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28 Feb 2016

Change management gains awareness and respect

by Melanie Franklin

What a difference a year makes! I have been a regular visitor to Saudi Electricity Company (SEC) in Riyadh over the last year, taking responsibility for designing and delivering a range of training courses to build skills and awareness of how to manage large change initiatives. SEC are transforming their business model and every aspect of how they work. It’s a tremendous undertaking, staffed by their leaders of the future who are motivated and committed to creating new ways of working.

12 month ago

When I first started the training, the questions from the attendees involved explaining what change management means, what activities are involved and how this fits alongside project management responsibilities.

To answer these questions we have worked through the theories of Kurt Lewin, John Kotter and William Bridges to give us an approach to planned change. We supplemented this with practical approaches to motivating staff and addressing resistance to change.

What is really interesting is how over the last 12 months I have noticed how those attending my courses have moved from wanting to discuss the value and need for change management to how to get better at doing it.

Evolved requirements

In the latest round of training we have had in-depth conversations about how to build an environment that supports ideas for change from the bottom up. Attendees were keen to find ways to support on-going change, and to move away from only resourcing change as part of a defined programme of improvements. After all, if one off programmes create change, they will have to be repeated as soon as they are finished, as the market forces, societal trends and the regulatory environment continue to demand more change.

These conversations lead me to consider the evolutionary steps that an organisation can expect to experience as it creates its capability for managing change. SEC are on the path described below, but so are a number of my other clients.

Maturity Assessment

Use these steps as a quick ‘maturity assessment’ for your own change efforts:

  1. Getting a few key staff formally trained in effective change management
  2. Hold on-site training courses which introduce change management as a professional discipline
  3. Further develop your on-site offering into workshops where those involved in change initiatives can scope and plan their work and consider how to get people involved in making change happen
  4. Hold briefings for senior managers to summarise the training that their managers are receiving
  5. Work at the senior level to encourage the addition of a capability for change as a strategic priority
  6. Widen out your change workshops so that those most affected by your key change initiatives are also trained in the basics of what change management is and what it involves
  7. Help those you have trained to host their own workshops for staff affected by change


Share your experiences

What do you think about these 7 steps? Have I missed any out? Where is your organisation along this pathway? Get in touch and share your thoughts.

Melanie Franklin
28th February 2016