Implementing organizational changes and developing leaders to sustain them

Taugher Change Catalyst Consulting

“Life is change; growth is optional. Choose wisely.”


Leading Organizational Change

C. David Taugher, Ph.D.

Why is it so difficult to engage an executive team to initiate that long overdue change process, or to commit the team to an organizational transformation that positions your company for 21st century growth and scalability?

The answer is quite simple and yet very powerful -- executives have the greatest motivation to protect the status quo -- after all, they built it. They also have the most to lose if the change does not go well. They have committed entire careers to reaching the “pinnacle of success”. A string of success stories has brought them to the executive suite. Why change now? As bright, committed, and forward-looking as they may be, even executives find disrupting the status quo a difficult hurdle to overcome. We find changing from the status quo a difficult and sometimes painful experience. Most of us simply avoid it.

John Kotter, a noted author on organizational change and leader behavior in a change process, believes an executive’s history of success creates a barrier to that same executive pursuing change - seeking new ways of doing things. Leaders intuitively realize that change is inevitable, and those who get ahead of the change curve often have the greatest success and rewards.

Initiating a change process, however, does not come naturally for most leaders. They need motivation or a stimulus to embrace change. Sometimes financial results are so bad, a draconian change is required. Sometimes a competitor captures market share and threatens the enterprise. Sometimes key executives leave the organization, necessitating a different approach to achieving results. In addition, sometimes a new technology disrupts the status quo. All of these events cause executives to consider change, but considering a change program and actually doing one are two different things. Many executives have limited experience planning and executing change management, but are forced into doing it by any of the aforementioned scenarios.

“Leading Organizational Change” is a service that provides an approach with clear steps to facilitate an organizational change process. Your leadership team learns a change management framework, including specific tools and techniques, to address critical organizational levers that initiate organizational change. Steps to implement a change management process are discussed, with a focus on enabling participants to disrupt the “status quo,” to get executives initiating change rather than reacting to it. We help the executive learn what must be done, then coach them through the entire process of assessment, planning, and implementation, and measurement and communication. Our process helps executives better understand their own strengths and opportunities, as well as executive team development. We learn as we do, and the process actually accelerates organizational change.

Meaningful change generally occurs at a pace where executive managers can effectively lead the change, and the organization can effectively embrace the changes happening. If the pace is too slow, changes do not take effect or show meaningful results. If the pace is too fast, leaders lose focus, or associates can become overwhelmed.

Since “working with people” is considered an HR practitioner strength, they are often called on to assist the CEO and other executives to initiate organizational changes. With a process to follow and commitment of the executive team to participate, the HR leader can be an effective catalyst for change, an inspiration for executive team members to follow.

Below is a change management process we customize based on client situations as appropriate to address specific issues and concerns. There are five phases in the process, each phase color coded differently to reflect differences in deliverables from each phase.

Organizational Change Process Model

Organizational Change Process Model

Implementing a change process is typically a 6 - to 18 - month assignment involving:

  1. Assessing organization and management team strengths, issues, and opportunities worth pursuing
  2. An off-site workshop to share assessment findings and engage the executive team to identify appropriate actions based on the assessment results
  3. Planning sessions to create (or confirm) longer term strategies and short-term goals and objectives
  4. A series of meetings for managers to identify and agree on their respective roles and responsibilities, clarify and integrate those roles with other executives, and put in place any changes necessary to sustain the changes
  5. Developing and implementing management processes that ensure or make doing the actual work is accomplished consistently executed and with high quality
  6. Management training that provides leaders a language and cadre of tools to initiate a change process with middle managers and others
  7. Learning a problem solving approach to implement process improvements
  8. Restructuring or redeploying organizational resources to better suit a changing business landscape

Many benefits are achieved by implementing management change:

  1. Improving results through better planning and decision-making
  2. Reducing cost and improving quality initiatives (process improvement)
  3. Leadership development - learning tools/techniques to solve problems
  4. Developing high performance work teams (getting the most out of teams)
  5. Improving individual performance and style using executive coaching
  6. Initiating culture change by improving communication
  7. Implementing performance management changes to measure meaningful behavior change effectively.