Hiring a Business Change professional is the key to running a successful change programme

Article By
James Cumming
James Cumming
Posted On14th September 2021
Posted On14th September 2021
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Some things never change. However, some things have to change for the sake of progression. Without moving forward, we run the risk of becoming stagnant. This is where a change programme comes in.

Business Change can be a complex and challenging undertaking. It could be focused on either a strategic, technological, process or organisational change. However, it shouldn’t be confused with projects or programmes of work. The big difference for me is the breadth and the impact, plus the time it takes to embed the change.

Many senior executives are aggressively trying to transform businesses across the globe. Hoping to cut costs and improve performance by introducing innovative technology and changing behaviours and capabilities throughout organisations.

Although change is an integral factor in the running of a business, according to McKinsey, 70% of change programs will fail. But is this true? They make the case that failure is largely due to employee resistance and lack of management support.


Why do change programs fail?

Businesses spend millions of pounds on new technology, developing highly-skilled programme teams to implement it 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 is, in my opinion, due to businesses forgetting something extremely key – people. Unfortunately, management consultants and IT services firms, are paid to get the new operating model or piece of IT in place, it is often not one of their main tasks to focus on the longer term – the people impact.

Any change, whether it be a technological, organisational, or even a minor process change, isn’t a short-term thing, it has to be embedded with the people impacted. To ensure that they truly understand how their day to day working practices will change going forward and to get them on board. It can take time, but it’s so important to ensure the whole company moves to the new way of working.

Change is rarely functional, so the governance has to be right. If you want to see change across functions, the person leading the change has to drive it at the board level with board-level support.

This is where a change expert comes in. “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?”

They will help plot how that journey will take place and make sure communication is clear. Whilst explaining why you’re making the change, what behaviour is expected and get buy-in from everyone.

The most important part of progression is to truly embrace the change, implementing this can often take a long time and can be a tricky thing to truly embed. To do this effectively, you need People Change experts who can work alongside a client’s internal team to deliver the change. Then, upskill, transition, and embed it, until you and the client are confident that this new approach is working as it should do.


If you decide that a People Change expert is needed – how do you know what to look out for to ensure your change programme is a success?

  • A track record of delivering change related assignments. (Change assignments are typically ambiguous in nature and differ enormously from BAU roles, which are more process orientated).
  • They should be an expert in their chosen field and can demonstrate their success with tangible results.
  • Must come with a pre-prepared kit bag of tools that can be used immediately, with an ability to implement these from day one.
  • They are happy to challenge the status quo, benefitting the client without a personal agenda. (Therefore interim managers shouldn’t be considering permanent appointments).


James Cumming is our MD and leads our Interim Transformation practice. If you’ve got a hard-to-fill role and need some help, get in touch. Connect with him on LinkedIn here.

If you would like to find out more about re:find and how we can support you and your business, then please get in touch.


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