We’ve all heard that change is the new norm, but are we now skilled at enabling it? Large-scale transformational change requires catalytic leadership skills and vision. This can be hard to do when juggling the day job with its typically short term, urgent timeframes.
Rose Padfield from The Padfield Partnership is an Organisational Design Consultant, Coach and Coach Supervisor with 20 years’ experience in organisation, team and individual development within a UK, European and global context.
Outlined below is a case study on how Rose helped a major UK organisation address a large transformation project. We hope it gives you some insights and food for thought. In subsequent articles, she will delve into some of the key principles involved in leading organisational change.
A major UK employer, with a wide range of professions and levels - and the hierarchical culture to match - was embarking on a period of sustained and accelerated change in order to maintain its global reputation and increase operating efficiency.
Our role was to create a methodology and to train their top 250 leaders in that methodology enabling them to lead the organisation through change. Our aim was to ensure their impact aligned across the business so that the whole was greater than the sum of the parts.
The Change Framework
We designed a framework that included a narrative and a practical toolkit. To compliment this, we developed and ran a series of two-day workshops, delivered in a way that was highly experiential so that leaders could learn skills which would enhance their personal effectiveness, wellbeing and resilience.
This framework comprised three principles:
- Change starts with self (your mindset and behaviours)
- Focus both on your relationships and the tasks that need to be completed
- Being systemic in your approach is essential to deliver large scale business transformation
And six steps:
- Purpose – what’s the purpose/vision for the organisation, and how are you personally inspired by this?
- Diagnosis – what's your gap analysis (what and how)?
- Plan – what's your plan (with milestones and metrics)?
- Prepare People – how will you get your people ready to let go of the old ways and hitch up for the ride?
- Implement and Learn – where the rubber hits the road! Learn and iterate as you go, to make it safe
- Sustain – long-term success and sustainability, even when the transformation sponsor moves on
To assess the efficacy, we conducted a series of evaluation focus groups 6-12 months after delegates had attended. All participants reported having a greater recognition of the importance of staff feeling engaged in change and felt they were better equipped to engage staff in change.
Delegates fed back that they now have a more facilitative, open approach with their teams. This greater emphasis on supporting staff through change resulted in many positive outcomes. Such as:
- increased staff communication
- reduced staff anxiety
- an increase in retention
- complaints about the effects of change being withdrawn
- staff were more willing to lead in change efforts
- better cross-functional collaboration within the teams involved
The Padfield Partnership were recently announced as finalists for an Association of Business Psychology award for successfully using psychology in business. We will be sharing our learnings at their conference in October.
In our next article from Rose, she’ll share some of the questions you should be asking when creating a framework, and what she learnt from this organisational transformation.