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How to deliver change and benefits without cutting corners or breaking the bank

Updated: Jan 16, 2019

Effective and efficient change in a resource constrained environment

Have you considered the best way to do it? Here is what we think happens and the implications of decisions without consulting a change management professional.

The Challenge

The challenge faced by many organisations today is how to adopt and implement the changes that have been identified as critical to the strategy and organisation’s vision. Typically, CEOs and senior management will ask themselves some of these critical questions:

Reflect on these Questions

a. Whose role is it to make this happen? Who will sponsor the project and be responsible for delivering the success to the business?

b. Does that person know both what to do and does he/she know how to do it

c. As the top team, do we really understand what outcomes and benefits this change will give us? and what else do we need to do to deliver those outcomes?

d. What other impacts will our change have on our employees, our suppliers and our customers?

e. Can we run this initiative as business as usual (BAU) or is it better to run as an external project?

f. What is the business case, and how do we know how much this is going to cost? Are there an alternative set of options?

Often, CEOs and senior management realise they can’t answer all these questions and recognise that they may not have the ability or the capacity to do what is required. Sometimes senior management don’t consider asking themselves the questions above and instead adopt the attitude that:

A. We must do it, so let’s just get on with it

B. It’s a “No Brainer”, we can do this

The differentiator here is that, it takes more than a determined attitude to make change work in an organisation. At some stage during the change journey, either up front for those who asked the critical questions or later when problems, overruns and cost increases occur, the CEO and team will realise that their issue is about capacity and will look to solve it by hiring more people or engaging interim experts. If senior management realise that the issue is around capability (not capacity) then they’ll ask for professional advice in the form of consultancy.

Change management has a snow-balling affect. If you haven’t run a successful change management programme before, you won’t have the foresight to see this coming. Throwing more resource at the problem and hiring extra staff is rarely the answer on its own, particularly when the purpose of the change initiative may well be to reduce head count and employee costs. Likewise, the solution of abdicating ownership and responsibility to an external consultancy rarely reduces costs and often doesn’t gain employee buy-in. Caught between these two approaches, the dilemma is that: Financial times are tough, AND the initiative must be seen through. We don’t know how to do it, don’t have the capacity to do it, or can’t afford to outsource it. What to do?

This brings us to the real question

How can organisations make the best use of external resource and advice in a way that is both effective and efficient to truly help their own people think and work differently?

These challenges can be a result of software/systems implementations, mergers or de-mergers, new market or product launches, regulatory changes (Brexit) and so forth. At first sight, organisations see the direct costs of the solution and use this data to write the business case. Tangible facts are not enough in this case to determine a successful change initiative. The majority of the business case is determined by the change impact and the ability of people to do things differently as they adopt new ways of working that make the implementation/merger or project a success.

The biggest reasons for failed projects over the last 30 years have been when IT projects were owned by IT departments and merger projects were owned by Marketing departments, instead of the business. The subsequent failure to deliver is often because of ‘No business buy-in’ or ‘IT don’t understand our operational requirements’ or due to poor planning and costing when the business case was made. Generally, this is the start of a politically toxic battle where blame and finger pointing exists between: Business, functional Departments and Vendors. A different approach is needed if you intend on getting different outcomes.

You can break the paradigm and snap organisations out of the silo mentality by adopting what we call “Behind the Eye” change. The change can be managed and delivered by the business, to the business, in an effective and efficient manner. Organisations can learn to deliver more outcomes and benefits than they anticipated, by focusing beyond what’s in front of them demanding their attention. At MCW, we use the ‘Behind the Eye’ change approach to prepare and enable organisations to manage their own change journey. The strategy focuses on what happens in people’s heads by raising their ‘Quality of Mind®’. It’s a scientifically proven method that leads to greater clarity and understanding, more open and honest conversations, personal growth and better working partnerships that deliver success. Consider the middle column ‘what appears to be the norm’ and compare it to the ‘golden standard’ reached by raising Quality of Mind. Where would you want to be?

The MCW ‘Behind the Eye’ change strategy is universal and complements all change management methodologies. Managing change effectively and efficiently leads to significant savings, increased project ROI, and an increase in organisational value. At the end of the day, organisations can’t afford to just survive the change, they need to thrive because of the change.

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