Dispel resistance to improvement using a compelling Need for Change

When leading significant change in an organisation, if we do not convince our fellow leaders, as well as the operational team members that change is necessary, they will see any activity as change for change’s sake.  It will be regarded as a personal campaign and they will turn down the option of involvement.

The Need for Change addresses this by giving a consistent picture of why change is needed that works at a leadership level and with operational team members.  

I was a member of a project team involved in the turnaround of a Repair & Overhaul business.  Whilst the senior leadership were generally supportive we looked to find a Need for Change picture that would ensure their commitment and that of the repair team members, who would otherwise have been cynical.

The first element was an empirical calculation that showed that we had 30% market share, which was significantly less than had been expected.  Secondly, the organisation had a field service team and their visit reports to customers showed that the customers preferred to use repair agencies who were offering 15 to 30 day repair times as opposed to the average 90 days which our unit was delivering.  The visit reports were freely available but the conclusions were not widely shared.

Thirdly our project team produced a value-stream map of the operational process, which showed that it took 21 days for the repair jobs to be released to the teams.  Several of our competitors would have completed the repair in that time.

We were able to put these observations together to create a Need for Change picture that worked well with senior leaders who were interested in gaining more business.  It also worked for team members who experienced the operational frustrations first-hand and so they could see that solving the process issues would also solve their irritations.

When setting out to lead operational change in your organisation, ensure that you use your project team to translate the business need for change that works for senior leaders in to a practical Need for Change picture which works for team members too.

Andrew Kearns

Hartswood Management Ltd

Delivering real transformation


Suggestions for further actions:

  1. Read Changing Spots – a systems approach to change management for understanding how to lead a step-change improvement programme (see www.changingspots.co.uk).
  2. Use the advice in Changing Spots to identify the options for building an effective Need for Change statement which works either for a change that you are facing or for a past change in which you have been heavily involved.

For advice on structuring your transformation or change programme please email andrewkearns@hartswoodmanagement.co.uk

For further insights please visit – www.hartswoodmanagement.co.uk/insights

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