We have developed our change management skills in the reality of multi million pound mergers and responding to recessions, market changes and opportunities. Here is an example of how we worked with an MD through an MBO
Rather than a change management methodology we believe you need an approach which recognises the mix of the human needs and the wider environment.
This is best summed up in Chip and Dan Heath’s book
Switch which discusses the three elements involved in getting people to change using the simile of the elephant and rider on the path. The elephant represents the emotional instinctive behaviour of people, the rider the rational thinking part and the path the external environment.
Leadership of successful change management in any business means engaging all three parts of this simile; thus, for example, the rider needs facts and achievable goals with actionable small steps. They tell the story of public health officials wanting to encourage weight loss but rather than trying to address a range of issues they focused on one small change, getting people to move from full fat to semi skimmed milk, doable, achievable and actionable for the rational rider. We look for quick wins that encourage people to believe that change is possible.
But facts are not enough, a spreadsheet of data needs to be translated into a hard hitting emotional message to engage the elephant. The example given was about a large business and their purchasing policy which was out of control. The director could have provided the data on the 300 types of gloves purchased by the business across the world and the fact that the same glove was being provided at different prices by different suppliers but instead he bought a sample of all 300 gloves, put the price paid as a tag on each and piled all of them on the board room table. This had impact and in fact the business toured the pile of gloves around its factories.
When we undertake change management consultancy we look to find equally innovative and creative ways to encourage emotional impact.
The final element is the path, it is easier to lose weight if you don’t have chocolate biscuits in front of you; it is easier to do the right thing if you have a check list to remind you or the machine is set up to prevent a particular behaviour. ATMs when launched had a problem with people leaving their cash cards, the banks could have started an educational campaign to change behaviour, but easier was to just make it impossible to get your money without taking your card.