Tuesday, February 21, 2012
In 1987 I joined a large banking group in South Africa as the Customer Communications and Training manager of their new electronic banking division. I knew I was in trouble when during the first week on the job I was told of a photo shoot with the then CEO. Apparently as the photographer was about to take the photograph and said “smile”, the CEO stood up with a serious face and said, “Young man, banking is a serious business, we do not smile around here”. Whether this story was true or not is unimportant. What is important that it was told and re-told many times and ultimately became part of the culture of the company. The corporate culture was harsh and militaristic, indeed a number of senior executives were former military officers. Some months into my new role, I was asked to do a presentation to a group of senior managers. After my presentation, one of the members of the audience approached me and pulled me aside. He said, “I know you are new here, so I’d like to offer some advice, and that is to remove the emotional words from your vocabulary. Emotional language does not go down well in this organization”. He was certainly correct – the organization was perhaps the most emotionally barren organization I have ever worked with. There were pockets of passion and energy—however these were exceptions and primarily the result of initiatives taken by specific individuals (including my immediate boss, a remarkable individual who was the only reason I continued to work in that environment).
(To read the full article, click on the link below)
Monday, January 16, 2012
About this Report
For a decade or more, research by leading research groups such as Gartner
and others have shown convincingly that the great majority of large-scale
change or transformation projects fail or under-deliver. While this information
has been consistent during this period, there has been less tangible
information on how to address these problems.
Most leaders and managers, who are responsible for implementing
organizational change, experience the trials and tribulations of large-scale
project work on a day-to-day basis. Over the past few years however we have
become increasingly concerned (as the rate of change projects escalates
dramatically in companies) that we see the same challenges and mistakes
occurring over and over. Yet as external consultants we don’t often have the
leverage to make the significant enterprise-wide improvements that would
greatly enhance organizational adaptability and the success of projects.
This research study was designed to test our experience and thinking about
what we collectively believe “works”, and add research rigor and statistical
data to our recommendations to our clients on how to be more efficient and
effective in large-scale change initiatives. This research has supported our
hands-on, albeit subjective, thoughts and experience about what works,
but has produced a number of fascinating and thought provoking insights.
Increasingly, the results of this study are reinforcing our consulting methods
and recommendations to our clients, and we hope readers of this report will
find it useful as well. The bottom-line is that with careful planning and by taking
a proactive approach it is possible to address the problem of failing projects.
Read the full report here
Monday, April 18, 2011
Managing Organizational Change in Kazakhstan: In the rush to implement organizational changes, companies often don’t take the time to prepare their employees for change – and pay dearly.
Saturday, March 19, 2011
Tuesday, February 15, 2011
Friday, January 7, 2011
Executive Leaders are the Key to Successful Organizational Change! But middle managers are where the “rubber meets the road” to drive change!
Tuesday, November 30, 2010
This old wedding custom has its roots in Victorian times and a lot has changed in the interim for sure. But there is a lot to be said for aspects of this tradition when it comes to organizational change. Very often, when organizations are facing large scale changes such as technology implementations, business process changes and restructuring, many companies will bring in big consulting groups who are experienced at systems integration and change management. In a recent technology implementation project where we were partnering with a large consulting firm, we were concerned that that the change management strategy being applied was mostly “Something New” instead of a mix of “Old” and “Borrowed”.
Sunday, March 15, 2009
Recently, while with Levi Strauss & Co., we conducted an assessment of the learning and development aspects of the SAP implementation, and I was holding interviews with managers and employees across the Finance organization. Because of technical problems, most technical support staff had been pulled back to try and solve the problem, creating a situation where users in the field where left to fend for themselves. I was amazed at how resilient many of these people were in the face to having to perform with a totally new process and technology, with little or no technical support to answer an ever changing scenario of technical fixes that were being put in place. Most impressive was how some teams had set up informal collaboration networks to pose questions on how to perform tasks or were instant messaging each other to share knowledge in this rapidly changing environment.