Org Change services are based on the premise that increasing our client's strategic capability creates value for them. Rather than consultant heavy programs, Org Change services are delivered through low touch, high leverage interventions, usually with a small number of consultants providing assistance to key personnel who retain accountability and responsibility for the change. Because these services are conducted through members of the client organisation, skills and capabilities are developed and accountability is strengthened. We also accommodate the needs of clients undertaking major transformations, especially where opportunities are time critical and specific resources are scarce, by providing a short-term infusion of highly skilled consultants who support teams in meeting their current challenge.
Our services fit into three categories:
The success of any strategy is scored when decisions and action meet the marketplace. If your strategy doesn’t make sense to those who have to implement it, if there is little or no ownership, or if the value proposition does not appeal, success is unlikely. Of course, arriving at a successful strategy isn’t easy. Traditionalists might suggest that success is about market position, resource allocation and data analysis but astute strategists will talk of a more human element; of perception, foresight and negotiation.
At Org Change we see strategy through a multidisciplinary and participative lens, and success less as a one-shot episode and more as a continual, if not at times dramatic, repositioning. Successful strategies leverage technology, economics, decision-making, psychology and social construction of a way forward. They employ both commitment to achieve and flexibility to the feedback from taking action. These are a tall order requiring the best from well-developed leaders and organisational systems that are supportive of the challenges of operating in volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous environments. That’s why the development of leadership capacity is a critical pillar of the strategy services Org Change provides, as is systems thinking.
And while the development of key areas such as leadership; strategic thinking; analysis and decision making; participation and engagement are critical to strategic success, capabilities alone are insufficient. It is, after all, in the application of capabilities to the challenge at hand that value is created. That’s why at Org Change our focus is on capability development and human processes. This dual focus means that when we work with your team, you can expect enhanced collaboration and more constructive, decisive and committed behaviours.
At Org Change, implementation is about much more than getting things done. Our implementation services are about getting results. That’s why we contextualise our change management methodology within the client organisation’s strategy.
Our change management methodology is a rigorous approach that maintains focus on the key aspects of each stage of the project and beyond, paying particular attention to the effects the project is actually having; both desired and unanticipated. And while our change management methodology is rigorous, it is also flexible and able to respond quickly to unexpected information or events. After all, people, the soul of every organisation, can respond to change in surprising ways.
In the early stages, the change management methodology focuses on the 3Ds: the Destination or goal, the Dynamics – as revealed through analysis and diagnosis, and Design – which is the overarching approach or change strategy. These, and the phases that follow on, pursue a cyclical process of planning and development, action, monitoring and feedback. The Org Change methodology integrates well with both agile and traditional project management approaches, and includes a stream dedicated to benefits management.
Results – Alignment with the goal
On the one hand, projects and change management programs have resulted in improved outcomes for organisations. As an example, a substantial number of workshops are successfully run, education programs attended, and new technology, business processes, and organisational structures installed. On the other hand though, the anticipated benefits associated with such investments have proved much more elusive, especially over the longer-term. Our experience indicates that real benefits flow only when the whole organisation, horizontally and vertically, is operating in alignment with its strategy and environment. Our experience also suggests the most pernicious causes of poor performance are those deep-seated, protracted problems that, if they were easy, would have been addressed a long time ago. Areas such as power, politics, mental models, systems design, leadership and people processes are most often safe havens for ways of working that may have been successful in the past but which are now outdated.
Addressing long-standing performance requires leaders to exercise courage, expertise, empathy and patience. Our team has been successfully helping leadership teams wrestle with poor performance and win for decades. Our approach is systemic, rigorous and flexible. It addresses both the strengths and constraints across the entire organisational system. Rather than undertake the uncomfortable work on behalf of the client, we help teams frame problem solving within the performance data, addressing behaviour and its impact on performance rather than personalities. In addition our approach seeks to build capability and accountability of the entire team as well as develop a clear understanding of the organisational system, its performance goals, and the roles and processes that enable these to be achieved. As a result of seeing the system, alignment can be achieved without sacrificing responsiveness to external forces. And through aligning the system everyone is contributing to the strategic goals.
Org Change diagnostic services are an effective and efficient way to gain access to meaningful and current data from within and outside your organisation. The power of these activities lies in the collaborative methodology used to guide collection and interpretation of data, and which facilitates the development of situation-specific insights. These insights mean judgement and decision-making improve, along with the probability of success.
• Design and manage data collection activities
• Provide training to your team that will enhance your evidence-based insight capability
• Facilitate and contribute to sense making through our Insight methodology
• Compile data and facilitate its interpretation
• Design elicitation tools such as questionnaires, focus groups, dataset extraction, and data collection monitoring processes
Our analytic activities are typically aimed at generating insights that help:
• Inform the development of strategy
• Inform the development of change programs including aiding decisions on what and how to change
• Identify previously masked problems inhibiting performance
• Guide continuous improvement
At Org Change we have been developing leaders for decades, so we know how important it is for leaders to enhance their skills in order to meet new and evolving challenges. We believe that for leadership development to be successful it has to be framed within two important conditions. First, it has to be a catalyst for change – spurring the work of teams towards creating the great organisation envisioned. Second, it requires feedback from its application in a real-world setting in order to build a leader’s confidence. And a leader without healthy confidence is not yet a leader.
So, up front we design not just an educational experience, but a change program that facilitates development, builds confidence and creates new capability through its application. In other words, our designs overcome the risks associated with participants returning from an external program only to fall prey to the organisation’s dynamics and revert to old ‘survival’ behaviours.
Org Change leadership programs also benefit from our close ties with the academic community which are reflected in our fresh and up-to-date content. This same academic relationship contributes to design that also benefit from the latest development methods. These include flipped classrooms, leader-led programs, mixed methods delivery and unique methods for creating input (such as feedback and feed-forward), the development of peer networks, and reflection.
There seem to be as many formula for the development of strategy as there are recipes for any particular group of foods. And, as with cooking, there are methods in common with most strategy development processes, including many we use at Org Change. Yet, in spite of this commonality, too often the development of winning strategies remains precarious. Many point to the complexity of analysing the market dynamics, competitor positions and moves, and the pace of technological and social change as the critical factor. This is important and challenging work. However, given these factors are also the same for the organisation that succeeds in your sector, it’s hard to argue that any of these are as the most critical element. At Org Change we recognise that often, successful strategies are not the most complex. They are instead the simplest. This simplicity can mask the hard work that goes into arriving at elegant insights that in turn open up unique positions. Our strategic process challenges both what strategists look at and how they perceive it. Our process helps make clear how the patterns of the past constrain creativity, and how forming new connections can illuminate options previously out of sight due to old thinking.
Whether you need help with preparing for an uncertain future using scenario planning or innovation, clarifying your Purpose or establishing your Vision, improving governance or succession, developing or implementing your strategy, devising a new business model or helping your team think differently, it makes good sense to explore what Org Change can bring to the conversation.
Transformation and Change Management
Transformations are notoriously difficult with much public data on the likelihood of success tending towards pessimism. The data also suggests that, while there are many successful ‘installations’ – such as new technology, changes to organisational structure, or acquisitions – these same projects fail to produce anticipated returns over short, medium or long-term horizons. At Org Change, we see these installations as often necessary components of an overall strategy but insufficient in and of themselves. Our approach, derived from our own research and that of global longitudinal studies, is holistic and takes into account the interrelatedness of organisational systems. The Org Change methodology leads to substantial improvements in system-wide transparency, the development of a broader array of options, and the development of cross-functional support for the implementation approach of choice. The results are improved outcomes, reduced risks, an accelerated transformation process, and an uplift in the skills and confidence of your team.
Past clients have engaged Org Change to help:
• Establish a diagnosis that reveals the true nature of both opportunity and challenge facing the organisation;
• Bridge the strategy / implementation divide;
• Develop governance, change management, and benefits realisation strategies and plans for imminent programs of work;
• Guide the design of key interventions including the organisational design, culture change and strategic alignment programs;
• Provide additional short-term resources to supplement existing teams and help address matters of strategic urgency like a merger or acquisition;
• Design, develop and deliver programs that meet the skills needs of the new strategy.
Frequently, organisations assign people to change projects who have been successful in other aspects of the organisation. Often this is undertaken with at least two goals in mind for team members and the organisation; to deliver a successful project and to develop the skills required of a successful career and an agile organisation. We think these goals make perfect sense. In fact, we are of the view that the phenomenon of ‘change managers’ assuming much of the heavy lifting in projects is an old paradigm fad that has the potential to have detrimental effects to the organisation. Firstly, having external ‘change managers’ increases direct project costs. Secondly, it can create dependency on external capability which can weaken the culture and the ability for an organisation to learn and adjust; a necessary capabilities for sustainable return on change investment.
To help organisations achieve their dual project and development goals, Org Change has developed a methodology that is both powerful yet simple to grasp and apply. It aligns the divergent goals of team constituents with those of the organisation. Unlike other approaches ours improves project timelines and quality as well as transparency. And because it is open and flexible, it has broad utility and the organisation is not bound to proprietary content, subscriptions or contracts. That said, has much to offer at a content level too. Our extensive knowledge and experience in organisational change and transformation, can be offered as ‘just-in-time’ capability development through a range of delivery methods. These can be coupled with the right mix of coaching and mentoring to build confidence (not dependency), lead to deep learning and positive project outcomes.
• Mentor senior team members
• Provide training and skills development in organisational change
• Help with transitioning groups of individuals through forming and storming to effective, and productive change teams
Transformations typically go through planning processes that lead to an allocation and approval of people and financial resource to a project. Ideally planning is preceded, and informed by, a diagnosis which informs the design and planning stages. Even after thorough preparatory activities, and as implementation gets under way, new or different information invariably comes to light. This seems to be the nature of change. There is no way of knowing or anticipating everything that needs to be known before the project gets under way. And that’s why monitoring the change and feeding back the resulting information into the design and planning processes is so essential.
Feedback is the lifeblood of the Org Change methodology. It gives those in a steering committee or other governance role invaluable, real-time data against which decisions and commitments can be evaluated and an opportunity to make fully informed, high-quality decisions on how best to proceed. It gives designers insight into what worked well, and what didn’t, and importantly why. It provides project managers an opportunity to make adjustments to schedules so as to maintain overall momentum. And it creates real input into organisational learning processes, putting the organisation into a better position for current and future projects.
Our methodology also assists in the development of governance skills. It brings mechanisms for interpreting the data. It brings counsel which helps build confidence on where to act and when; to nip an unforeseen outcome in the bud or to allow it to take root and pursue a helpful natural course. And it encourages the team to work with the movement of the system, not to fight against it.
Org Change can help strengthen change governance mechanisms through:
• Developing governance processes from the outset, integrating design and monitoring processes to deliver high quality data and project transparency;
• Providing education, coaching and mentoring to those in a governance role;
• Participating in governance processes as an unbiased, outside expert in change;
• Undertaking a one-off change audit and review.
Cited as one of the most common change interventions, most reorganisations focus on optimising an organisational design by adjusting the shape and relationships of the organisational chart. And while the organisational chart is a reasonable vehicle for communication, it falls woefully short as a design tool. Take, for example, the important aspect of governance, often missing from an org chart. When it is included, it does not speak to the intent of the owners in establishing the composition and mechanisms of the board and various sub-committees. Or of teams; their goals, their degree of autonomy, and overall rhythms and routines. Also missing from an organisational chart are representations of less visible but highly important aspects such as power, social connectivity, and culture. Cross-function coordination mechanisms, so important to effective delivery and customer satisfaction aren’t represented on the organisational chart either. And of course, the organisational chart is unsuitable as a vehicle to describe performance monitoring, measurement or feedback mechanisms. Lastly, whilst the jury is still out on the value of hierarchy, the org chart really is a relic that reinforces century-old thinking.
Today, fortunately, organisational design has moved well beyond structure. At Org Change our focus is on holistic organisational designs that enable your strategy. Our capability helps organisations design and incorporate flexibility into their organisation without sacrificing efficiency. We help navigate the tensions between the formality of decision making and the timeliness expected of customer-driven marketplaces; between divergent interests and shared vision and goals; between information needs and processing capabilities and that of collaboration and team commitment to delivery; and between predictability and agility. Our designs play a critically important role in aligning organisational systems. They help reinforce sustainability and productivity, contribute to a culture of responsibility and accountability, and they help motivate your team to make the vision a reality. We are at the forefront of new forms of organisations, where networks of capabilities respond to fleeting market opportunities and where authority gives way to negotiation and partnership.
Teams are microcosms of the organisation. They influence performance, culture, leadership and business planning to name a few. Get mission critical teams working effectively and results will follow. Or so some theory goes. Teams, though, are substantially influenced by other teams, the design of the organisation, its systems and its culture. As is the case with all our interventions, at Org Change we take a wider systemic view of team performance. We do this to ensure successes attained through development work are not extinguished as the larger system responds to the newly established team dynamics. This systemic view does not mean we take our eye off work at the grassroots. To the contrary, we have extensive experience in facilitating and designing team roles and responsibilities, establishing agreements and reinforcing accountability, in developing flexible modes of leadership and collaboration and designing the work and people processes that support them, in establishing healthy levels of conflict that enhance decision-making effectiveness, not getting bogged down in it.
We also help teams enhance capability that supports them dealing with ever escalating expectations and making sense of increasing complexity, of re-framing perceptions and developing new mindsets and mental models, and in ensuring the right relationships are established and maintained, especially on their boundaries.
Often our work starts at the executive team level where the greatest leverage for change is found. This is not our only starting place. We are mindful that success can breed further success and are fervent advocates of strengthening teams that are enthusiastic and motivated. ….
Organisational performance has become more fleeting as the pace of technological change impacts on innovation, and national borders give way to the global village. Management practices acquired at the beginning of one’s career, and the mental models on which they were founded, are insufficient for sustaining performance in the current millennium. Innovation and network relationships have obliterated barriers to entry and opened a floodgate of new entrants hungry to disrupt business models that have been comparatively stable for decades. Low interest rates and angel funding have made access to financial resources easier, reducing or removing completely one of the most powerful constraints of innovation and competition of the last century. As a result customer expectations, and their ability to switch, has dramatically altered expectancy curves of business life-cycles.
The need for organisations to respond, and to respond astutely, cannot be understated.
The keys to success in managing performance today lie in the tensions between stability and agility; in maximising profits that are the lifeblood of sustainability and in innovating to develop a pipeline of new opportunities that excite the market and fit the shape of today’s “S” curve. Today, continuous improvement requires new capabilities and new working relationships. It requires alignment around the strategy and attention to old tensions that have proved too difficult in the past. Tensions like the reality of collaboration being undeniably critical to success, yet performance systems retaining an overwhelming individualist orientation, have to be addressed if all available effort is to be focused on the main objective. Org Change can help identify and re-purpose these individual-oriented systems, bringing them into alignment with, and fully supporting, the strategy and vision. We help establish continuous improvement capability that goes well beyond the buzz words of yesterday, bridging not just the gap between customer and delivery, but between divergent interests of stakeholders and their remnant, energy-depleting systems. We help improve information flows, collaboration and customer ‘moments of truth’ and assist in identifying and addressing inappropriate behaviour, poor communication and other dysfunctions constraining the organisation.