Global Manufacturer – Transformation Leadership Team
A large international engineering company had recognised for some time that their global finance systems and processes were no longer fit for purpose and needed to be transformed extensively to bring them up to date. The core transformation team of 16 people had been preparing for this change for some time and believed they knew what to do to make it happen.
They were a very enlightened team and seemed to work reasonably well together, happy to be well aligned in their thinking about the business and the change task ahead. They had been working with an excellent leadership coach who had helped them to understand their emotions and behaviours both individually and as a group, which they really valued. They felt ready to take on the change ahead.
As they worked through what needed to be done, they began to realise that this change was bigger than anything they had done before and would involve fundamental changes to the way the company operates. The jobs of many thousands of employees would change significantly and in some cases would no longer exist, so the impact would be felt by many.
Their coach, recognising the size of the change task ahead, decided to see if there were any tools to help test their own readiness for change and also that of the wider organisation. She knew from experience that it's always better to act from real insights rather than relying completely on intuition.
Having found the free version of the change readiness assessment online she got in touch and then arranged to run it first with the 16 people in the core senior team. The change readiness assessment is designed to uncover the hidden beliefs, perspectives and concerns that often don't come out in daily conversations but which are driving the attitudes and behaviours of everyone.
The results were shocking to many of the team members. The key thing they spotted immediately was that they weren't anywhere near as aligned as they had previously thought! They then had the stark realisation that if this small group of 16 were seeing things so differently what would those differences be like in the wider population of people involved in and impacted by the change.
As they started to process what they had found out they realised that as the core transformation leadership team they absolutely had to deal with this mis-alignment before trying to make any changes, otherwise they would all be pulling in different directions.
They also realised that their individual objectives and reward and recognition arrangements weren't in any way tied to the success of the change. In some cases they would be better off without the change happening, clearly not ideal at all!
The also realised that they many of the team were feeling overwhelmed by what needed to be done alongside their normal day jobs. They had significantly underestimated the amount of time required and weren't giving the programme sufficient priority. They would need to work out what else they could stop doing to free up enough time, and that would almost certainly be a general issue everywhere.
The overwhelming emotion though was one of relief that they had identified these things now and could do something about them. These differences would have almost certainly caused significant conflict within the group and beyond as different business functions would have been pulling in different directions.
They began working through their differences and fixing the reward and recognition mis-alignment which in turn also helped them to become much closer and more trusting as a team. They felt very pleased with themselves that they not only had they seen something they couldn't see before but they were really getting to the bottom of it together and that felt great!
Whilst they still had the daunting transformation task ahead of them it was clear that they were focusing now on the things that would give the change the biggest chance of success. Most importantly there was the sense that they were now all truly pulling together.