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the chances of long-term success are limited. It is the actions, not words, of change leaders that count.

Political and stakeholder skills

Change leadership involves attention to the political ‘temperature’ of a change initiative, including careful stakeholder management and applying influence to encourage support and deal with resistance. Tis means careful identification of all stakeholders, assessing the impact of change, and evaluating their com- munication and engagement needs. Stakeholder engagement is

not a one-off activity early in a change; it must be a continuous activity throughout, or disaffected and resistant individuals and groups may start to dominate.

Managerial and implementation skills

However solid the plan, implementa- tion is where lasting change takes root. It involves personal discipline and example, and facilitating others to put change into practice. It also involves mastery of setting out and managing a sequence of activities. It requires robust project management, using more traditional or ‘agile’ approaches as appropriate. All managers should be actively involved in this key activity. Middle managers and key worker specialists play an important role in supporting the introduction of new ways of working in their local envi- ronments. Tey will need support to change themselves, as well as applying coaching skills to change others.

Developing skills and commitment

Change programmes are most successful when a strong, shared sense of commitment and urgency to deliver real and lasting change has been developed. Tis means that new skills are required, not just to deal with specific areas, but also to enhance confidence to try out new ways. How can this be achieved?

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Development and ‘open space’ ses- sions, aimed at bringing out issues and developing change leaders.

Change management programme events, to raise competency levels in key areas and build support networks.


Wider development for all those involved, not just selected groups, to raise awareness and promote discussion.


Inserting change management as a key theme into existing corporate development programmes to further the change agenda.


Mentoring and coaching key people to strengthen implementation and work through personal and local blocks and barriers.

Few successful interventions are ‘off the shelf ’; the majority tackle the key issues facing the organisation in a structured way, identifying the key competencies needed to address them.

Use of tools and approaches to change

Te last decade has seen a spread of tools and approaches to change which many organisations find offer them valuable assistance in managing and facilitating change. Many provide a philosophy, as well as a template, framework or check list for approaching change. Te best-known is probably

Kotter’s eight-step process for leading change,3

which offers a strong guide

to the major pitfalls in strategic organisation transformations, together with guidance on how to avoid them. Many of Kotter’s observations apply equally to smaller, more tactical, changes. Subsequent work by Kotter4 describes an approach to using a network of semi-autonomous teams to keep an organisation ‘change ready’. Balogun and Hope Hailey’s

Change Kaleidoscope5 offers a helpful

framework of options for approaching and implementing strategic change. Prosci’s ADKAR6

offers a high-level

methodology for managing the change process, especially the human side of change (similar to the marketing ‘AIDA’ framework). Six Sigma and Lean approaches may drive changes, but also offer philosophies and useful toolsets.7 All these approaches have value.

It is important that everyone in the organisation has a common way of understanding how change works for them, and that they apply common principles to every part of the organisation.

change category, NHS Leadership Academy & Alliance Manchester Business School whose programme: ‘“Changing the Leadership Culture in the English National Health Service: Building Care and Compassion into the Leadership DNA” included a blended learning experience, combining online and experiential learning. Tis included a bespoke virtual campus and interactive case studies based on real patient scenarios, to create a learning environment that directly addressed fundamental NHS leadership challenges. Te TJ Awards 2015 Change

Management winner, Q5 Partners and News UK, is another example of an organisational transformation which is impressive in scope and significance. Te complex transformation process was sustained across multiple organisations and over three years. It included fundamental changes to both technology and work processes, and the need to engage in excess of 2,000 stakeholders – all while maintaining a consistent daily output of news. 

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Organisational examples of successful change initiatives

Te EFMD, Management Develop- ment Network, 2016 Gold Award winning organisations8


the trends we have described here. Te winners feature a spread of organisations and a range of chosen methods, but the single-minded focus on change is a critical common theme. Professor Eric Cornuel, CEO

and Director General, EFMD, commented: “Tis year’s winners clearly show that L&D must be closely linked to organisational strategy, involve a partnership model in design and execution, measure and show impact, and have a strong focus on the personal growth, values and behaviours of individuals taking part.” Examples of successful change include, in the leadership culture

Change leadership involves attention to the political ‘temperature’ of a change initiative

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