How UK business can successfully transform: a change perspective

Curium | 01 Jan 1970 | News | General News

Setting the strategy is the easy bit. Delivering lasting and effective change is much harder. Curium Solutions’ Way4Change makes change simple and sustainable. By Andy Dawson, Managing Director of Curium Solutions.

Earlier this year, Gateley Plc revealed the results of its business transformation survey. The survey explored respondents’ strategic priorities, with the top three for the next 12 months comprising sales growth, profitability and customer satisfaction. Over a longer, three-year time horizon, productivity and differentiation moved up the agenda.

Strategy sorted. But, without a clear road map, it is all too easy to respond to short-term tactical issues at the expense of concentrating on delivering against strategic goals. Gateley’s survey shows us what companies are prioritising. Making those priorities happen is where change comes in.

Change supports strategy. So, for businesses looking to change, whether by introducing a new IT system or software, M&A, operational efficiencies, or dealing with cultural issues or poor performance, how can they avoid the all-too-common pitfalls?

We’ve all heard the horror stories. From delays to major public sector projects like Universal Credit and the NHS patient record system, to an inability to adapt to market entrants (think Amazon v Borders) the change landscape is littered with monumental failures.

Sadly, this doesn’t come as much of a surprise. According to Harvard Business Review, most studies show a “60-70% failure rate for organisational change projects – a statistic that has stayed constant from the 1970s to the present”.[1] That’s nearly 50 years of change failure, despite the best efforts of investment, research and project management professionals.

What is going on? Why do so many organisations struggle to manage and implement change so that it has a lasting effect? Where are the benefits of change programmes? With project managers, programme managers, technical specialists, communications experts and a business’s leaders all on side, how can change fail to occur?

Effective and sustainable change is about more than delivering a project on time. Too many organisations focus on the ‘doing’ part of a project; the bit controlled by timelines and plans. The result is a lot of activity with many projects and products delivered, but little in the way of real and lasting change in ‘the way things are done around here’.

The Gateley report concluded that, “Change is inevitable; it’s how you manage it that’s important.” We’d go further and say that while change is inevitable and can be difficult, it doesn’t have to be as complex as many organisations and, worse, their advisers make it.

At Curium, we help our clients make change simple and sustainable. This mindset shapes everything we do, from helping leaders increase their impact (Capability) to managing change programmes (Delivery).

Our starting point is that a company or public sector body has developed its strategy and needs help with execution. Some have their own in-house change function, while others bring in external advisers to support and challenge.

To check whether their in-house team is sufficiently prepared to implement an organisation’s change agenda, business leaders ask us to run a change diagnostic. This comprehensive assessment helps the client understand the level of capability they need for the complexity of change they are delivering

It includes face-to-face interviews, desktop analysis, observations and data analysis, and provides a gap analysis between current and desired state, plus the steps needed to develop a ‘fit for purpose’ change capability.

The whole process is rooted in our unique Way4Change© methodology, which takes a holistic approach to analysing and improving change. Way4Change has four perspectives: lead change, deliver change, sustain change and manage payback. These four perspectives cover all aspects of change and avoid the usual pitfalls of over-emphasising delivery.

Lead change includes creating and communicating a compelling vision, building respect and trust, inspiring and mobilising teams and individuals, and aligning and prioritising against the strategic agenda. Our diagnostic examines the organisational capability to lead change, including sponsorship, development of high-performing teams and developing a performance mindset.

Deliver change includes delivering the critical ‘products’ to time, cost and quality using a fit for purpose delivery framework, planning, resourcing and governance. The diagnostic examines all delivery considerations, including strategic alignment, resource management, end-to-end delivery, the role of the project management office, change planning, solution design and development.

Sustain change includes accelerating the acceptance of change and making sure it sticks so that the benefits can be achieved, and managing the impacts of the project. Our diagnostic examines how an organisation constantly mobilises commitment for change, manages communications, builds a compelling case for change, and manages the transition and embedding of change to accelerate the journey.

Manage payback includes being clear about the source of benefit and the payback strategy from the outset, and actively managing the benefits throughout the change. The diagnostic examines end-to-end benefit management from definition, measurement, active management and tracking.

By using Way4Change to review capability and to structure our own approach to managing change, we have a simple and effective framework to lead, deliver and sustain change, and manage payback. This ensures that the change delivered is sustainable and makes the right impact on the business, contributing to the successful execution of that organisation’s strategy.

About Gateley Plc

Gateley (Holdings) Plc is a national legal services business providing a range of commercial legal and related services from offices throughout the UK. It is the only UK commercial law firm to be listed on the AIM market of the London Stock Exchange and brings the same original thinking to the solutions it delivers for its clients.

About Curium Solutions

Curium Solutions simplifies change and empowers individuals and organisations to achieve their personal and business potential. It delivers its solutions through two consultancy practices: Delivery and Capability.

Delivery focuses on helping organisations to deliver key business projects and programmes, such as digital transformation, organisational design, and front and back office operational improvement. The Capability practice develops people capability to support culture change and achieve accelerated results for leader and team performance.

  • Digital developments – identify and develop skills, software and systems to help organisations thrive in the digital world
  • Improving business performance – increase productivity and innovation, enhance employee engagement, improve customer service, introduce more efficient processes and reduce cost
  • Supporting growth – develop skills, leadership and infrastructure to support and sustain rapid growth
  • M&A implementation – cultural and operational change to support the new organisation

In a sector heavy with jargon and complexity, Curium simplifies change, taking best practice processes, tools, models and frameworks and boiling them down to their essential and most useful elements.

Curium works with individuals, empowering them to make change sustainable long after the team has left. Every member of the Curium team has experienced change from the client side and understands the emotional journeys individuals experience when leading or adapting to change.

[1] Harvard Business Review, ‘Change management needs to change’ by Ron Ashkenas

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