The secrets of successful change management

Today, more than ever, change is permanently on the business agenda. As an interim I’ve been leading transformation projects for more than 15 years, and the dynamics of change management are always challenging, yet fascinating.

Driving successful change relies on a number of core elements that must be addressed holistically within the project. These are:

  1. Identifying the future state. All too often a business is clear on how it needs to change, but not what the end result will look like. But identifying the goal is essential – otherwise how will you know when you’ve reached it?

  2. Examining your culture. The success or failure of change is often down to company culture – and often the evolution of organisational culture becomes a key objective within the change programme.

  3. Communication. As with any project, communication is crucial – both in the change lead communicating their progress, challenges and observations, and in engaging all stakeholders along the way.

  4. Leadership. Senior backing of the project is essential. Every change programme needs executive sponsorship in order to gain the commitment of the teams and individuals that need to deliver it – and to overcome the inevitable roadblocks.

  5. Focus. The reason that organisations so frequently call in the support of an interim is to maintain a relentless focus on the change. Anyone with a ‘day job’ to do will always be compromised in delivering successful transformation.

In my most recent assignment, I designed seven workstreams to deliver the required change. These spanned diverse areas including people and culture, IT and programme management. To ensure buy-in and support for the programme, we recruited two sponsors per workstream, along with subject matter experts to drive the changes.

Within just nine months, my team designed and delivered an extensive transformation programme for a charitable organisation, setting them up for ongoing future success.

Jan Stroud is a highly qualified change professional with 20 years’ senior management experience. A skilled communicator, she has planned and managed projects with budgets of more than £30M. Her career history spans the philanthropic, charitable, healthcare and commercial sectors, working with organisations including Macmillan Cancer Support, numerous NHS Trusts, the University of East Anglia and Royal Marsden Hospital.

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