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6 CHANGE WITH IMPACT. THOUGHTS AND PARADOXES.
Action
Behaviour, activity, central term in
American behaviourism from the
e...
IMPLEMENT CONSULTING GROUP 7
A couple of years ago, a knowledge-intensive Scandinavian
company surveyed its employees’ fam...
8 CHANGE WITH IMPACT. THOUGHTS AND PARADOXES.
that it is possible, all in one go, to instil exactly the same
picture of wh...
IMPLEMENT CONSULTING GROUP 9IMPLEMENT CONSULTING GROUP 9
Action
When you initiate action
early in a change process,
you’ll...
10 CHANGE WITH IMPACT. THOUGHTS AND PARADOXES.
Agility (from Latin agilis);
quick in movement, nimble;
mentally quick or a...
IMPLEMENT CONSULTING GROUP 11
The speed of change is ever increasing. Consequently, we must
be far more agile to cope toda...
12 CHANGE WITH IMPACT. THOUGHTS AND PARADOXES.
that department’s own budget?
An obvious solution is to change the organisa...
IMPLEMENT CONSULTING GROUP 13IMPLEMENT CONSULTING GROUP 13
When you design and
implement a truly agile
organisation, you d...
14 CHANGE WITH IMPACT. THOUGHTS AND PARADOXES.
Atmosphere (sentiment) i.a. means
the air or climate in a specific place,
i...
IMPLEMENT CONSULTING GROUP 15
One of our gurus, former Harvard professor and author of
the book The Trusted Advisor David ...
16 CHANGE WITH IMPACT. THOUGHTS AND PARADOXES.
dialogue, involvement and change of pace. Secondly, there is
the ability to...
IMPLEMENT CONSULTING GROUP 17IMPLEMENT CONSULTING GROUP 17
When you work
with atmosphere
and deliberately
create “appropri...
18 CHANGE WITH IMPACT. THOUGHTS AND PARADOXES.
Authentic (from Greek authentikos:
‘truthfulness, reliability’); genuine;
t...
IMPLEMENT CONSULTING GROUP 19
The authentic
manager makes
mistakes
If, as a manager, you are brutally honest about a strat...
20 CHANGE WITH IMPACT. THOUGHTS AND PARADOXES.
This failure to appreciate what trust is may be the reason why
there are st...
IMPLEMENT CONSULTING GROUP 21IMPLEMENT CONSULTING GROUP 21
Authenticity
When you are honest
about the mistakes you’ll
inev...
22 CHANGE WITH IMPACT. THOUGHTS AND PARADOXES.
Something or someone taking
on a new shape, character,
behaviour etc.
Change
IMPLEMENT CONSULTING GROUP 23
Change
for change’s
sake
Never change a winning team is a philosophy that many of us
support...
24 CHANGE WITH IMPACT. THOUGHTS AND PARADOXES.
over time, reorganisation becomes necessary again. And it is
based on this ...
IMPLEMENT CONSULTING GROUP 25IMPLEMENT CONSULTING GROUP 25
When you plan for and
lead change initiatives,
their strategic ...
26 CHANGE WITH IMPACT. THOUGHTS AND PARADOXES.
Complexity (from Latin
complex + -ity). Complicated,
intricate, involved, t...
IMPLEMENT CONSULTING GROUP 27
Problems can be
complicated –
solutions cannot
In his book The User Illusion (Mærk Verden), ...
28 CHANGE WITH IMPACT. THOUGHTS AND PARADOXES.
believe that they can do a better job in the role of national
soccer coach ...
IMPLEMENT CONSULTING GROUP 29IMPLEMENT CONSULTING GROUP 29
Complexity
When you introduce
simple solutions to
complex probl...
30 CHANGE WITH IMPACT. THOUGHTS AND PARADOXES.
Competence (from French compétence,
from Latin competentia); ability; skill...
IMPLEMENT CONSULTING GROUP 31
The global competition has changed the premises for how
tomorrow’s companies should be manag...
32 CHANGE WITH IMPACT. THOUGHTS AND PARADOXES.
“see a sense of purpose” in their work. The positions and
values of the emp...
IMPLEMENT CONSULTING GROUP 33IMPLEMENT CONSULTING GROUP 33
Core competences
When you publicly
acknowledge specific
cultura...
34 CHANGE WITH IMPACT. THOUGHTS AND PARADOXES.
Concept that within certain
branches of science simply means
change, while ...
IMPLEMENT CONSULTING GROUP 35
In the large globally oriented Scandinavian organisations,
an interesting pattern has emerge...
36 CHANGE WITH IMPACT. THOUGHTS AND PARADOXES.
any other noticeable involvement from top management.
Project managers must...
IMPLEMENT CONSULTING GROUP 37IMPLEMENT CONSULTING GROUP 37
Development
When you empower your
project organisation, the
rea...
38 CHANGE WITH IMPACT. THOUGHTS AND PARADOXES.
Engaged; preoccupied;
interested.
Engagement
IMPLEMENT CONSULTING GROUP 39
More than 60 years ago, General George Patton said: “Never
tell people how to do things. Tel...
40 CHANGE WITH IMPACT. THOUGHTS AND PARADOXES.
purpose, autonomy and mastery. Then, what can we do?
First and foremost, we...
IMPLEMENT CONSULTING GROUP 41IMPLEMENT CONSULTING GROUP 41
Engagement
When you equate
seemingly intangible
concepts as ene...
42 CHANGE WITH IMPACT. THOUGHTS AND PARADOXES.
Derives from Latin exsequi,
‘carry out, follow up,
put into effect’.
Execut...
IMPLEMENT CONSULTING GROUP 43
Is a good strategy
which is not executed
good enough?
Once, when we were discussing some cha...
44 CHANGE WITH IMPACT. THOUGHTS AND PARADOXES.
organisation itself to get through the court case. That would
be unheard-of...
IMPLEMENT CONSULTING GROUP 45IMPLEMENT CONSULTING GROUP 45
Execution
Whenever you stop up,
re-evaluate or change
course, y...
46 CHANGE WITH IMPACT. THOUGHTS AND PARADOXES.
Focus (from Latin focus ‘fire point’,
originally ‘fireplace, hearth’).
Focus
IMPLEMENT CONSULTING GROUP 47
When the conversation turns to the Wall Street crash in 1929,
a picture comes to mind. A bla...
48 CHANGE WITH IMPACT. THOUGHTS AND PARADOXES.
controls everything. The point is that no matter how promising
the fox’s st...
IMPLEMENT CONSULTING GROUP 49IMPLEMENT CONSULTING GROUP 49
When you insist on
focusing on what
you truly believe is
the un...
50 CHANGE WITH IMPACT. THOUGHTS AND PARADOXES.
Growth (an increase in something
over time. The term is used
within social ...
IMPLEMENT CONSULTING GROUP 51
One of the visions for Europe as a whole is to be in the
absolute top within growth entrepre...
52 CHANGE WITH IMPACT. THOUGHTS AND PARADOXES.
What characterises these companies? First of all: Agreement
about direction...
IMPLEMENT CONSULTING GROUP 53IMPLEMENT CONSULTING GROUP 53
When you change
focus from rewarding
individual achievements
to...
54 CHANGE WITH IMPACT. THOUGHTS AND PARADOXES.
Impact (from Latin impactus, from
impingere ‘thrust, strike or dash
against...
IMPLEMENT CONSULTING GROUP 55
In a changeable world of management, full of acronyms and
buzzwords, it is encouraging that ...
56 CHANGE WITH IMPACT. THOUGHTS AND PARADOXES.
A key challenge, then, is that the rules have to be defined
first. If, say,...
IMPLEMENT CONSULTING GROUP 57IMPLEMENT CONSULTING GROUP 57
Impact
When you establish
KPIs in support of the
change, you’ll...
58 CHANGE WITH IMPACT. THOUGHTS AND PARADOXES.
To carry out; put into action;
perform: To put into effect
according to or ...
IMPLEMENT CONSULTING GROUP 59
When a butterfly flaps its wings in London, the ultimate
consequence may be that it triggers...
60 CHANGE WITH IMPACT. THOUGHTS AND PARADOXES.
something that will run out of control is imminent. A good
example is a lar...
IMPLEMENT CONSULTING GROUP 61IMPLEMENT CONSULTING GROUP 61
When you invite people
to take part in the change
and give them...
62 CHANGE WITH IMPACT. THOUGHTS AND PARADOXES.
Importance; weightiness;
in a figurative sense: being
critical, carry great...
IMPLEMENT CONSULTING GROUP 63
The Roman senator and general Cato incorporated the words
“Furthermore, I think Carthage mus...
64 CHANGE WITH IMPACT. THOUGHTS AND PARADOXES.
First of all, we need to acknowledge that just because
something is importa...
IMPLEMENT CONSULTING GROUP 65IMPLEMENT CONSULTING GROUP 65
When you communicate,
you’ll reach a point
where you get tired ...
66 CHANGE WITH IMPACT. THOUGHTS AND PARADOXES.
Innovation (from Latin innovatio,
from in-, derivative of novus ‘new’),
dev...
IMPLEMENT CONSULTING GROUP 67
During our work for a global growth company, we have
recently carried out a project with foc...
68 CHANGE WITH IMPACT. THOUGHTS AND PARADOXES.
scale, the tempo and complexity in our surrounding world have
reached a lev...
IMPLEMENT CONSULTING GROUP 69IMPLEMENT CONSULTING GROUP 69
Innovation
When you constantly
question the way things
are done...
70 CHANGE WITH IMPACT. THOUGHTS AND PARADOXES.
The capacity or ability to lead,
the position or office of a leader.
Can al...
IMPLEMENT CONSULTING GROUP 71
A couple of years ago, Harvard Business Review published a
thought-provoking article by Gary...
72 CHANGE WITH IMPACT. THOUGHTS AND PARADOXES.
leadership”, where he states: “The notion of the leader as a
heroic decisio...
IMPLEMENT CONSULTING GROUP 73IMPLEMENT CONSULTING GROUP 73
When you insist on
delegating decisions and
rely on “the system...
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17 paradoxes on change

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“Change alone is eternal...” ... said the German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer as early as at the beginning of the 19th century. And as the pace and magnitude of change have increased exponentially through the succeeding two centuries, those words are more relevant than ever.

Paradoxically, the well-established recognition of change as a fundamental part of our lives has not made it easier for us to handle it, that being as individuals, groups, organisations, nations – or mankind. We have come to the conclusion that this is due to the fact that there simply are no easy answers to the many questions and the apparently endless number of paradoxes that are the constant companions of change. Thus, it is no coincidence that 2/3 of all change initiatives do not realise the stipulated goals.

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17 paradoxes on change

  1. 1. 6 CHANGE WITH IMPACT. THOUGHTS AND PARADOXES. Action Behaviour, activity, central term in American behaviourism from the early 20th century where an action is an organised and focused pattern of movements; later extended to also comprise facial expressions, gestures and written or oral statements.
  2. 2. IMPLEMENT CONSULTING GROUP 7 A couple of years ago, a knowledge-intensive Scandinavian company surveyed its employees’ familiarity with the company’s strategy and the extent to which they agreed that the strategy had been implemented. The responses could be grouped into three well-defined categories. Those who believed that the strategy was both familiar to all and implemented, those who were familiar with the strategy, but did not think it had been implemented, and finally those who were not familiar with it and, thus, were not qualified to comment on its imple­mentation. The first group was top management. The second consisted of the members of the project group which had been responsible for developing and implementing the strategy. The third group included, by and large, all remaining employees in the company – and this is not a joke! This example brings us to an interesting point in relation to the burning platform, which is a core concept in classic change management. The analogy originates from an oil drilling rig that caught fire, and where the only survivors were those who defied all regulations and leapt off the platform into a foaming sea 40 metres below. When asked afterwards why they had jumped, they answered that they felt they had no alternative. In a positive sense, this is the situation we ideally want to create in any change project. When everyone can see that there is only one way to go, you ensure both the direction and pace of the project – or do you? In an ideal world maybe, but not in reality. Therefore, we will venture to challenge the sequence and scope of the built- in logic; take no action until a “sense of urgency” prevails throughout the organisation. Above all, it is utopian to believe Action as a means of communication in change processes
  3. 3. 8 CHANGE WITH IMPACT. THOUGHTS AND PARADOXES. that it is possible, all in one go, to instil exactly the same picture of what is important throughout the organisation. Change projects have come to a standstill before they ever got started on that account. There are situations where action is the most direct or only viable way of creating awareness and changing attitudes. Within e.g. Lean, there are many examples of small simple activities having created tangible pictures of the potentials offered by change and, hence, of having acted as a catalyst for the subsequent roll-out across the entire organisation. Conversely, there are plenty of examples of compa­nies agitating for, threate­ning and appealing for change inces­santly for years without even remotely achieving the same effect. Finally, a “reverse start” offers a far more reflective approach to the concept of importance. Certainly, importance is a precondition for success, but the path to it is winding, and there will undoubtedly be many different perceptions and explana­tions of what is important. Here, it is crucial to make room for doubt and, thus, make change meaningful to as many as possible. We know it sounds trivial, but it is vital to seek and ensure appreciation of the importance of change – in the organisa­ tion and among all involved. Not top management’s explicit priorities, nor a “burning” necessity, but purely and simply the individual’s understanding that what we are talking about really matters. This often entails that we will have to modify what we are focusing on and talking about. The good news is that our focus will probably be more “right” in relation to the organisation’s strategy, mission and vision, and the best news is that what we end up focusing on stands an excellent chance of actually being implemented.
  4. 4. IMPLEMENT CONSULTING GROUP 9IMPLEMENT CONSULTING GROUP 9 Action When you initiate action early in a change process, you’ll be accused of not having done your analysis and planning thoroughly enough – do it anyway!
  5. 5. 10 CHANGE WITH IMPACT. THOUGHTS AND PARADOXES. Agility (from Latin agilis); quick in movement, nimble; mentally quick or acute. Agility
  6. 6. IMPLEMENT CONSULTING GROUP 11 The speed of change is ever increasing. Consequently, we must be far more agile to cope today than just a few years ago. This is a fact which is dealt with in two recommendable books: Fast Strategy by Yves Doz and The Upside of Turbulence by Donald Sull. The overall conclusion of the books, to which we fully agree, is an increased need for: 1) strategic sensitivity to change in our surrounding world, 2) common overall objectives and 3) the ability to reallocate resources flexibly across organisational boundaries. This is easier said than done since we are up against strong forces: Above all, the human nature and an antiquated, but well-established and, thus, safe way of organising ourselves. Particularly the last part is a hard nut to crack as there are quite many privileges and just as much prestige at stake. A good example is the healthcare sector whose self-perception is based on trade groups and medical specialties. One single patient pathway easily involves more than 30 different specialties, departments, functions and trade groups, which are to interact efficiently to achieve a coherent and positive experience for the patient. The problem is, however, that no strategic decision has been made concerning the responsibility for creating this coherence. The optimal patient pathway is, consequently, not concretised as KPIs in the departments involved, and this, together with sharply defined specialist boundaries, makes it difficult to move around resources across departments. One dilemma almost stumbles over the other. Why would the individual doctor e.g. want to focus on all elements of a patient pathway when he is measured on only a small part of it? Or why would a department optimise a patient pathway, which would only result in even more pressure on We must be agile to survive
  7. 7. 12 CHANGE WITH IMPACT. THOUGHTS AND PARADOXES. that department’s own budget? An obvious solution is to change the organisational structure together with the management structure, so that these are built around the needs and overall pathways of the patients. Similarly, it would be obvious to think in broad terms and make the practice sector and municipal home care form part of the same organisational and management structure as the hospital sector. Most people in the sector can agree on this. The basis, however, for taking this step is simply non-existent as it is today. As the above examples illustrate, it is not a strategic focus on the needs of the patients that prevails, rather much too narrow financial, political and professional considerations. As is, by the way, the case in many other organisations, private as well as public. The speed of change makes entirely new demands on how we organise ourselves. That is why Doz and Sull hit us where it hurts the most. For strategic agility is inevitable to survival, but also contrary to nature – both at a human and an organisational level.
  8. 8. IMPLEMENT CONSULTING GROUP 13IMPLEMENT CONSULTING GROUP 13 When you design and implement a truly agile organisation, you disrupt well-established power bases and privileges, ultimately also your own – do it anyway! Agility
  9. 9. 14 CHANGE WITH IMPACT. THOUGHTS AND PARADOXES. Atmosphere (sentiment) i.a. means the air or climate in a specific place, in a specific room. In continuation of this meaning, the term is often used metaphorically about the atmosphere present in a specific place or the atmosphere which surrounds a person, object or institution. Atmosphere
  10. 10. IMPLEMENT CONSULTING GROUP 15 One of our gurus, former Harvard professor and author of the book The Trusted Advisor David Maister, once said: “I’ve attended the best American and British universities and business schools and learnt a lot of good stuff. The only thing I didn’t learn was that the world is full of people...”. We believe that this is an incredibly precise way of conveying the difference between theory and practice when people are to be relocated and organisations developed. In this connection, there is one key concept in particular we would like to draw your attention to – atmosphere. Atmosphere is not a word that occurs as frequently as change management in the average textbook, probably because many – both researchers and executives – perceive atmosphere as something undocumented and uncontrollable that “just arises”. Whether that atmosphere is good or bad, intense or indifferent is more a matter of chance than the result of conscious action. But can atmosphere be controlled? Yes, it can. If in doubt, just think of all those times you created the wrong atmosphere unintentionally. We have all been there – it is worringly easy. But if that is the case, then it must also be possible to create the right atmosphere. And note that we are referring on purpose to the right atmosphere rather than a positive atmosphere! It might just as well be a serious, energetic, despairing or even an outright crisis atmosphere. It all depends on what we want to achieve. Two core elements are involved in controlling atmosphere. First of all, there is the preparation and planning of a script and tools suitable for the situation. What atmosphere are we after, and how do we create it deliberately? E.g. through Control the atmosphere to create business
  11. 11. 16 CHANGE WITH IMPACT. THOUGHTS AND PARADOXES. dialogue, involvement and change of pace. Secondly, there is the ability to seize the unforeseeable – that will always arise no matter how much we plan – and use it positively. Many years of experience in carrying out large change projects have taught us that carefully orchestrated “disturbances” are a highly effective tool when creating the right atmosphere. Try to recall the prevailing atmosphere in a few decisive situations at e.g. a board meeting, management meeting, in the strategy project or at the general staff meeting that either went well or badly. Would they have turned out differently if the atmosphere had been intense rather than relaxed, or humorous rather than serious? Yes, most likely, which makes it twice as frustrating that atmosphere is such an intangible to many of us who hail from the traditional education system. Here, we have learnt that when we are to communicate something or make an important decision, we need to work focusedly and systematically on producing well-structured reports, often based on a rational problem analysis and subsequent conclusion. This is also both appropriate and important because it is the very basis for our credibility. However, it is just not enough to know WHAT we need to say. We also need to know exactly WHY and HOW to say it. We have to get used to the fact that it is necessary to allocate resources to preparing the tools that support the purpose of the presentation. Otherwise, we risk standing – once again – in the PowerPoint syndrome’s gloomy auditorium where we ourselves have reduced the people we are trying to communicate with to impersonal silhouettes. Where is the atmosphere in that?
  12. 12. IMPLEMENT CONSULTING GROUP 17IMPLEMENT CONSULTING GROUP 17 When you work with atmosphere and deliberately create “appropriate disturbances”, you’ll probably be feeling awkward and way out of your comfort zone – do it anyway! Atmosphere
  13. 13. 18 CHANGE WITH IMPACT. THOUGHTS AND PARADOXES. Authentic (from Greek authentikos: ‘truthfulness, reliability’); genuine; true; trustworthy; reliable. Authenticity
  14. 14. IMPLEMENT CONSULTING GROUP 19 The authentic manager makes mistakes If, as a manager, you are brutally honest about a strategic change, you risk that parts of, or the entire basis for, the change is called into question, or that it becomes evident that there are things you do not know about the forthcoming change. You also risk creating unease in the organisation, and, not least, you run the risk of putting yourself and your authority as a manager on the line. To that we have only one thing to say: Do it anyway. Because authenticity, or having the courage to be true to yourself and your surroundings, is a prerequisite for building trust in the change. So, what is trust? The author of The Trusted Advisor, former Harvard professor David Maister, has introduced a simple equation for what builds trust. According to the equation, trust is a function of credibility, reliability, intimacy and self- orientation. The equation corresponds well with our own experience of which top managers are capable of building trust in the changes they are spear­heading. And, moreover, it is a brilliant illustration of trust vanishing like dew before the sun if credibility, reliability or intimacy is absent, or the self- orientation is too pronounced. No doubt many ambitious managers would be surprised to learn that they do not enjoy the trust of those around them in spite of their professional competences, in spite of keeping all agreements they make and in spite of taking the lead in change projects. If they lack empathy or seek to downplay that their commit­ment is driven by personal career objectives and stock options, their inten­tions will always be called into question.
  15. 15. 20 CHANGE WITH IMPACT. THOUGHTS AND PARADOXES. This failure to appreciate what trust is may be the reason why there are still quite many managers who apparently believe they are better than other people. We have all met them, either privately where they constantly entertain us about their own outstanding merits, or at work where they carefully guard a reputation as the omniscient leader who is never wrong. In both situa­tions, we are left wondering how in the world they managed to get as far as they have. Fortunately, this race of managers is on the verge of extinction. We live in a knowledge society, and no matter how disagreeable it may be to admit, it is a fact that many employees are both smarter and more competent than the manager. Try to think about it. You are an emplo­yee of a large company facing a major restructuring process initiated by management. You can see a number of uncertainties and risks, and, hopefully, also a few upsides. Who would you trust most? The mana­ger who brushes off your doubts by signalling total control or the one who addresses the uncertainties by coming clean about the fact that he himself does not have all the answers, and that he is well aware that the plan may not be perfect, but is as good as it gets with the knowledge currently available. Managers who succeed in creating change are honest and humble towards the scope of the change project and – not least – towards the consequen­ces for those affected by the change. 2,000 years ago, Jesus said: “Whoever exalts himself shall be humbled; whoever humbles himself shall be exalted”. Food for thought – not least for those of us with managerial responsi­bilities.
  16. 16. IMPLEMENT CONSULTING GROUP 21IMPLEMENT CONSULTING GROUP 21 Authenticity When you are honest about the mistakes you’ll inevitably be making, you risk putting yourself and your authority as a leader on the line – do it anyway!
  17. 17. 22 CHANGE WITH IMPACT. THOUGHTS AND PARADOXES. Something or someone taking on a new shape, character, behaviour etc. Change
  18. 18. IMPLEMENT CONSULTING GROUP 23 Change for change’s sake Never change a winning team is a philosophy that many of us support. We rarely question its truth because it makes so much sense at an intuitive level. In the world of sports, countless top coaches swear by it. For instance, this has been Morten Olsen’s mantra for his entire career as chief coach of the Danish national soccer team, with concepts such as typerende (typicality) and automatismer (automatisms) creeping into our vocabulary. At Implement, we have always had issues with repetition. It was, therefore, an exhilarating experience when Freek Vermeulen recently visited, and we had the opportunity to hear his lecture “Change for Change’s Sake”. Vermeulen, along with Donald Sull and several others, is part of a group of brilliant up-and-coming professors from London Business School who have challenged and inspired us in a wide range of areas within strategic transformation. The message of his lecture, which can be found in an article of the same name in Harvard Business Review, June 2010, is that it is actually extremely dangerous for an organisation only to make changes in times of crisis. Rather, Vermeulen argues that every company should implement organisational changes periodically, even when there is no apparent reason to do so. This is because the process is, among other things, a good way to create new networks and boost employees’ understanding and knowledge of customers, products and services. Another interesting phenomenon is that old connections and relations survive across new formal chains of command, thereby functioning as an efficient substitute for the matrix organisations that look so good on paper, but rarely work in practice. As they disappear
  19. 19. 24 CHANGE WITH IMPACT. THOUGHTS AND PARADOXES. over time, reorganisation becomes necessary again. And it is based on this line of thinking that he introduces the fantastic management concept of the “serial changer”, which obviously should be seen as a positive thing in this context. The bad news in all of this is that uncertainty and turbulence are here to stay, along with much higher demands for adaptability from all of us. The good news is that greater uncertainty has a direct correlation to greater opportunities if we are capable of seizing them. And the really good news is that we can improve our skills in this area if we constantly exercise our change muscles. Doing this will help us avoid managerial complacency, dependency on specific individuals and failures in communication when it really matters. We are not experts in soccer, but when it comes to getting people and organisations to produce results, we definitely have an opinion. Which is why we are really looking forward to the first top coach who has the guts to shuffle the starting lineup and change the playing style, not when the team is suffering, but also – and especially – when things are going well. Blind faith in “typical” mechanisms and “automatisms” will not win games in the major leagues. Your opponents are simply too competent for that…
  20. 20. IMPLEMENT CONSULTING GROUP 25IMPLEMENT CONSULTING GROUP 25 When you plan for and lead change initiatives, their strategic rationale and your own personal motives for carrying them through will be questioned – do it anyway! Change
  21. 21. 26 CHANGE WITH IMPACT. THOUGHTS AND PARADOXES. Complexity (from Latin complex + -ity). Complicated, intricate, involved, tangled, knotty. Complexity
  22. 22. IMPLEMENT CONSULTING GROUP 27 Problems can be complicated – solutions cannot In his book The User Illusion (Mærk Verden), the journalist and author Tor Nørretranders concludes that the band width of our consciousness is approx. 16 bits per second. Whether you agree with him in this exact definition is unimportant. The key point is that we are only capable of processing a small fraction of the information we are constantly bombarded with. And the information flow is ever increasing. We live in a complex society in which we orientate ourselves in many different directions and must relate to hundreds of different possibilities. Each of these possibilities is rarely unambiguous, but has nuances and can be interpreted in different ways. Furthermore, it is not merely the surrounding world’s complexity and uncertainty we observe, but also our own. Often, a natural result is that we formulate extremely complex plans comprising all imaginable details and reservations. However, these are not viable because in the wilderness of items on the agenda and activities, we lose purpose, overview and energy. It is complexity times two, and that is a challenge. Too much complexity is simply paralysing. Take for instance the implementation of a new strategy or the execution of a large reorganisation. Here, the success rate is directly inversely proportional to the complexity of the solution. Therefore, we encourage you to reduce complexity for the simple reason that it strongly inhibits any form of initiative and drive! That being said, do not bring out the axe before you have recognised and understood the complexity. Simplification without prerequisites is nothing more than an expression of the same cocksure stupidity which far too often rears its ugly head, e.g. when 75% of the population after two drawn games in a row
  23. 23. 28 CHANGE WITH IMPACT. THOUGHTS AND PARADOXES. believe that they can do a better job in the role of national soccer coach than the one actually appointed. It is a capital sin to underestimate the scope of the assignment when working with change. It takes 60-80 repetitions before a behavioural change turns into a habit. For this reason alone, to start running twice a week is sufficiently complex to a person with an average willpower. Remember this the next time we ask an organisation to do something different than usual – especially because complexity increases exponentially with the number of people involved. Bearing this in mind, there are several obvious areas to work with when it comes to reducing complexity. We can break down large changes into sequences of smaller ones. Thus, uncertainty is reduced, the organisation’s change capacity is increased, and we reduce inner complexity which makes us more proficient in handling outer complexity. Simplicity can be forced into the change by focusing on a few, but decisive must-win battles. Simultaneously, we can try to steer the organisation’s expectations of what is to take place before, during and after the change by constantly being clear-cut in relation to the change’s impact targets and the measurements supporting them. It is difficult, but not impossible. “I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the earth”, John F. Kennedy said in 1961. Everybody understood this, and everybody also understood that there was so much more to it – not least when Neil Armstrong eight years later made the dream come true.
  24. 24. IMPLEMENT CONSULTING GROUP 29IMPLEMENT CONSULTING GROUP 29 Complexity When you introduce simple solutions to complex problems, your understanding of the underlying factors causing the problems will be questioned – do it anyway!
  25. 25. 30 CHANGE WITH IMPACT. THOUGHTS AND PARADOXES. Competence (from French compétence, from Latin competentia); ability; skill. The expression is used within the areas of pedagogy and psychology about knowledge and skills, e.g. competence in problem solving, in reading and in mathematics. Core competences
  26. 26. IMPLEMENT CONSULTING GROUP 31 The global competition has changed the premises for how tomorrow’s companies should be managed and organised. There is a need for a break with the traditional hierarchy and kindergarten management where we shift from a reproductive to an innovative focus. We estimate that today at least 20-30% of the employees in large Scandinavian companies are involved in developing the company. Nevertheless, the majority of these companies are organised in the same manner as they were 30 years ago with too many managers and too much hierarchy and an almost non-existent environment for fostering innovation and change. For many years, identifying a company’s core competences has formed the basis for creating a competitive edge. This was also the case 10 years ago, but in the innova­tive companies of the future, the core competences are not explicit, and they change continuously as the company develops. Thus, it makes much more sense to talk about “the employees possessing core competences” – the ones who make a difference in the company and who possess knowledge which can be brought into play. Thus, in the innovative and change-oriented company, identifying these employees is of vital importance. Experience proves that they pursue personal and professional development, and they appreciate the feeling of being part of the winning team. They appreciate a good salary, but professional and intellectual challenges and interesting role models in the organisation are what is instrumental in retaining them. They want to learn, and they are fully aware that their value depends on the development of own competences and on their network. But they also want to Spot and spoil your core competent employees
  27. 27. 32 CHANGE WITH IMPACT. THOUGHTS AND PARADOXES. “see a sense of purpose” in their work. The positions and values of the employees must be reflected in those of the company. Companies with no idea, differentiators and values do not attract these employees. Employees possessing core competences in innovative companies do not need a job description. They want to solve tasks and “make a difference”. Employees matching this description are hard to find. Most managers are aware that all change projects and the majority of the development in a company are led by the same limited force who are able to rise above day-to-day operations and step in whenever necessary. Thus, the principal task of every manager is to expand this troop. Either by recruiting more of this type of employee or – and this is probably our most important point – by identifying and spoiling those who are already in the company. For the truth is that these are the employees we, as managers, often do not pay much attention to. We take their top performances for granted, while we turn our eyes towards the employees who shout the loudest. As an example, one of our employees was for many years a customer with a large insurance company. He had never notified a single claim, never got anything stolen and never heard anything from them – besides invoices and, of course, an annual mandatory letter on premium increases. Is it any wonder that he changed insurance company when he was presented with another offer? Apparently, for all of a sudden he received more attention from his old insurance company than he had ever been given altogether in the 10 previous years. It was just too late – just as is often the case with our best employees when they one day suddenly hand in a notice of resignation. Simply because we did not pay enough attention to them or had the courage to openly show that some employees (or customers for that matter) ARE more important than others.
  28. 28. IMPLEMENT CONSULTING GROUP 33IMPLEMENT CONSULTING GROUP 33 Core competences When you publicly acknowledge specific cultural traits, behaviour and employees for making a difference, others will be offended and others again will disagree – do it anyway!
  29. 29. 34 CHANGE WITH IMPACT. THOUGHTS AND PARADOXES. Concept that within certain branches of science simply means change, while in others it indicates a change (sometimes positive) towards a more specific goal. Development
  30. 30. IMPLEMENT CONSULTING GROUP 35 In the large globally oriented Scandinavian organisations, an interesting pattern has emerged. If we analyse how the employees use their time in the Scandinavian part of the organisation, we will find that at least half of their time is spent on development tasks which are often carried out in the form of a project. For these organisations, development has become the primary product, while projects have become the primary producing unit. This is a quite new trend, and only the most skilled organisations have caught on to this and organised their management and reporting structures accordingly. In a development organisation, it is – to a much greater extent than in a line organisation – important to understand the correlation between the projects and what the company wants to achieve at a strategic, tactical and operational level. There is also a need for establishing a system which follows up on whether the resources allocated to the projects are used effectively. In other words, an unambiguous governance structure in relation to the projects is to be ensured. Projects are one-time tasks where cross-organisational teams are established from time to time based on the relevant project. For this to work, it is necessary to establish a new and different structure making demands on how line managers and project managers act in relation to each other and on how the decision-making structure is organised. Otherwise, managers and project managers will have to establish an approach for each new project they carry out. This will result in numerous discussions about who makes which decisions in the project. In comparison, consider the inefficient scenario if no formal structure existed in the production where managers and employees discussed who does what along the way – without Global organisations of the future must master development
  31. 31. 36 CHANGE WITH IMPACT. THOUGHTS AND PARADOXES. any other noticeable involvement from top management. Project managers must be assigned more power, whereas the number of managers in the line must be reduced. Otherwise, the result will be “congestion in the midfield”, power struggles and sub-optimisation. Fortunately, there is a shortage of programme and project managers, so these could conveniently be recruited internally among the managers who are no longer needed. This also signals to the organisation where the value is created. In the development organisation, it is attractive – both in terms of salary and prestige – to be a project manager on large, heavy development tasks. Earlier, development was limited to the development of products. However, today there is much more potential in optimising the manner in which the products are sold, produced and delivered globally. Research shows that it is five times more cost-effective to use resources on other types of development than product development. The point is not that organisations have to stop developing new products. On the contrary! It merely shows that there is an enormous potential for those who are capable of expanding the development environment from product development to comprising the entire business model. However, to get to this point, a change in mindset is required from top management. For it is not only the organisation that needs to be transformed from operation into development – it is also the manager. And it is about time, for it has been some years now since Peter Senge – who coined the learning organisation concept – stated: “A manager who spends less than 70% of his time on projects is not in keeping with the times”.
  32. 32. IMPLEMENT CONSULTING GROUP 37IMPLEMENT CONSULTING GROUP 37 Development When you empower your project organisation, the reasons and professional rationale for doing so will be questioned by line management – do it anyway!
  33. 33. 38 CHANGE WITH IMPACT. THOUGHTS AND PARADOXES. Engaged; preoccupied; interested. Engagement
  34. 34. IMPLEMENT CONSULTING GROUP 39 More than 60 years ago, General George Patton said: “Never tell people how to do things. Tell them what to do, and they will surprise you with their ingenuity”. A splendid quotation, both due to its element of surprise considering Patton’s background, and because he was far ahead of his time. In a time where Europe as a whole is drifting down the list of the world’s richest regions, and our almost constitutional welfare is under threat, we think it would be refreshing to turn the conversation to other subjects than productivity, stress, attrition and early retirement benefits. These are not unimportant subjects, but we believe they are merely symptoms of something far more fundamental of which Patton already in the 1940s approached the core: engagement. Engagement means everything. Research shows that when we are engaged, our efficiency, productivity and value creation increase by a factor of 4 compared to a scenario where we “just” go to work with no other motivation than making a living. Viewed in this light, there is no sense in measuring a workday in hours and minutes, and that is exactly our point. There ARE only 24 hours a day. On the other hand, there are no limits as to what we are capable of achieving when we are engaged. We all know the feeling of forgetting about time and place because we are passionate about what we do. And what is most fantastic is that we generate at least the same amount of energy as we spend in the process. In other words, we are talking about a sustained source of energy capable of solving all the above challenges. Does it sound too good to be true? The answer is no. For even though not much has happened since Patton, we know what stimulates engagement – namely Engagement – a source of energy that never dries out
  35. 35. 40 CHANGE WITH IMPACT. THOUGHTS AND PARADOXES. purpose, autonomy and mastery. Then, what can we do? First and foremost, we must acknowledge the importance of engagement, and that we can make a difference by assuming responsibility and taking charge of it. All we say and do must be saturated with the difference we make – not the money we can earn – and we must constantly focus on being exceptionally competent at what we do. At a personal level, the company also has a great opportunity of creating a better life and, thus, a better worklife for its employees. And yes, it is about physical health, but just as much about a mental change of gears where we simply break away from bad habits that ruin engagement. We could, for instance, reduce the number of rules and procedures that create indifference and fear of decision-making, and we could refuse to accept open phones and email communication during meetings, which, by the way, are often way too long. A recent global survey indicates that only 14% are fully engaged in their work, and although we plume ourselves and assume that the percentage is higher in Scandinavia, the potential is huge. Knowing quite well that we will never reach 100%, a conservative estimate is that we in Scandinavia alone miss out on more than EUR 50 billion a year in additional value creation.
  36. 36. IMPLEMENT CONSULTING GROUP 41IMPLEMENT CONSULTING GROUP 41 Engagement When you equate seemingly intangible concepts as energy and engagement with financial results, your discernment as a leader will be questioned – do it anyway!
  37. 37. 42 CHANGE WITH IMPACT. THOUGHTS AND PARADOXES. Derives from Latin exsequi, ‘carry out, follow up, put into effect’. Execution
  38. 38. IMPLEMENT CONSULTING GROUP 43 Is a good strategy which is not executed good enough? Once, when we were discussing some challenges with a client in relation to a change project, he said: “The time when the few could think for the many is history”. Those words keep coming back to us because we feel that they sum up precisely why strategies are so difficult to execute. Having a few bright minds conceive and design the strategy is the very paradigm on which the classic management consulting model is based. For both clients and consultancies, the model has the obvious advantage that the deliverables – typically in the form of an analysis, synthesis and implementation plan – can be supplied and assessed individually, and then the consultants can move on to a new “study”. The challenge inherent in most strategy projects is, however, that the reality the strategy has to mesh with is extremely complex. This means that it will not be possible for a tight circle of decision-makers to have a full overview of all relevant aspects and consequences, and also that the implementation itself will be just as complex. Most organisations are well aware of that, and those who are not can read numerous studies telling them that the reason why strategies fail often comes down to an inability to implement what is otherwise an excellent strategy – and not because the strategy is at fault. For many consultancies, ourselves included, this has become a pretext for inaction. After all, we have done a good job, so the fact that the strategic recommendations are not followed is surely the organisation’s own responsibility? Or is it? If people in the same organisation retained the services of a law firm, they would probably be rather taken aback if the lawyers prepared the case in minute detail and then left it to the
  39. 39. 44 CHANGE WITH IMPACT. THOUGHTS AND PARADOXES. organisation itself to get through the court case. That would be unheard-of since even the best preparation is no substitute for a skilled lawyer’s legal expertise and experience with court procedure. Nevertheless, this is precisely the situation many consultancies leave their clients in. Kitted out with a strategy plan in their hand, they have to navigate through a reality that is constantly changing and consequently undermines the original premises on which the strategy was laid. Whether or not that seems reasonable, it is at any rate not effective. It is also hardly ideal if a guaranteed impact is one of the main reasons for bringing in a professional consultant. Of course, the brightest minds have to be involved in developing a good strategy, but then they should also be involved in ensuring that it is put into practice, including WHETHER it is even possible at all. This is why we believe that successful client-consultant relationships will in future comprise expertise within problem solving, process support and training. In that way, the basis for rating the consultant’s achievements will also change from “it is a good plan” to focusing on the impact of the change – ultimately measured by the actual bottom line improvement. To live up to this, it is necessary for all involved parties to be able to answer yes to a few simple, but very fundamental questions, e.g.: Does the strategy actually make sense for the organisation? Dare we involve more of the organisation earlier? Will this strategy have an impact – also in the short term? Do we communicate honestly about direction and consequences? Do we have the right people on board? Have we succeeded in creating an atmosphere that supports what we want to achieve? It calls for courage, persistence and skill. But that is what it takes to achieve impact. This brings us back to the good strategy that was never executed. That is just too easy! If a strategy was not executed – no matter the reason – then it simply was not good enough.
  40. 40. IMPLEMENT CONSULTING GROUP 45IMPLEMENT CONSULTING GROUP 45 Execution Whenever you stop up, re-evaluate or change course, your strategic capabilities and your eligibility as a leader will be questioned – do it anyway!
  41. 41. 46 CHANGE WITH IMPACT. THOUGHTS AND PARADOXES. Focus (from Latin focus ‘fire point’, originally ‘fireplace, hearth’). Focus
  42. 42. IMPLEMENT CONSULTING GROUP 47 When the conversation turns to the Wall Street crash in 1929, a picture comes to mind. A black/white photo of one man buying the shares that everyone else is desperately trying to dispose of. Many imagine him to be John D. Rockefeller, and that he was brave enough to go against the tide because he unconditionally trusted the fundamental strength of his own business concept and, hence, did not care about what everyone else did. In fact, it seems it was the vice president of NYSE (New York Stock Exchange), Richard Whitney, and the motive somewhat another. However, this does not actually change much about the point: In times of crisis, opportunities arise. This, of course, requires that we are capable of seizing them. Even though this makes good sense, we have heard it all before. And what are we then to do? Firstly, we must take a look at ourselves and forget how lucky or unlucky we are in relation to external factors such as market, industry and financial crisis. The fact is that this is far less important than how good we are at constantly being focused and at improving our core business. And focus is, indeed, a keyword. In his book From Good to Great, Jim Collins applies the story about the fox and the hedgehog originating from a parable by the Greek poet Archilochus: “The fox knows many things, however, the hedgehog knows one big thing”. The fox is a cunning creature, able to devise a myriad of complex strategies for sneaky attacks on the hedgehog. The hedgehog, on the other hand, curls into a prickly ball of sharp spikes pointing outward in all directions and, thus, simplifies a complex world into one organisational idea – a fundamental principle – that unites and In times of crisis, opportunities arise for the focused companies
  43. 43. 48 CHANGE WITH IMPACT. THOUGHTS AND PARADOXES. controls everything. The point is that no matter how promising the fox’s strategies may seem, the hedgehog’s simple and focused strategy always wins. The story, obviously, oversimplifies a complex issue, but nevertheless has a good moral and is easily understandable. It is also supported by several results from various surveys across industries and geographic borders indicating that the value of a company is proportional to the ability to grow organically. An ability which, as the surveys also show, is dependent on the development of the efficiency of the core business. Hedgehogs do what they are good at and continuously develop it towards perfection, otherwise they will not survive – which is exactly the same for companies. This makes us return to John D. Rockefeller (Richard Whitney) and the others who remained calm, while everyone else panicked. They certainly were brave. But, as a matter of fact, the rationale only was that they were true to their fundamental concept. They simply continued doing what they believed to be right and came through it strengthened. We, therefore, urge all focused and hard-working companies to stay focused. This is the time where your competitors are shaky, and where the opportunities arise that can further strengthen your core business after the dust has settled.
  44. 44. IMPLEMENT CONSULTING GROUP 49IMPLEMENT CONSULTING GROUP 49 When you insist on focusing on what you truly believe is the unique core that differentiates your company from your competitors, you will be accused of oversimplifying things – do it anyway! Focus
  45. 45. 50 CHANGE WITH IMPACT. THOUGHTS AND PARADOXES. Growth (an increase in something over time. The term is used within social sciences, natural sciences and mathematics). Growth
  46. 46. IMPLEMENT CONSULTING GROUP 51 One of the visions for Europe as a whole is to be in the absolute top within growth entrepreneurs. This is not a bad vision at all as the very foundation for Europe’s status as welfare societies and one of the world’s richest regions is that we continuously develop our ability to create value. This applies at all levels – as individuals, as companies as nations and as a region. When we have reservations about this vision, it is not the intentions of the vision that are at fault. It is more a reflection of what contributes most to an innovative society ready for change. Is it by creating a favourable environment for a flora of small entrepreneurs? Possibly. Does that make the average European more innovative? Possibly. But even if that is the case, it is a regional cultural influence process with a time horizon far into the future – and at that time, there is a real risk that time has run out for Europe. Here, we actually believe that the European business sector, and the Scandinavian in particular, holds a large opportunity to kick-start the journey towards the top of entrepreneurs. The truth is that growth basically is a question of being able – and daring – to seize an opportunity when it arises. It sounds simple, but that is not the case, and, paradoxically, this is where the potential lies. Namely in our way of organising ourselves which is just as old and, for that matter, just as inexpedient as the internal combustion engine and the incandescent bulb are today. We live in a global knowledge society where windows of opportunity are opened and closed in an increasing pace. Thus, the companies that win are those which most effectively and fast can allocate resources (knowledge) to where the value creation is largest. Large companies are the best entrepreneurs
  47. 47. 52 CHANGE WITH IMPACT. THOUGHTS AND PARADOXES. What characterises these companies? First of all: Agreement about direction and goals in the management team. Nothing hampers growth more than individual power struggles. Secondly: Common goals as a supplement to individual and function-specific goals. Thirdly: Room for employees and managers to seize the opportunities when they arise. And last but not least: A culture where career, salary and prestige are not a question of title and number of employees referring to the individual manager, but, on the contrary, the value created by the individual. It is right here, in the companies that are already generating the majority of Europe and Scandinavia’s value creation that the real potential lies. And the elegant part is that we as a by-product get exactly what we so eagerly want. Namely an overall strengthening of our regional “entrepreneur muscle”, expressed as the sum of all the private and public sector employees who are now given the opportunity to work systematically with innovation and, thus, improve their own and their companies’ readiness for change. To be the world’s number one region at growth entrepreneurship is a beautiful thought. It is also much easier to communicate than to execute. Ours is not, even though it definitely has more potential…
  48. 48. IMPLEMENT CONSULTING GROUP 53IMPLEMENT CONSULTING GROUP 53 When you change focus from rewarding individual achievements towards a stronger focus on common goals, you will lose some of the high performers that make your company successful today – do it anyway! Growth
  49. 49. 54 CHANGE WITH IMPACT. THOUGHTS AND PARADOXES. Impact (from Latin impactus, from impingere ‘thrust, strike or dash against’). The force or impetus transmitted by a collision; Measure of the tangible and intangible effects (consequences) or impression of one thing’s or entity’s action or influence upon another. Impact
  50. 50. IMPLEMENT CONSULTING GROUP 55 In a changeable world of management, full of acronyms and buzzwords, it is encouraging that there are, after all, concepts that have so much substance to them that they are as relevant today as they were 10 or 20 years ago. Quite funnily, they are often underrated – per­haps because they are so obvious. Take, for instance, performance management, which we in Implement consider one of the most powerful management tools, especially in relation to changes that call for organisations and, thus, human behaviour to change. No matter how long and deeply an overweight person ponders the best strategy for achieving a healthier life, in all probability, the end result will be a regimen of eating less and exercising more. It is not exactly hard to arrive at that insight. What IS hard is to actually live by that strategy! This is where performance management becomes relevant. For, as with any other behavioural change, it is incredibly difficult to work dedicatedly towards achieving a healthier life without first stepping up on the bathroom scales, get the shock over with and then subsequently measuring whether the changes made are having an impact. If we look at major organisational chan­ges or large-scale system implementati­ons, basic impact measurements are often “forgotten”. Projects are typically initiated with the intention of easing the administrative burden, improving quality or increasing productivity, but we believe that the measurements that support attainment of the desired impact, like the bathroom scales in the example above, are in many cases not established early enough or, worse, are not established at all. Change, facts and impact
  51. 51. 56 CHANGE WITH IMPACT. THOUGHTS AND PARADOXES. A key challenge, then, is that the rules have to be defined first. If, say, we want to measure productivity, we first have to define what that actually is in each specific case, which is not necessarily an easy task. In addition, performance management, including not least establishing the measurement system itself, is not the organisa­tion’s primary focus in a change process. Often, this is regarded as a separate project to be tagged ad hoc onto the change project. But this is not feasible – impact measurement and change are inextricably linked! Without a system for impact measure­ment in place, there is a tendency to assess the project in isolation in terms of the individual project deliverables we have planned. We forget the overall purpose and find it difficult to answer the question as to why we launched this particular initiative. That makes us reluctant to make any adjustments to the project content. And whereas the idea was to learn as the project proceeds, there is a great risk of ending up in a situation where the operation was successful, but the patient died. Therefore, performance management holds water to this day. For whether we call it manage­ment by objectives, key performance indicators or some other term, it is highly recommendable to measure on indicators that give some pointers to the results we have achieved – and then, of course, to act on those results. What is most thought-provoking is perhaps that it all starts with that little word “why”. Why should I lose weight? Why do we need a new ERP system? “Why” is an amazing word that could easily replace a good many of the concepts that flourish in the world of management, but it is probably too obvious...
  52. 52. IMPLEMENT CONSULTING GROUP 57IMPLEMENT CONSULTING GROUP 57 Impact When you establish KPIs in support of the change, you’ll find that this work is highly resource-intensive and only reflects part of the change – do it anyway!
  53. 53. 58 CHANGE WITH IMPACT. THOUGHTS AND PARADOXES. To carry out; put into action; perform: To put into effect according to or by means of a definite plan or procedure. Implementation
  54. 54. IMPLEMENT CONSULTING GROUP 59 When a butterfly flaps its wings in London, the ultimate consequence may be that it triggers a hurricane in the Caribbean months later. This was one of the more spectacular conclusions that followed in the wake of the discovery that complex non­-linear systems, such as the earth’s atmosphere, are extremely sensitive to the slightest change in the system’s initial conditions. When changes are to be made in an or­ganisation, we face a similar complexity and are, thus, subject to some of the same chaotic natural laws that govern the weather. The full implications of this relatively new recognition are difficult to grasp; for the managers responsible in the organisation, for those who make a living advising on how to implement changes and for those who deal with the topic in books and theory. Basically, there are two schools of thought: Those who maintain that changes are linear, proceed through a number of well-defined phases and, thus, can be controlled, and those who maintain that changes are non-linear and chaotic and, accordingly, can be influenced, but not controlled. John P. Kotter and Ralph Stacey are good examples of management gurus representing each their school. Kotter is popular because his approach is linear and creates order. On the other hand, it is our experience that Kotter’s logic underpins – somewhat excessively so – those huge change projects that look so enticing on paper, but are so difficult to execute in practice. Here, it is important for us to stress that major change projects must be approached with cautiousness. The risk of initiating The art of implementing real change
  55. 55. 60 CHANGE WITH IMPACT. THOUGHTS AND PARADOXES. something that will run out of control is imminent. A good example is a large Scandinavian company which, following thorough strategic considerations, planned and executed a divisionalisation of the entire organisation. Within less than a year, the company went from a healthy profit margin of 10% into the red. The fixed costs exploded, while the entire organisation’s focus was directed inwards at its own issues rather than at the customers. And it was not the plan that was at fault, nor was it the strategic rationale for executing the change. It was the change process itself. This is where Stacey becomes relevant when claiming that we cannot predict the outcome of organisational changes with certainty, and that the uncertainty increases with the scope and length of the project. By analogy, it is possible to predict the weather tomorrow in Copenhagen, Stockholm or Oslo with reasonable certainty, whereas we have no idea of what it will be like in a month on a worldwide basis. In organisational terms, this means that we can do ourselves a great favour by splitting up large-scale projects into sequences of smaller ones. More loops reduce uncertainty, the organisation’s “change muscle” is exercised, and it allows us to learn from our experience. With the addition, of course, of focused and intelligent planning and execution of the individual change projects. Vast changes which in a single stroke impact the entire organisation or much of it should, as far as possible, be initiated only as a matter of life or death for the company. They look good on paper, but the art is not in planning – it is in implementing the change.
  56. 56. IMPLEMENT CONSULTING GROUP 61IMPLEMENT CONSULTING GROUP 61 When you invite people to take part in the change and give them genuine influence early on in the process, you’ll lose control – do it anyway! Implementation
  57. 57. 62 CHANGE WITH IMPACT. THOUGHTS AND PARADOXES. Importance; weightiness; in a figurative sense: being critical, carry great weight. Importance
  58. 58. IMPLEMENT CONSULTING GROUP 63 The Roman senator and general Cato incorporated the words “Furthermore, I think Carthage must be destroyed” into every speech he held in the senate. Even though he kept repeating this, he apparently did not say it enough. Just like the message in this article cannot be said often enough, even though we have heard it all before. The father of one of our colleagues had been smoking ever since he was a boy. He made it clear that his children were not to smoke, so rationally he had acknowledged that smoking is dangerous. Nevertheless, he smoked 30 cigarettes a day up until the day he suffered from coronary thrombosis at the age of 61. He survived and immediately stopped smoking. The example emphasises a key point in all change – that a change really needs to be important on a personal basis. Otherwise, it will not be realised. The concept of importance is a central point in the book A Sense of Urgency written by one of our gurus, Harvard professor John P. Kotter. Strategic changes can, quite simply, only be executed effectively if a sufficiently large part of the organisation believe it to be sufficiently important. It is just as trivial as it is right, and it must be the very definition of a waste of time to devote attention to something that is not important. Unfortunately, we often waste our time. An essential reason for this is the self-satisfaction which sneaks up on even the most skilled companies. Here, the worst thing we can do is to lean back and wait for the entire organisation, the family or whatever system we want to change to realise the seriousness of the situation. So, how do we make important things important? Make important things important
  59. 59. 64 CHANGE WITH IMPACT. THOUGHTS AND PARADOXES. First of all, we need to acknowledge that just because something is important to us, it is not necessarily important to everybody else. Here, it can be tempting to position ourselves as leaders who really make things happen. This is also OK as long as it does not turn into blind action. For instance, our colleague’s initiative of buying one year’s supply of nicotine gum to his father was, of course, done with the best intentions, but that alone would hardly be enough for him to stop smoking. The point is that if something is to be made important, the acknowledgement must start much earlier than we would typically find natural, and we must appeal to both the brain and the heart. We must also remember that we, in our role as managers, often have spent several months preparing for a strategic change. That which is important HAS become important to us, but when we then demand that the remainder of the organisation joins the ranks instantaneously, it is not only unrealistic – it is also unfair. Thus, we have been pleased when several of Scandinavia’s well-known top managers have addressed the difficult market conditions and made an honest announcement at an early stage. Not about a diffuse crisis, but specifically about the need for reductions in the capacity. This affects both the brain and the heart and makes the important things important. Carthage was ultimately destroyed. But either Cato should have held more speeches or addressed the hearts of the other senators more strongly, for it was not until Hannibal had slaughtered 70,000 Roman soldiers at Cannae that what was important became important to others than Cato.
  60. 60. IMPLEMENT CONSULTING GROUP 65IMPLEMENT CONSULTING GROUP 65 When you communicate, you’ll reach a point where you get tired of listening to yourself – do it anyway! Importance
  61. 61. 66 CHANGE WITH IMPACT. THOUGHTS AND PARADOXES. Innovation (from Latin innovatio, from in-, derivative of novus ‘new’), development of a new idea and its realisation in practice. The central point about an innovation is that, as a new idea, it is brought into actual use. Innovation
  62. 62. IMPLEMENT CONSULTING GROUP 67 During our work for a global growth company, we have recently carried out a project with focus on developing products faster and more efficiently. The project was, in our opinion, a success. The client, who is recognised as one of the world’s leading experts within his area of expertise, was, basically, satisfied. However because he acts the way he does when clients are at their best, he asks anyway: Seeing that we are capable of reducing the lead time of a project from 600 to 300 days, why not reduce it to 100 days? It is, of course, quite the partykiller in a situation where we had expected to get a pat on the shoulder for our efforts. But he is right. Why do we consider good results as final when we are fully aware that in 12 months from now, we will be able to create the same percentage improvement one more time and once again 12 months later? Why do we not change our mindset radically, raise the bar and reap the full benefits now? And once again – not in 12 months, but in six months? Recently, we had the pleasure of discussing strategy with Roger Martin, Dean of the Rotman School of Management. According to Martin, today, most strategic work suffers from a gap between analytical and intuitive thinking. This is primarily caused by the fact that strategy has become an analytical discipline where predictability is rewarded more than results. Rather promise little and surprise positively than reaching for the stars and risking not quite reaching them – analogously to the above example. However, large innovations solely based on analyses of the past are rare. For even though the analysis is imperative in order to being able to understand and generalise and, thus, Why not?
  63. 63. 68 CHANGE WITH IMPACT. THOUGHTS AND PARADOXES. scale, the tempo and complexity in our surrounding world have reached a level where we need to change the balance between value creation and our need for predictability. Those of us who think analytically must learn to speak an intuitive language, and those who think intuitively must learn to communicate in an analytical mindset. Both sets of competences are absolutely necessary. Even though innovation and intuitive thinking are closely linked, it is only when rationality and analysis are involved in the process that the large-scale commercial and business breakthroughs take place. Companies such as Apple, Google and Just Eat are good examples. Their development has been unpredictable, but their value creation has been immense because they have been able to combine intuitive and analytical thinking. Whether we, as Roger Martin, call it Design Thinking is of minor importance. We MUST be able to combine that which is rational and analytical with that which is intuitive and irrational. In this cross field, limitations turn into opportunities. This is also where the most successful companies operate and the best employees thrive, develop and generate most value. Thus, the question presented in the beginning of this article is just a logical consequence of the reality we live in and a question that we – who are well on in years – must get used to being asked: Why not?
  64. 64. IMPLEMENT CONSULTING GROUP 69IMPLEMENT CONSULTING GROUP 69 Innovation When you constantly question the way things are done, you’ll create uncertainty and debate – do it anyway!
  65. 65. 70 CHANGE WITH IMPACT. THOUGHTS AND PARADOXES. The capacity or ability to lead, the position or office of a leader. Can also mean guidance; direction. Leadership
  66. 66. IMPLEMENT CONSULTING GROUP 71 A couple of years ago, Harvard Business Review published a thought-provoking article by Gary Hamel, former professor at Harvard, who coined the concept of core competences. In the article, which in our opinion is mandatory reading for all strategists, he lists 25 “Moon Shots”. They represent his and a number of other thinkers’ thoughts on what it takes to create the same quantum leap within management in the 21st century as the Apollo programme did within technology in the 20th century. Even though all 25 Moon Shots are relevant, we have chosen to concentrate on just one of them based on a personal experience which one of our employees had recently together with his three boys aged 12-15. The boys had been given the task to plan three days where the only rules were a maximum amount of money to be spent and that it was to take place in the open. A typical project task which most of us will encounter hundreds of times during our lives – both personally and professionally. To cut a long story short, it was very difficult for the boys to agree on anything, and when the oldest finally succeeded in dictating the terms, they were quarrelling, running late and not able to meet the agreed budget. Also a typical situation in many projects. The boys’ father came to their aid and made the arrangements, and, luckily, the weekend turned out to be a great experience. They drove off into the woods, camped out, caught fish and went canoeing. When first hearing the story, we did not think more of it since we have experienced many similar situations – not just personally, but also professionally in our own company and as consultants in other organisations. Then, we read Hamel’s article, specifically Moon Shot no. 7, “Redefine the work of The leaders of the 21st century are architects
  67. 67. 72 CHANGE WITH IMPACT. THOUGHTS AND PARADOXES. leadership”, where he states: “The notion of the leader as a heroic decision-maker is untenable. Leaders must be recast as social-systems architects who enable innovation and collaboration”. The leader’s role is, within the framework of these systems, to define a set of overall ground rules and frames supporting innovation, collaboration and development among the employees. Thus, “the system” and not the leader makes the decisions. And even though this may not be just as ground-breaking to a Scandinavian as to an American, it is a good reminder – but it is easier said than done. In our experience, only few organisations are able to keep their cool and let the ship take in water, waiting for decision-making power and initiative to be built up. Instead, we put pressure on the middle manager who is superior to the employees who are to improve their ability and will to make independent decisions with the result that the middle manager merely “takes over”. And then we are back to where we started. Nevertheless, there is no getting round it. We must face that the situations – either in the role of a leader or a parent – in which we make all decisions ourselves are merely an expression of poor management and poor upbringing, respectively.
  68. 68. IMPLEMENT CONSULTING GROUP 73IMPLEMENT CONSULTING GROUP 73 When you insist on delegating decisions and rely on “the system” to make them, you’ll inevitably disagree with some of them – do it anyway! Leadership

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