Transformation Leadership Skill 5 - Engage Organizations

By Paul Bohr, Chief Transformation Architect

Transformation Leaders are expected to successfully engage individuals and entire organizations in their efforts to deliver transformation and significant performance improvement. 

Engaging individuals and organizations typically has three primary objectives:

· Development of Stakeholder Ownership & Understanding of Changes

· Delivering Accelerated Results (Three to Six Months)

· Develop Sustained Supply Chain Capabilities (Consistent & Confident Performance)

Stakeholder Understanding and Ownership

The traditional approach to change management assembles a small change team, conducts stakeholder surveys and interviews, then develops and executes communication plans to respond to stakeholder areas of resistance. These traditional initiatives typically leave stakeholders feeling manipulated and being “sold something.” Developing the level of stakeholder ownership and understanding for transformational change requires the addition of collaborative events that engage large teams of stakeholders in defining improvement goals then designing and implementing the solutions to achieve those goals. 

Accelerated Results

The collaborative engagement of the stakeholders greatly reduces the time needed to deliver significant change.  Most large change initiatives will first design the solution, then engage the stakeholders in communication of the need, reasons, and features of the solution. Once the perceived “value” of the solution is communicated, functional training is completed to establish each stakeholders understanding of their role in supporting the changes. This cycle of change moves much more quickly when the stakeholders are the ones to design the solution (don’t need extensive training), and they are the original authors of the “value” of the change. 

Sustained Capabilities

Many change efforts suffer from the “spotlight effect” in which an area of improvement is sustained while  attention is focused on it. But when efforts focus on other areas, the improvements disappear. The transformation leader is challenged to develop the understanding of the “need” for change as well as the “ownership” of the solutions and capabilities for sustained performance. The changes must become just “the way we do business” and engrained in the culture and identity of the organization. 

This approach is very different from traditional change management initiatives that seek to achieve adoption of concepts and ideas, but cease activities far short of assuring sustained capabilities of the organization. 

We have named this more comprehensive approach Collaborative Change Management because it engages stakeholders in a much more collaborative way. This approach continues stakeholder engagement, communication, and readiness assessment until a capability for consistent and sustained performance is demonstrated.

The Transformation Leader must be highly skilled in the more comprehensive Collaborative Change Management Methods and Tools to confidently deliver the accelerated and significant improvements of supply chain transformation.

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