Identify the Current Constraints on Your Company’s Progress

Imagine you are a new CEO, looking at your company with fresh eyes. Ask yourself: What function or resource most constrains our progress? Where would the smallest improvement yield the biggest impact on our business? In other words, you need to identify your “Herbie-group.” Are you limited by how well field staff in sales, operations, or customer support translate new offerings, new markets, or improved … [ Read more ]

Develop Your “Talking Points”

Develop your “stump speech” or “talking points” among your management team before any of you heads out to give your version to the rest of the organization. This generally includes messages around your Change Drivers, Focus and Context (vision, values, and purpose), key goals and priorities, change/improvement plans, and such.

Snowball Sampling: Identifying People with Informal Influence

Employee resistance is the most common reason executives cite for the failure of big organizational-change efforts. Companies need to develop strong change leaders employees know and respect—in other words, people with informal influence. But there’s one problem: finding them. How can company leaders identify those people beforehand to better harness their energy, creativity, and goodwill—and thereby increase the odds of success?

One way we’ve found … [ Read more ]

Measuring Change Implementation Effectiveness

Metrics are as important for change initiatives as for any other aspect of running a business. If you are embarking on a change initiative, it is important to monitor how well it is going. One useful item to track is employee engagement and understanding. Do your employees understand the reasons for the change, the goal of the change and what their role in the change … [ Read more ]

Implementing Change? Poll Your Employees

In almost every large-change effort the change agent finds at least four identifiable groups of people – those who immediately support the change, those who are skeptical, those who are opposed to it on a rational basis, and those who are implacably opposed and cannot be convinced to change their minds, at least through rational argument. Here’s an idea: put a poll on the company … [ Read more ]

Enlist Sponsors at Every Level with a Sponsorship Spine

Change depends on the effectiveness of those providing the consequences – the sponsors of the change. But sponsorship is a cascading process and a “black hole” anywhere along the line will stop the change process below it. That’s why it’s essential to build a Sponsorship Spine from the bottom up. You can’t really appoint sponsors. You start by targeting the people who will need to … [ Read more ]

Conduct a Change Risk Assessment

Every change initiative has its own unique risk profile. Bain has identified 30 specific risks that threaten to disrupt change efforts, things like poor sponsorship and change overload. These risks tend to occur with predictable patterns over the life cycle of a change. But only a handful of these risks determine success or failure at each stage. At the beginning of a change initiative, for … [ Read more ]