Faced with a particular organisational challenge, many leaders decide to set up an internal change team to drive the required shifts – in structures, processes or behaviours. This might comprise a cross-functional group, sponsored by an FD and managed by an HR Business Partner, for example. Or perhaps a cross-organisational group of ‘change champions' or 'change agents', representing both operational and functional support groups.
This can be an extremely effective way of delivering sustainable change, while also drawing on and developing the change management knowledge and skills of a wide range of staff.
However, internal change teams can often struggle because their members i) find it hard to ‘see’, or challenge, the more deep-rooted issues that need tackling; ii) lack key ‘change agent’ skills.
Struggling change teams often fall back on 'project management' approaches, which deaden responsibility-taking and squash creativity by over-organising. This leads to pockets of resistance, an illusion of progress, complex organisational politics and, ultimately, under-delivery.
Our ‘minimal intervention’ approach to helping internal change teams typically includes:
- Designing and facilitating a Change Team kick-off session to align around purpose, journey plan and ways of working
- Introducing our Integral Change Leadership Pathway, where appropriate: building capability to use this tool to structure and inform the Change Team's ongoing work
- Supporting the Change Team to contract strongly with the Leadership Team and ensure a strong support/challenge relationship exists between them
- Designing and facilitating regular 'Change Team' supervision sessions – to build change agent skills and change management skills, advise on intervention strategies, support effective team working and celebrate progress
- Partnering change team members on critical pieces of work where necessary
Recent work includes:
- Facilitating and coaching a change team within a global manufacturing company as it agreed a journey plan and grew its competencies
- Supporting a team of Finance Business Partners in a FMCG company to enable the business to alter its practices in support of increased cost-scrutiny
- Designing and facilitating an intervention to improve the leadership and joint-working of a cross-departmental group of ‘Transformation Officers’ within a local authority
- Working with an internal change team tasked with implementing a new IT-based system in a manufacturing context, and changing the accompanying behaviours/habits of team leaders
"I believe that you have an ability to really listen to what people are saying and hear what they truly mean. You are very intuitive and can see into the organisation, understand how people/the teams are functioning (or not) and in that get to some powerful models which help drive change within that organisation"
Helen Forde, Production Unit Manager within a global energy company
"I would say that not only do you know your stuff, you can help people to practically apply it... Ultimately people are always looking for a return for their money and in this sort of area it can feel quite nebulous and difficult to measure. While you are cognisant of the longer-term, bigger picture, you are adept at ensuring there are some quick measurable wins, thereby grounding the client's needs and proving your worth."
Finance Director, FMCG FTSE 100 company