Rough Guide to Organizational Change Blog Series

Picture the scene: you’re a senior leader in a large global company, you probably have numerous physical assets all over the world and tens of thousands of bright, ambitious, highly educated and rational employees.

Through mergers and acquisitions, the organization you’re leading has pulled a diverse collection of companies and cultures under one banner. That has brought huge challenges as well as great opportunities. You’ve personally enjoyed some big wins in the past and have learned how to lead successfully in some complicated situations. You have beaten adversity before.

But things don’t get any easier. With the specter of corporate governance looming, you recognize the need to put in place more effective standards and frameworks. At the same time you realize that over-control may disengage your people. Meanwhile City analysts are looking for something new, having lost faith that steps taken in the past such as acquisition or cost cutting will still create sustainable value. So what do you do? How do you take a big step in the right direction?

We believe success in this new context requires a new stance on leadership. What mostly worked well in the past – clear strategy, wise decision-making and a tough focus on the numbers – is now taken as standard by the market and discounted. What you really need to do is change the way your people think and behave across the board. You need to achieve effective leadership and teamwork at all levels.

The challenge is not a new one. However, we believe there is a growing body of evidence that suggests a new paradigm in organizational change: a complicated set of principles needs to be applied in order to succeed. Miss out even some of these aspects and success may pass you by. These principles of how to engage your whole organization can be summarized into three key points:

Create an emotional connection to the journey:
Because people are influenced far more powerfully by their desires than they are by other factors such as authority, rationality or repetition. And our desires are driven by our emotions.
Understand the important pre-requisites for learning: 
Because ultimately the thing we desire most is the joy of learning from success. But as we grow older and more successful, we find it ever harder to learn and apply new things.
Understand the skills of successful implementation:
Because people only really learn when they are winning through real challenges inside their own organization. So it follows that this learning can only happen when an organization becomes really good at implementation.
Underlying these three points are some major implications key principles that we believe are important for an effective leader to know and understand.

Rupert Hucker

Rupert founded Evolve Partners in 2000 based on an idea about how business consulting should be different – that clients should truly develop and learn from the process as well as achieving major financial benefits. Since then, he has helped many clients achieve significant shifts in profitability with further results continuing to be delivered long after the engagement has ended. As CEO, Rupert is responsible for guiding the firm as it continues its path of successful growth, and for overall governance and the development of Evolve’s unique brand and culture.