Saturday, August 30, 2014

You want real change? Get involved

Recently, we had to design a change management program for a set of people. Now, for most change management programs there are two objectives. One is the actual change - the change needed - the cultural change and the effectiveness of it and so on. But, there is a second unstated objective - signalling. Telling the powers that be that 'I am working on it', 'creating noise' and 'some event management'. All too often, the second objective overtakes the first.

With the result that there is a lot of short term happiness of something being rolled out, the sound of boxes being ticked, but without an eye on the real (actual) change that is expected as an outcome. Usually, the shortest path to get there is to get a training consultant - usually a marquee consultant with a big name. Now, nothing wrong with this - but the risk of doing this is to kind of place your second objective before the first. On the other hand, it is smarter to get an organizational consultant who will work with you over time - with a neutral perspective - and yet work with you to achieve the change - by understanding the culture and the need for change and driving it.

Alongwith this, if you want real change and you want the first objective to be met - it is very important for your senior leaders to be part of it. And when I say part of it, viscerally part of it. (In the previous example that I had mentioned the senior leaders led teams from the front - part of every single meeting and stood up on stage to make core technical presentations.)

I also remember two great leadership engagements where the leadership team spent two days with the team on a very 'different' assignment - the immersion that you get out of such a program can be never be got by a vendor driven program.

The moral of the story being - if you want real change, it is important that you are neck deep in the process. Roll up your sleeves and be a part of it - whethere at design or at implementation or at follow up. The commitment from the leaders drives change better than any slogan or campaign. Simply, this cannot be outsourced!

1 comment:

  1. Hi Neel - this is very true! no change can be sustainable unless it is internally driven and senior leaders are intimately involved...very good article with practical implications for all of us!

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