Change Management

The Importance of Change Management

Change Management is a structured approach to moving something from its current state to a future, usually improved, state. Change is arguably the most important element of successful business management. For organisations to remain competitive in an increasingly dynamic and challenging marketplace, they have to change - and keep on changing.

So change management has become an essential part of the manager’s function; the changes can be small, for example within a specific team or department, through to something which reaches everyone in the business. One of the challenges of modern management/leadership is to create the time and space to manage change, especially given the pressures to keep 'the handles turning' which inevitably leads to producing 'more of the same'.

Against this background, catalysts or change agents in the form of external services may be necessary to achieve an improved state. This is where ACUITY can help, especially in business transformations .

Business Transformation

Business Transformation describes the way in which organisations radically change, usually in order to re-align the business with a specific strategy. Typically this involves people, process and systems changes which need to be delivered in order to produce a step change within the business.

Business Process Re-Engineering (BPR)

The radical reinvention of how businesses do their work was championed by Michael Hammer who, in 1990, published an article in the Harvard Business Review in which he claimed that the major challenge for managers is to obliterate non-value adding work, rather than using technology for automating it. In 1993, with James Champy, he wrote “Reengineering the Corporation” which set in motion a wave of activity to 're-engineer' business processes. Many who followed failed to understand the revolutionary nature of Hammer and Champy’s proposals, so the meaning and general practice of Business Process Re-engineering became somewhat diluted. Nevertheless, business process analysis and redesign has become widely accepted as a standard part of change management methodology.

Business transformations may be necessary, for example in the case of acquisitions and mergers, where the entire enterprise is subjected to change. Alternatively, companies may choose to transform functions or processes within the business, for example, procurement. When transforming functions, it is important to determine both the scope of the changes and the impact of the changes across the entire enterprise. ACUITY can provide the tools to do this.

Too often companies change their organisations or attempt to implement generic business models without understanding the implications. Whilst the scope of a proposed transformation may be generic, the impact will be unique to each particular business. Essential elements of “what we do now” can be missed with disastrous consequences for customer service or the security of the business. Whilst business process re-engineering may advocate throwing away the old process model, to do so without understanding what it delivers is an extremely risky strategy.

Business Process Management (BPM)

More recently, the concept of Business Process Management has gained major attention in the corporate world and is considered by some to be a successor to BPR. Business Process Management is the application of knowledge, skills, tools, techniques and systems to define, visualise, measure, control, report and improve 'the way we do what we do' in business. BPM promotes business effectiveness, efficiency and flexibility, attempting to improve processes continuously and in a less radical way than BPR. It is argued that BPM enables organizations to be more efficient, more effective and more capable of change than a functionally focused, traditional hierarchical management approach.

Despite these advances, many organisations, including advocates of BPM and continuous improvement, fail to realize the full potential of process redesign. Hammer’s original assertion cannot be dismissed: in computerizing and automating processes, companies still fail to eliminate bureaucracy, eradicate non-value adding activity and optimize their processes. Furthermore, both BPR and BPM may focus on process and technology with insufficient regard for the people aspects of change.

Stakeholder Engagement

Stakeholder Engagement is a critical factor in the success of business change, especially business transformations, which may require significant cultural change. The design of effective processes and application of appropriate technology is not enough to ensure success. Insufficient acceptance and adoption of the new processes, arising from inadequate engagement of stakeholders, is a common cause of transformation failures.

To engage stakeholders fully there are 7 areas we will address:
     1.  Sponsorship:  Ensuring sponsorship for the change at a senior executive level from both internal ‘supplier’ and ‘customer’ perspectives.
     2.  Involvement:  Involving the right people in the design and implementation of changes, to make sure the right changes are made.
     3.  Impact:  Assessing and addressing how the changes will affect people.
     4.  Communication:  Telling everyone who's affected about the changes.
     5.  Readiness:  Getting people ready for the changes, by ensuring they have the right information, training and help.
     6.  Responsibilities:  Ensuring people understand and accept their responsibilities, and are held accountable.
     7.  Compliance:  Addressing resistance; in most cases revisiting 1-6 above, but occasionally requiring the removal of negative influences.

Additional political and organisational issues will need attention, depending on the nature of the changes. Organisation must not be in conflict with process, but good processes often allow organisational flexibility.

Above all, good process need not be bureaucratic. Our aims are to share and encourage good practice, guiding people to operate effectively and efficiently, without stifling innovation and the opportunity to improve or to ‘go the extra mile’.

ACUITY can help and lead you in managing change:

     Understanding your business drivers, and how value is added
     Identifying opportunities to make radical improvements
     Engaging and empowering stakeholders, facilitating cultural change
     Re-designing processes and supporting systems, implementing and bedding in
     Making 'the way you do things' robust and non-bureaucratic.

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