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Inner Circle Consulting - Successfully delivering change

Inner Circle Consulting - Successfully delivering change

Inner Circle Consulting, a supplier on our Consultancy Services framework (664), discusses how you can successfully deliver change - authored by Chris Twigg.
Change - what is it?

What is the essence of change? Why do individuals change their behaviour? What makes an effective manager of change and what does successful change look like? These are the questions I’ve been asking myself throughout my career and what I’ve attempted to address through this article.

I’m a civil engineer and spent the early years of my career on construction sites as a site engineer and site manager. That environment taught me two important lessons: firstly, how to communicate with people from a huge variety of backgrounds; and secondly, how to persuade people to do the things necessary to achieve a change (often in cases when their contractual obligations were not persuasive enough). Successful change is delivered through and by people.

Since founding Inner Circle Consulting, I’ve had the opportunity to work on some amazing projects involving substantial organisational change. From Building Schools for the Future through to the establishment of Achieving for Children, the creation of the Independent Living initiative for Essex County Council and most recently, our work on the Kent Education Services Company. I’ve distilled my learning from these experiences.

Here are my 10 key points to consider for delivering successful change:

1. Care more than the specialists:  
In the face of a challenge from a specialist that could prohibit progress, don’t try to dismiss it, take ownership of it. Drill down and seek to reach the point where you are more determined to find a positive solution than the specialist. Then it becomes their gift to concede the position.
2. Deliver quickly:  
Start fast and keep going. Fortnightly meetings with strong agendas, meeting minutes within 24 hours, and responses to emails/calls within hours – these small things provide a practical yet powerful sign that progress is being made. Make sure actions are completed between meetings so the group can primarily make decisions to progress work.
3. Set the strategic framework:  
What is the strategic framework in which the change is occurring? What individuals, groups and boards need to be involved in the process? Embrace the bureaucracy and operate within it.
4. Define and document the final state:  
Early on, demonstrate what the end state looks like. This could be anything from organisational structures to how your change will appear to the user and beyond, to company articles or constitutions and expenses, policies and payslips. Often, it’s the change in tangible products that cause people the most anxiety but, if evidenced, can also generate the most buy-in to the change process.
5. Sacrifice your ego:  
Leading change is not about knowing the right answer; it’s about finding the answer that works. Know what you can sacrifice while protecting the core elements that are required to deliver the change.
6. Pursue evidence:  
If somebody presents something as though it’s a fact, pursue the evidence to support it. Solutions designed based on inaccurate or inappropriate data will unravel.
7. Recognise the impact of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs:  
Don’t expect to have meaningful conversations about achieving potential with someone who is uncertain if their job will exist in the future. Provide as much clarity as possible about what things may change in the employees’ future and those that will not.


8. Describe change that can be touched:  
Choose examples that affect people on a day-to-day basis. For example, if in a corporate environment show them how many meetings can be removed from their working week and therefore, how much time they can free up to spend on doing things differently. When dealing with a community, don’t get hung up on big brands but take time to describe how the change will look and feel and listen carefully to their feedback.
9. Use existing resources (people, processes and governance):  
Don’t create any unnecessary additional burdens. Change occurs at the same time as the day job, so make efficient use of time by using existing people, processes and meetings to embed it. Change invariably needs centralised coordination but the true leadership must be dispersed throughout the organisation if it is to truly stick.
10. Champion optimism:  
Leadership means being the champion of optimism. Change will happen, those barriers will be overcome but this is infinitely easier if the final state has been defined early on.  

If you are an organisation going through change or need to deliver change quickly, follow these 10 points and successful change should happen more easily.

If you would like to find out more about Inner Circle Consulting or the Consultancy Services framework (664), please click here.