ORGANIZATIONAL CHANGE LEADERSHIP – CONSULTING Corporate Consulting for Leaders Leading Change

About Organizational Change Leadership Consulting

  • Organizational change leadership consulting requires the ability to see an organization as a whole – as a system – and identifying where and what to target to generate change.
  • Implementing effective organizational change requires skilled leadership, including generating the vision, executive and employee engagement, and momentum.
  • Ensuring that effective change leadership skills exist in your organization is a key ingredient to generating lasting change. These skills include understanding that during periods of change, leaders must create meaning in the change for their people. If they do not, the leader’s change efforts will always slide backwards.
  • Leaders can also facilitate change by helping people understand that change is healthy for their organization; and that some bounded chaos is necessary for growth. This means that to get the most effective growth requires opening a system (your organization) to creativity, while still respecting its essential boundaries.
  • Still another of the best ways to thrive, and lead others to thrive, throughout change is by aligning infrastructure with your organizational purpose, and then working with people to find better solutions to organizational challenges.
  • This approach ensures that you get people engaged in the desired organizational change. This type of leading change is critical because people only change when the pain, the payoff, or a revelation is significant.
  • Good facilitation can promote the desire to change. This involves exploring, asking, and creating a better way. It involves generating the insight, knowledge, ideas, and ownership critical to effective organizational change. This is part of the change leadership effort that creates second-order change – which engrained in your organization’s culture – is necessary for sustained business results.

Why Autumn?

A season – indicative of rhythm and transition;
representing time moving forward, shifting;
moving through process and journey;
showing itself as a system,
with patterns and processes;
The season most associated with change
– 1st and 2nd order change.
Autumn is a time of maturity and wisdom;
it is a time of “letting go.”
It is the season before going into the
“fertile emptiness” of winter.
It is a time of harvesting, and then
letting the land prepare for new growth.
It is a time to harvest insights, and then move on.

-Erin Beamer

Approach – Organizational Change Leadership Consulting

Using the AKCEPTA Change© Model in the Context of Leading Change

The practice of Organizational Change is about getting people to go along – getting them on board – with a major change that an organization is implementing. The real objective is to have people ready for change – willing and able to support the change. It is not about doing rah-rah (but the effort might include some rah-rah). It is not about just telling people what to do – because that’s not enough. You do need to tell them what they must do differently, but even that is not going to adequately engage most people in the change. People resist for a reason – for many reasons actually. So do you! Many of those reasons are legitimate – sometimes our resistance relates to losing something we care about in our job; sometimes it relates to losing something in our personal universe; sometimes it is something else. The point of Organizational Change is to recognize what needs to change for the people who need to change and then to take action to lead them to where you need them. The point of Autumn Consulting’s AKCEPTA Change© Model is to provide the toolbox for generating the organizational change you need.

Organizational leaders often find it (much) easier to focus on the tangible thing that is changing. For example, our technology must change, or our sales strategy is changing, or we are moving to a new building, or the company is acquiring or being acquired by another company. Often managers find it much easier to write a project plan – to identify the tasks that need to be done – for these tangible elements of the change. However (and this is a BIG “however”), the whole point of major organizational change always depends on the people. For example, if you are implementing a major technology change, you are most likely wanting your people to change the way they process information, or the way they build something, or the data they gather so that you can run your business differently. If your sales strategy is changing, you are most likely asking people to interact with different people in a different way; you’re asking them to change the way they approach their jobs.

Marvin Bower, in his 1966 book, The Will to Manage, referred to corporate culture as “the way we do things around here.

If you are acquiring or being acquired by another company, there is no doubt that you will be asking people to change the way they do things – and probably asking them to adapt to a new culture. (Let’s be clear, the most insightful way to define culture is the way we do things around here.) For your tangible changes to be successful, people must change – it is a requirement of success. To get your desired business results, it is your people who must do something differently. How many times have you heard (or been involved with) a technology change about which the users were angry? And yet, are angry users any way to get the business results you want? No. How about the many failed mergers that are regularly described in the press? Mergers often never get the business results promised. But why? It is usually a people issue. The fact is that in order to achieve the business results you are after, you need most of the impacted people on board. And what is meant by on board?  Willing and Able. They must be willing to change and they must have had enough preparation for the change that they are, indeed, actually able to do it.

So why can’t I just tell them what to do, and have them do it? By gosh, they work for me; I pay them to do what I tell them. Well, by the time members of an executive team have committed to a major change (and its implementation is underway), this can be a commonly heard expression of frustration. What you may be forgetting is how much time you took to evaluate the alternatives, to sort through the implications, and to decide how to proceed. It is easy to miss the fact that the executive team has had more time to get used to the idea of the change. So, we need to remember that all the people impacted by the change also have needs relating to preparing for and embracing the change. Oh, and please don’t say, We don’t have time for that. Do you have the time and money to create one of the 70-80% of major change efforts that fail? Much of that failure is due to not focusing on getting people ready – willing and able. Ask yourself if you have the time and money to fail.

And this is not about singling out executives. It is very common for all people (including managers at all levels), once we individually have accepted a change, to think, What’s wrong with everyone else? The facts are, what is a major change for you, may not be for me; and what makes this a major change for me may be different from what makes it a major change for you.

What change leaders often overlook is that those people who must change (in order to create a change with real business results), usually includes many impacted people – from the executives to middle management and front-line workers. In the light of day, do you think the change of that many people will really happen without a systematic, strategic effort? No, of course not.

So, why go through all the pain, effort, and resources of implementing a major change, if you are not going to ensure (and I do mean ensure) that people are willing and able to make the change. Again, the point of an Organizational Change initiative is to recognize what is changing for the people who must change and then to take action to lead them to where you need them. To get real business results, they must be willing and able.

If you are thinking, “How do I lead that?” you are on the right track.

Leadership is not the same as management nor is it simply executive management.
We recognize leadership as that which is visionary.
We experience leadership from those who engage us.
And we know that powerful leadership is in play when there is sustained momentum.
-Erin Beamer

  • The first part of the answer is about actually leading the change. The principle of Autumn Consulting, Erin Beamer, starts an Organizational Change initiative here. This is after all, about moving people – and envisioning change from a strategic, leadership perspective is the first point of creating momentum – momentum that gets you, your people, and your business somewhere important.
  • For an executive accountable for implementing change, the second part of the answer is ensuring that the Organizational Change effort is managed in the same way you ensure that your tangible effort managed. That must start with situational analysis; it continues with a detailed design of what needs to be done, disciplined implementation, and real, sustaining followup. What does real sustaining followup mean? It means not letting burned out managers, and the constant overload that most executives experience every day, to allow you to call the effort done until you have clearly identified what the sustaining effort must be and have placed it in accountable hands. Remember culture is the way we do things around here – and until you have deeply engrained a change into the way you do things, people will naturally, easily slip back into the old way of doing things – thus undoing your positive business impact.

The point of the AKCEPTA Change© Model is to provide a toolbox for analysis and design – a toolbox that Erin Beamer created and uses within  her broader Organizational Change Leadership perspective.

  • An AKCEPTA Change© plan is specific to your organization and to your particular change effort. There are many things that can be done for any particular change effort. There are many ways we can package all the organizational change things that can be done. The AKCEPTA Change© Model is one way to package them; one potent way to think about and easily remember them. The name of this seven-part model makes the point that what we are after is getting people to accept the change into the way they do things. And to accept it, they must know what to do. To accept it enthusiastically, they need to know why they are doing it, and they need to have gotten through the psychological resistance to whatever each is losing in the process.
  • The seven elements of the AKCEPTA Change© Model provide the basis for what we need to analyze (or diagnose) and what we need to design. We diagnose what enablers and barriers exist, in each of these seven areas, specific to a particular Organizational Change effort. We create a design (an approach and tasks), in each of these seven areas, for how you want the organization to be functioning and what will encourage your people to move there.

The point is to lead the organizational change. Knowing whom you must lead – who must become willing and able – from your fellow executives to the front-line workers – and mobilizing them with the vision, employee engagement, and momentum – while ensuring that the execution of a strategically designed AKCEPTA Change© program is unfolding.

Think of creating an ever-increasing amount of support for the change throughout the course of your project, starting with a small number of key people – key executives and stakeholders. We build support with other people in the organization that are influential with workers and other levels of management. And we move to the point that everyone impacted by the change is ready for change, engaged, and doing what they need to do differently to achieve your desired business results.

How do you want to approach organizational change?
Leading it, strategically, successfully, with real positive business results

Autumn Consulting is about facilitating positive change – strategically-driven, successful organizational change – through consulting, custom session facilitation, and executive coaching.

Sample Projects – Organizational Change Leadership Consulting

Three Organizational Change Leadership project descriptions provide a sampling of the range of tools that can be used when organizational change is strategically planned and led.

Transforming While Performing
Provided organizational change consulting, facilitation, and tools for both addressing common issues with a matrix-management structure and for handling leadership of ongoing organizational change.

Assessment and Recommendations:
  • Assessed opportunities to improve roles and responsibility clarity, opportunities to allow the matrix structure to effectively take hold, and opportunities to improve change leadership. Assessed opportunities via a series of workshops, document reviews, consultative reviews, interviews, and observations.
  • Presented recommendations and concepts to department’s senior leadership team.
  • Documented recommendations and concepts for organizational change leadership in a format usable by the senior leadership team to leverage going forward.
Organizational Design:
  • Based on initial issues assessment and effective matrix-management concepts, drafted responsibility assignment tool to clarify managerial accountabilities, authorities, and relationships on all projects. Facilitated use of tool for two pilot projects
  • Created a High-Level Training Design for 2-day course to train managers on rules of effective matrix-management and on the department’s new responsibility assignment tool. Created the training course including presentation materials, handouts, Trainer’s Guide, and evaluation form. Provided consultation on creation of participant quiz. Delivered first training session. Summarized issues surfaced via interactive training format. Transitioned training in internal manager for ongoing delivery.
  • Refined job descriptions (for roles with accountability for project leadership) to be consistent with clarified matrix-management authorities.
  • Created job description for Organizational Change Director and assessed job candidates.
  • Created a departmental “strategic profile” of targeted characteristics and skills for all new hires. Developed recommended interview questions for each element of the profile. Designed template for interviewers to use during their assessments.
  • Identified and defined behaviors and results for senior leadership and managers to use in strategically consistent recognition.
Communication Strategy & Execution:
  • Created Internal Communication Strategy (including communication purpose, goals, strategies, audiences, and themes) and Communication Tactical Plan (including the description, purpose, audience, key messages, responsible persons, and timing for each communication vehicle.
  • Facilitated identification, description, and ideas for use of a communication metaphor.
  • Provided executive coaching to improve the CIO’s existing communication vehicles.
  • Created feedback loop format for increasing senior leadership awareness of and action toward department’s ongoing communication needs. Also supported this effort by writing multiple executive messages, as specific needs were identified.
  • Provided recommendations for use, and designed first round, of communication posters.
  • Facilitated JAD sessions, and documented results as input to the requirements documents, for department’s new intranet site. Focus included clarifying the look & feel, content, navigation, and functionality needed to support new communication strategy directed at internal users. Also consulted on executive messaging for site and provided reviews to ensure design development was consistent with communication objectives.

Project STeP (Simplify The Process)

Delivered organizational change consulting and facilitation as part of a project to improve the company’s opportunity-to-invoice process.

Project Initiation:
  • Facilitated initial project success elements, such as effective Core Team kick-off, project name creation, and statements of project vision, business threat, and #1 project goal to drive the project – resulting in project clarity and focus over an extended period.
  • Conducted organizational change assessment to identify characteristics of key impacted groups, potential areas of resistance, opportunities for creating support, and potential change agents – resulting in increased awareness and insight about who and how to engage people over the course of the project, as well as in continued building of executive buy-in, employee engagement, and project momentum.
Communication & Stakeholders:
  • Created internal team communication plan, phase one and phase two plans for communication to selected audiences, written updates to selected audiences, and presentations to Advisory Board and other key stakeholders.
  • Facilitated influence mapping and influence plan (to ensure future state design approval).
  • Ensured capture of quotable feedback about benefits and impact of solution implemented.
  • Results included a steady, calm building of awareness, buy-in, and momentum for project and solution design.
Process Design:
  • Facilitated “white-sheet” process design session (and created associated knowledge/skills matrix) – resulting in a shared understanding of key elements of required solution design.
Implementation Planning Facilitation:
  • Facilitated implementation-planning kickoff session to provide a broad-scoped planning perspective and to identify team’s high-level approach to all elements of implementation.
Conference Room Pilot (CRP) Facilitation:
  • Designed and facilitated CRP (and pre-CRP planning session) for presenting and getting prioritized feedback on quote-to-order solution design, including a core audience of 12 people and expanded audience of 36, with 14 functional areas represented – resulting in increased awareness and cross-functional commitment to solution design.
Pilot (Initial Rollout) Strategy:
  • Led cross-functional decision-making to create pilot rollout strategy including business purpose and objectives, success criteria and expected output, scope, participant selection criteria, stakeholder identification, timing considerations, and key focus areas for planning and execution. Results included a cross-functional team committed to an approach that strengthened teamwork and leveraging of resources for decision-making across an extended period. Results also included commitment to selection of effective change agents and commitment to creating successes on which to build.
Statement of Strategic Advantage:
  • Documented expected benefits for all elements of the project and associated metrics needed (all mapped to the vision for the project, the #1 project driver, and three corporate goals to which project aligns) to assist with creating benefits-focused communication and to assist with follow-up that ensures expected benefits are delivered.
Cross-functional Training Approach:
  • Led design of cross-functional training approach. Approach included initial needs assessment and audience identification; identification of mix-and-match training modules to be delivered across audiences and to meet varying depths of training needs; matrix of modules matched to training audiences; high-level training calendar; and assignments across functional areas to develop and review modules.
  • Elicited commitment of resources to work in cross-functional mode.
  • Launched Core Training team to guide training development and facilitated them through coordination of training development for pilot rollout.
  • Conducted debrief of training program design after pilot to identify improvements for next phase.
  • Business results included stronger impact from training, as well as further building of the business’ position in establishing IT priorities for our desired solution.
Masters of Decision Making Program Design Facilitation:
  • Designed and facilitated Kick-off session (for program designed to change behavior of 1000s of people in the sales contracting process) that included VPs and Sr. Directors across functional areas – resulting in commitment to high-quality, engaging instructional design for training, appropriate engagement of and support by executives and change agents; and post-training initiatives to reinforce change.
  • Created 15-month Action Plan for program implementation to promote focus on organizational change elements in addition to training development.
  • Designed and facilitated session to create Summary descriptions, Learning objectives, and High-level agendas to drive content creation for 13 segments of training.

Sage Project

Delivered organizational change consulting and facilitation for the company’s core information processing system redesign (which impacted all roles engaged in the process).

Project Initiation:
  • Presented organizational change overview sessions, conducted Force Field Analysis related to the organizational change, and facilitated creation of project purpose statement.
  • Facilitated requirements definition session for the new report generation system.
  • Facilitated creation of system/project name, logo, and tag line.
  • Created and implemented internal communication strategy.
Employee Engagement:
  • Created concept, plan, membership criteria, and kick-off for project involvement by power users group.
  • Created and co-implemented project recognition plan.
  • Created high-level training project map; created profiles for key project resources; assisted new training project manager with project initiation; and coordinated creation of system navigation maps for use in training.
Process Design
  • Planned approach; and facilitated creation of top-down as-is process maps, value-added-only process maps, redesign criteria/themes, process designs, and activity designs.
  • Facilitated creation of system security profiles design.
Organizational Design
  • Facilitated creation of first level organizational design for the department most impacted by the change (including mission statement, organizational design philosophy, customer connection points, department goals and measures of success, organizational structure, knowledge/skills/characteristics profiles, job descriptions, grading, and titling, and design documentation).
Other Business Readiness
  • Facilitated the design of user technical and process support plans – for the parallel testing and launch periods.

Indications of Need & Benefits for a Few Consulting Services

This chart provides some indications of a need for a few organizational change consulting services, along with benefits that derive from the services listed.

Indications Services Benefits
  • The purpose gets lost; and the focus meanders
Facilitation of Vision/Mission Creation
  • Optimize Performance via Clear Purpose & Goals
  • Business results and productivity are rarely as good as expected
Facilitation of the Design for Your Major Change Initiative
  • Generate the Cross-Functional Focus that Puts and Keeps Initiatives on Track
  • There’s momentum – inconsistent with your strategy
  • Problems of quality, attitude, frustration, control, integrity, energy, etc. exist
  • People are dispassionate, confused, or working on their own agendas
Organizational Change Assessment & Transition Planning
  • Understand Where To Leverage Your Existing Culture and Identify Barriers to Change
  • Improve Productivity via Purposeful Design of Tools and Messages to which People Pay Attention
  • Expectations of people have changed, given a new strategy – People need the message from every direction – clearly, consistently, powerfully
Organizational Design Levers
  • Complement the Benefits of Technology and Other Performance Programs by Ensuring the People & Organization also are Aligned
  • An effectively implemented change is critical to your success
Building Change into Daily Leadership
  • Consistently Tie People to Your Strategic Purpose
  • Competition is focused internally, instead of externally. Team members are not leveraging each other
Facilitation of Team Building
  • Harness the Power of High Functioning Teams
  • There is resistance to change – fear, cynicism, lack of skills, low awareness, unclear direction, and expectations
Dealing with Change Workshop
  • Teaching Managers and Staff How to Benefit from Change