InsightChange Management
A chat about change

CBO has launched a new change management service aimed at helping our clients to accelerate their transformation and to adopt & embed the desired changes. Headed up by Dominic Ash and Kate Gibson, the offering provides a dedicated service to help our clients deal with transformation challenges and working with them to construct the right approach for their organisation. Dom (latte) and Kate (green tea) sat down over a drink to respond to some frequently asked change management questions:

What problems does change management solve?

Dom: Most often it is simply organisations struggling to make the change stick. This is usually due to a combination of factors including dis-engaged workforce, resistance, limited adoption, siloed working, lack of visible benefits etc. but each organisation will have its own unique set of challenges to overcome. Change Management is a structured approach to transitioning individuals, teams, and organisations from a current state to a desired future state. It’s about working at the organisational and individual level to create the required capability, and critically the commitment.

Why is change management becoming more popular within organisations?

Dom: We’re seeing an increasing number of our clients identifying the need for change management support, and there’s an increasing willingness to discuss change at the outset of engagements rather than reacting to it, often too late, as has been the case in the past. It’s no longer seen as a ‘dark-art’ and we’re keen to engage with our clients as much and as early as possible to design successful solutions with them.

Kate: Businesses know that without the support of their people, initiatives risk failure. It is no longer an option to simply send a message from the top of the organisation and expect changes to be made without resistance or apathy. Change management is seen as a way to engage people effectively, to make them and the wider organisation ready for something new or different. Organisations appreciate that those with experience of change can be leveraged to provide structured approaches to subsequent change initiatives – people trust others who have been there and have war stories to share.

What role does CBO play?

Dom: CBO understand what good change management looks like. We have the technical ‘know-how’ and the practical ‘can-do’ experience. We can support clients throughout the change lifecycle or at specific stages of the change. We can ensure change is being managed and delivered by integrating this as part of our Project Manager responsibilities or we can provide stand-alone dedicated Change Managers to work ‘client-side’ to deliver the change. Other key roles we can play include ensuring that change is being implemented correctly through feedback in a QA / ‘critical friend’ role or through more formal change management health-checks. We can also help organisations think about the change implications at the outset of their projects with change-focussed kick-off workshops.

Kate: We act in partnership, helping to drive or gently guide the change depending on the client’s preference. We are able to support your organisation as early as the initial ideation phase, through development of business case or later once the change is underway and further support is beneficial. We are able to draw upon our expertise across service lines as appropriate, for example business analysis in the early stages or testing prior to go-live. Importantly, our change management approach is to build lasting commitment and capability using our practical framework while remaining flexible to the client’s needs.

How do you deal with resistance to change?

Dom: There are many ways to deal with this, and no one size fits all solution, as all organisations and individuals are different. Recognising that, is, in itself, often the best way of dealing with resistance with change – coming up with bespoke solutions, approaches and messaging to different groups and stakeholders that will resonate with them and answer the killer questions of ‘how will this impact me?’ and ‘what’s in it for me?’. Visible and committed leadership who persistently and consistently advocate and communicate the changes is also absolutely key. Further, those organisations that empower their people, at all levels, to help shape the change create the groundswell of ownership that is necessary to embed the change and deliver lasting outcomes.

Kate: First we seek to understand, then to be understood. We listen to all the voices in the organisation and empathise. By hearing the views of those working in the current state, it is possible to build an understanding of the drivers and challenges that impact the journey to the future state. From day one we seek to build strong relationships across the organisation, so that ideas and information can be shared effectively. This helps all individuals in the organisation feel informed about the need for change and the benefits they will experience.

Why is successful change management so important?

Dom: It’s no good implementing a new IT system, even if it’s delivered on time and on budget if none of the end-users know it’s happening and want to use it! People are the common denominator for achieving intended outcomes – without pro-actively engaging, equipping, and supporting people during times of change, projects will never be successful.

Kate: Organisations and individuals need to be ready to accept change. Successful change management appreciates this and helps people, processes and systems prepare for change. It then supports them during the transition phase and helps them adopt and embed the new state to ensure benefits are realised. Critically, good change management helps navigate uncertainty to achieve desired outcomes in acceptable timeframes.

What areas of a business are affected by change management?

Dom: The nature of the change will determine which areas of a business are affected by change management – but all areas can and often are impacted, be that directly or indirectly. Indeed, a key change management activity is to determine what the impact of the change is on the business, which areas are impacted and how, and from this analysis to determine the appropriate change response.

Kate: Change can arise anywhere in an organisation: from wide strategic turns to emergent agile developments. It can be led by systems upgrades, regulatory changes, acquisitions, or cultural and behavioural shifts. CBO has experience across a wide change portfolio and can help businesses to understand and make change across all areas.

Why should a company consider using CBO – can’t they manage change themselves?

Dom: Of course, and many of our clients manage change exceptionally well themselves, leveraging our services, subject matter expertise and sector experience to augment their capacity or help them with specific change challenges. Other clients, without their own in-house capability, would work with us to apply our structured approach and change framework, to tailor it to the specific nature of their transformation activity, so define what needs to be done and when, so that they take all the critical actions at just the right time to deliver the change successfully.

How do we find out more about CBOs’ change management offer?

For more on CBO’s change management offer and approach please read our Change Management Services overview.

If your organisation is in the process of planning a change, has a change initiative underway in need of recovery, or you require change management implementation support, we would love to discuss how we might be able to help you.

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