15 May Pre-Change Consulting
Getting clear about the change required and how best to go about it
There is often a pressure on leaders of change to ‘get on with it’ and not to spend too much time planning the change process. However, this is often where the process starts to go wrong – spending a little time thinking through the change process and how best to approach it can often save a lot of time and money in the long run.
We have often found ourselves talking to clients about their requirements and having a difficult discussion along the lines of ‘we wouldn’t recommend starting from here…’
This service provides a solution to this problem by offering an early and objective assessment of the change requirement and an independent recommendation on the best way forward before significant time and money is committed to the process. We have these discussions with the leadership team before the change process is communicated across the organisation – the earlier the better!
An Independent Sounding Board
Anyone who has worked at a senior level in business will know that it is hard to find the time and space to think about key business challenges. And, even when they are able to find time, leaders often find it difficult to think about such challenges objectively, particularly when they are under pressure to find solutions quickly. There is often a desire to approach things in a way that has been adopted previously, or conversely to try something new because previous attempts haven’t worked, or to adopt an approach favoured by colleagues.
It is at times like these that talking to an independent party about the challenge and looking at it from a different perspective can be invaluable. This can help the business leader to work through the challenge, to understand why it is a challenge in the first place, to clarify what they want to achieve, to work out how they would prefer to go about it and to develop this preferred approach.
In this situation, the independent sounding board isn’t often offering a specific solution but rather a clear way of framing the problem and a range of possibilities for how it could be addressed. This is the key point from our perspective and the more we have come to realise this and not tried to push a specific solution, the more effective we have been in helping our clients achieve their goals.
The Earlier the Better
The critical issue from our perspective is timing… the earlier we are able to talk to clients about their change challenges the better, as this provides us with more opportunity to add value to the process.
However, we also appreciate that this is difficult for clients. We often find that leaders, quite naturally, want to get a clear idea about what external support they need before they ask for it. This usually leads to the definition of a quite tight brief which a number of external providers are invited to respond to. And yet, in the majority of such cases, we find that the brief we’ve been invited to respond to isn’t where we would recommend starting the change process from. This presents a tricky situation for both the client and the provider, as the former is often inclined to stick to the brief and the latter is often inclined to respond to the brief as it is rather than to recommend what they think is best…
What We Do…
Whilst we don’t offer off-the-shelf services and prefer to tailor the services we offer to each clients’ specific needs, there are three key elements to our Pre-Change Consulting service that we will always consider:
Understanding the Challenge (Getting under the skin of the organisation)
- What are the leadership teams’ objectives?
- What do the employees think?
- What do customers expect of the business?
Framing the Problem
- Is this a new initiative or a business as usual challenge?
- What is the desired pace of change?
- Should it be tackled top-down and/or bottom-up?
Determining the Most Appropriate Approach
- How are we going to lead change?
- How are we going to engage and involve employees?
- What is the approach we recommended?