Change management for a successful business transformation
Why change management?
Every change, every business transformation brings about the question: how do we get everyone on board? How do we mobilize quickly and effectively? In order to ensure and de-risk a successful change, you need a crisp, structured and practical approach that helps people adopt new ways of working in times of rapid change.
How to manage change effectively?
What are the 3 key benefits of our way-of-working?
- Ensure transformation project outcomes
- Faster and lasting adoption of new ways of working
- Change risk reduction
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Effective change management: readiness impact and sustainability
The key ingredients
Readiness, impact and sustainability are the key ingredients to a strong change management approach.
On the business side, everyone, whether at management, staff or expediter level will understand the concept of readiness. When you have to change you have to get ready for it.
When you look at the entire ecosystem of the business and include shareholders, suppliers and customers, then impact becomes a major theme: what is the impact of the transformation and how will we deal with it?
And from a long-term point of view, sustainability in terms of business results, new ways of working, new habits, staff retention is also something that a manager and an HR officer are going to understand and want (and this counts for the quality assurance, risk management, supply, logistics, sales, engineering, marketing, R&D, and the customer service departments as well).
Pitchers and catchers
Now, instead of talking about key stakeholders, impacted stakeholder groups, change agents, early adopters, laggards, sponsors etc., let’s keep it simple and talk about pitchers and catchers. The pitchers are the people who want and initiate the change, the catchers are the people who have to do the changing. Everyone else in the ecosystem keeps their own nomenclature and is taken into account as needed.
What change leaders/project managers need to do: readiness
For the project manager or change leader, there is a standard work stream that focuses on readiness, impact and sustainability. Readiness is:
- a handshake between pitchers and catchers at a managerial level so that everyone is lined up on the business case and why it is important as well as the direction to take
- a storyline understood and agreed by both catchers and pitchers in which the why, what, how, when and who of the transformation is explained
- an assessment of which skills, competencies, cognitive knowledge and application skills are needed to effectuate the transformation
- the communication, training, workshops and other forms of collaboration, as well as the KPIs needed to measure whether the catchers are ready to do their thing once the transformation is a fact.
Once readiness is established, we can take the next step.
How to define impact and deal with it effectively
Impact is just as simple as readiness. As a result of the transformation, there are usually secondary effects, shifts in other areas. We (the pitchers and some representative catchers) need to establish how and where do we do things differently in terms of governance (roles, responsibilities, making decisions), systems, processes, reward and recognition and organizational structure.
And once this is clear, this same group of people can decide what to do to help all the catchers deal with that impact. Once more, here’s where a very simple sequence comes in. Parallel to the readiness phase, which covers the cognitive understanding of the key changes through training and communication, we start looking at impact.
Now, impact is all about applying the solution, the new ways of working: trying out what one has learned in a safe environment to discover and learn what the change really means in daily life at work. This is where greenfield simulations, practice runs, and process walk-throughs with multidisciplinary teams come in.
After learning about something new, most of us need to practice for a while. Failing early and small, learning about all the implications of the transformation in the governance, processes, systems, reward or recognition and structures which make up our working environment. Once we get our heads around that, we are ready to start making the change stick.
Sustainability: making the change stick
Once we go live with the transformation and actual work is done in the new way, we are on our way to embedding new habits and achieving sustainable results. At this stage, learning on the job, coaching and mentoring, knowledge management and best practice sharing become important as ways and means of helping catchers cope with the impact during their day to day.
This, in turn, ensures as that results are scalable, sustainable and repeatable. And finally, there is the gentle shift to continuous improvement to ensure that things keep improving and evolving with the surroundings of the company: there is a specific group of catchers who become responsible for this through the process of transformation. At this stage, approaches like Lean, communities of practice and internal events to boost professionalism to the next level are vital to ensure sustainability of increasingly strong results: both the business results and the habits that go with them.
And there you have it: the strongest change management approach that guarantees lasting business results is to cover readiness, impact and sustainability in a people-oriented and businesslike manner. No more, no less.
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Change management is one of the focal areas of Industry consulting, one of the eight key areas of expertise of Philips Engineering Solutions. We have a team of seasoned business and industry professionals. With a hands-on approach and expertise, we create tangible results that last: we are implementation-oriented. Working closely together with your employees, we create an on the job learning setting. This enables your organization to strengthen or develop its own ‘continuous improvement’ culture.