can do the work to a high standard of quality. If you want everyone to become like your very best, you had better start treating them as if they are valued employees, not as robots.

    Without being treated with great support, meaning great respect, employees will not commit themselves to their work or to the success of their company.

    Make this change and you will be stunned by the huge amount of inherent creativity, innovation, productivity, motivation and commitment you have unleashed. And these assets will make managing change very easy. I have done this several times and was very pleasantly surprised each time.

    Best regards, Ben
    Author “Leading People to be Highly Motivated and Committed”

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