The Business Change Journey

Posted on: 05/04/2016

Over the past number of years many people have asked me what is meant by the term ‘business change’ and why do we need it? Not being a subject matter expert myself, I thought who better to ask than my wife who a) is always right about stuff and b) just happens to be a Business Change expert. (Go on, have a nosy at her experience).

She explained that on one assignment, as she was going through security at JFK airport, she was asked to provide her job title (I’m sure many of us have had the confused look from security when you try to explain your profession – I’m a headhunter?!).

She clarified her role as “managing the journey we might go through when moving from one way of working to another”. The security guard re-clarified it for her “like ice melting to water, moving from one state to a different one?” and actually this made a lot of sense (more sense than going into any further detail at that moment, for anyone who has ever been through US passport control!).

So, simply put, Business Change is moving from one way of working to another and it could be focusing on either a strategic, technological, process or organisational change (or a combination of the four).

Businesses spend millions of pounds on new technology, developing highly skilled programme teams to implement and setting up new processes and ways of working to create supportive infrastructures. But in many cases adoption rates are low, new ways of working don’t work and businesses don’t get the return on investment they were hoping for. This can leave businesses wondering ‘what happened?’.

From experience, where businesses tend to fail, is thinking that the new way of working is the final destination for the project (this view is compounded by the fact that many businesses tend to remove project teams as soon as a change has been implemented with a view that things should just work as expected).

Any change, whether it be a technological, organisational or even a minor process change, has to be embedded with those impacted, ensuring that they truly understand how their day to day working practices have / will change going forward. This is why Business Change is so important. It ensures the company, not just the decision makers, moves to the new way of working.

“The role of a Change Expert will help stakeholders determine what the final destination actually looks like and then plots the journey to get there.”

A Change expert will support stakeholders and sponsors in gaining answers to the following questions:

  • What does the proposed culture look like?
  • Will individuals be bought into the change?
  • What reluctance is expected and how can we manage that?
  • How do we expect employees to behave and what knowledge do we want them to have?
  • Do they see the benefits and are they on board with making it a success?
  • “What does good actually look like?”

A Change Expert will help plot how that journey will take place, make sure everyone’s informed of the destination, get everyone a passport and ensure the employees get there, participating in the experience and supporting to achieve in the success.

This is the final destination of the change journey.