Managing Strategic Change Assignment
You have a choice; simply address the EIS case material as directed below or select a ‘case’ of your own as per the Personal Change Topic.
- Analyse how the change was managed (identify the rationale, objectives, planning activities, implementation strategies and evaluate them) using the models/framework/tools we have introduced in the lectures, articles, and from your own research,
- Critically reflect on your understanding of the course the extent to which you can identify the usage of theory/best practice, and
- Assess performance and recommend alternative courses of action and/or highlight best practice.
You should adopt the following report style:
- Executive Summary
- Main Body – Critical reflective analysis of change/case study. Include the detailed analysis in an Appendix.
Support your arguments with peer-reviewed academic articles from reputable academic journals. The word limit is 2500 not including references, tables, diagrams, pictorial representations, Appendix et al.
Managing Organisational Change Excel Impact Services (EIS) a case study
Excel Impact Services (EIS) was part of Mega Holdings Ltd and specialised in delivering Health Service Facility led services. EIS employed 8,000 staff and 100% of its business was provided by the central sales department within Mega Holdings Ltd. For five years EIS grew at an average rate of 5 % and enjoyed industry wide awards and recognition. It became known as a very customer focused service organisation.
However, in 2007/8 The banking crises brought severe austerity measures in public sector spending. Overnight the organisation saw funding from clients being reduced by up to 20% with additional year on year budget savings demanded. EIS was now perceived as a considerable risk to the Mega Holdings Ltd.
A decision was subsequently taken to separate EIS from Mega Holdings Ltd and set it up as a commercial business with its own legal identity and governance structures including of a Board of
Directors. The EIS staff were no longer employees of Mega Holding Ltd. The new “business” was charged with working not only for Mega Holdings Ltd as a client but also with developing new independent income streams and significantly reducing its cost base and identifying a source of competitive advantage.
The Executive Leader
The management team at EIS was led by a Managing a Director who was well known for placing high value on commercial thinking and relationship management skills. Within the wider UK Facility Services Sector, he was perceived as an innovative and visionary leader. He realised that the wider management team and their service teams would require specialist support to ensure that they could fit in to the new
‘culture’ that was required if the organisation was to proposer and achieve its strategic goals. With his team he developed a five-year transitional plan that involved the following strategic elements:
- Contain and reform established business
- Re engineer all business processes to increase productivity
- Re brand the new business
- Aggressively pursue new business
- Advance a culture that reflected a sales led orientation
- Introduce a new performance reward system
External Change Consultancy Company
The MD appointed a Change Partner from an external consultancy service to;
- Diagnose the culture in use
- Advise on a Business Process Re-engineering approach
- Advise on rebranding and associated marketing plans
- Relate the established culture to the new strategic direction unfolding
- Identify cultural ‘blockers’ and ‘enablers, from the cultural audit that either blocked or enabled strategic success
- Build a corporate report entitled “The Case for Change” that recommended interventions
- Build in consultation with management a change programme that would span 3 years.
- Collaborate on the implementation of the content of the change program
- Evaluate its ongoing success
- Run a series of educational and developmental change management work shops
The case for change
The EIS change project was based on hard data obtained from the research process conducted by the external change partner and was subsequently branded ‘The EIS Way’.
The EIS change network
The principal technology employed to change the organisation identified by the diagnostic process was a network of change teams made up of 240 managers. The managers were clustered into 24 change teams, each with a designated change leader. The teams had the freedom to diagnose a ‘problem’ at EIS and then set about developing a change intervention to address it. The idea that underpinned the initiative was that each member of the change network could ‘influence’ the motivation of their broader team members towards the achievement of the goals. What was required was a device that would legitimise The EIS Way as a transformational change project. The device that was introduced was the concept of ‘team selected change projects’ and so there would be 24 specific change initiatives aimed at improving sales, productivity and strategy.
The change team structure
The EIS change project involved management representation from all parts of the organisation. A process was developed to select the change project team members and to communicate the rationale behind the selection process to those selected. Each change team had a change leader. EIS avoided having teams that had a group of managers of similar rank or from the same occupational groups to break down the silo tribalism that permeated the organisation.
The role of the change leader was a critical part of the change programme. However, rather than one leader, what was required was a network of change leaders all working on the change initiative. This was accomplished through ‘The Change Network’, a change leadership model that encapsulated all managers within the organization.
The change manager
The change manager was responsible for coordinating the design, implementation and review of the cultural change programme. It was important that this person was politically credible in the role in relation to the broad network of stakeholders he or she was required to collaborate with throughout the change management process.
The change mentor
The change mentor was a senior manager who mentored a set of change teams and who provided sponsorship, guidance, motivation, emotional support, and role modelling.
Change Programme Structure
The EIS Way was to be structured around a series of change episodes to give the change project form and allow a linear approach to planning and implementation although in practice this did involve iterations.
Episode 1: Setting the scene for change
The first stage of the EIS change project was to set the scene for the change process. Episode 1 was mainly concerned with selling the change programme to both the change leaders and their teams. This selling process was important as it provided the sense of vitality and group motivation required to mobilize efforts and sustain them for the duration of the journey. The objective was to select teams of change leaders and create the conditions for change leaders and their teams to enjoy the change process and to make every effort to ensure that it was a useful and productive experience.
Episode 2: The inaugural team meeting
The next episode was the meeting of change leaders and their team members. This was the start of the team-building process. At this meeting the case for change was strengthened. The following agenda items were covered:
- A general discussion of the change process.
- Agreement of a team name to aid the development of a group identity.
- Development of an outline set of team rules for meetings.
- Establishment of a contact list and a communication plan.
- Agreement on roles for all team members.
- A process for taking a record of the meeting and agreed action points.
- To agree on who should chair future meetings.
- The linking of discussions to both the change objectives and the core values of the organisation.
Episode 3: Identify a change problem
It was agreed that the team may drill down to a level that precisely identified the change problem for example: ‘improving the way in which area managers communicated with unit managers regarding corporate initiatives’. They would have to describe exactly what was wrong with the current situation and then the preferred future status.
Once the change team had reached agreement on a choice of change problem they would, through their change leader, seek the support in principle of the change leader’s mentor for their proposal. This was a critical change filter. Assuming the change leader obtained the support of the mentor, the group moved to the next stage in the change process. The mentor then had responsibility to support the change team and to advise key stakeholders that the team were working on changes in their area of operations, what these changes were and to obtain in principle their support for the change initiative.
Episode 4: Develop a feasibility plan
This next episode involved developing a feasibility plan to inform the change initiative put forward by each change team. This would involve the team participating in a change management workshop facilitated by the change manager. The purpose of the workshop was for the change teams to:
- Further develop the change problem.
- Discuss the change management process.
- Consider the content and purpose of a feasibility/change plan.
- Work through a mock change problem, e.g., ‘improving the effectiveness of headquarters
receptionists in coordinating calls to managers from various stakeholders’.
This process of discussing a mock change problem ensured multiple teams engaged in the workshop.
This part of the process was called ‘playing in the sand pit’ and ensured that teams made mistakes in a non-threatening situation. The mock feasibility/change plan involved the change teams considering themes such as:
- Researching consumer attitudes to establish that their assumptions of a change problem can be evidenced.
- Identifying potential change barriers especially cultural themes in use.
- Identification of key stakeholders and resource requirements.
- Developing models of communications in relation to the change problem.
The learning outcome of this workshop was that change teams could prepare a business case underpinned by a feasibility study in support of their change project. This ‘playing in the sand pit’ helped to build confidence as change professionals.
Episode 5: Getting serious
This part of the process included designing a simple research instrument to test the assumption that the team had arrived at. Once the research data had been collected, the teams would start assessing the feasibility of the change initiative to inform the preparation of the business case. The feasibility plan would explore the ‘what’ questions, e.g., ‘What do we have to do to deliver on this change project?’. Then followed the ‘how’ questions, e.g., ‘How do we mobilize the resources we need?’ ‘How do we overcome cultural barriers to our change ambitions?’ Then there is the ‘why?’ question, e.g., ‘Why are we doing this?’ The episode ended with the change leader arranging to meet with the key stakeholder to secure support for the change project.
Episode 6: Win over key stakeholders
The team would complete the feasibility plan and the business case. They would then draft a presentation which:
- Defined the change problem.
- Argued for the case for change.
- Illustrated the resources required to deliver the changes.
- Determined the benefits of the change investment to the organisation.
The benefits of the change project were to be clearly defined in a wider sense than simply financial savings. The return on investment could be in monetary terms or it could be in cultural terms such as improved teamworking, innovation and communications. The team prepared for the next episode – a key stakeholder presentation.
Episode 7: Present change plan and the feasibility study to key stakeholders
This episode involved the full change team. From the perspective of stakeholders there was a need to ensure that appraisal was not unduly harsh and was a constructive review of the change proposal, its feasibility plan and business case. The change leader and his or her team would be expected to record all feedback and, following the presentation, the team would refine their presentation and supporting documentation.
Episode 8: Board-level presentations
This part of the process was very important, akin to a military passing-out ceremony. The team would receive the approbation of the most senior people in the organisation. Most of the change team members had never had the opportunity to present to the most senior people in the organisation. If done properly this offered an opportunity for establishing motivational vitality with long-lasting impact on the team members. The opportunity for recognition and positive feedback had long-term motivational effects and led to a stronger and more positive identification with the organisation and the work it does on the part of the employees. The board would agree to adopt the change initiative for implementation.
Episode 9: Change team selects future change leaders
At this stage the change team would start to formally disband. Part of this process would be selecting the team member best suited to lead the next phase of change project teams. The change leaders from the pilot stage would take up a mentoring role to the nominated change leader. This established relationship ties between managers from very different parts of the business and a network of mutual respect that encouraged other positive relations throughout service teams. It also encouraged a culture of teaching, support and openness to personal and group learning.
Episode 10: Review the change process
The review process did not only occur at the latter stage of the change process. There were interval assessments of an unofficial nature called ‘bus stop tests’. There were also two short surveys and a team focus session, which involved the change leaders, the change facilitator and the change teams gauging how they were experiencing the change programme. There would be a mixed-methods approach applied to the review process involving:
- Focus groups hosted by a senior director with the change teams to listen to their views on what they felt worked well and not so well;
- Survey instruments that aimed to select anonymous views from change participants; 360-degree assessments of team leaders on the part of change team members.
Episode 11: Implementation of the change project
This aspect of the change programme was to be administrated through a ‘Change project implementation board’. This would be a sub-board of the main company board and would report to the main board members on its activities. This was a very tricky part of the change process as at this stage top leadership needed to demonstrate high energy levels and commitment to implementation of the change projects. This was a critical second-order stage: change leaders sustain and reinforce the new changes in values and assumptions to establish them as new, vibrant cultural norms.
Meta Episode: Business Process Reengineering at EIS
Running parallel as a meta episode with the above project team network program was an intensive Business Process Reengineering project which was reviewed in session 7 of the course. The EIS BPR
project was called ‘1 Business’. This project involved the following core change management activities:
- A Network of BPR Internal change leaders created
- A SAP partner identified and approved
- A BPR 1 Business project board established
- Visio software selected as key mapping tool
- A Schedule of mapping session established across the departments
- Each BPR 1 Business change leader facilitated over 50 Process Mapping workshops of as is and to be processes
- Each department formed a local change board
- The local change boards then approved localised 1 Business change project to actualise the new ‘to be’ processes’
- Each department then implemented the change plan and for a time ran with both ‘as is’ and ‘to be’ processes
The ten key change management initiatives that organised the BPR change process were:
- Setting up a project team
- Establishing a plan, a vision and a purpose
- Establishing a training programme for all key collaborators
- Defining target business processes
- Mapping business processes
- Identifying improvement opportunities
- Designing future state processes
- Composing a change plan
- Trialing future state changes
- Evaluating new process success
The key performance indicators that were adopted to evaluate progress were as follows:
- Monthly change progress audit reports
- Drop of rate for legacy processes
- Reduction in parallel processes (as is and to be)
- Training delegates successful completing training courses
- Attendance rates for training courses
- Milestone achievement compared with change plan deadlines
- Anticipated productivity gains
- Snagging issues resolved
- Data input errors
The organising structure employed to manage the BPR project at EIS included specific roles such as:
- Change Leader: who leads the change process
- Visio mappers: who map out ‘as is’ change processes
- Process Owner: who navigates the Visio mappers
- Reengineering team: who reviewed the ‘as is’ processes and redesign the ‘to be’ processes
- Steering committee: who monitor progress and authorise changes and investment
- Reengineering czar: who selects enabling technologies and advise/recommends methodological approaches
The EIS Way operated for a period of 3 years. It generated 24 discrete change projects and fully reengineered the operating processes throughout the business. It was fully rebranded as a business and enjoyed success in open tendering winning substantial soft facility services.
Personal Change Topic
A report investigating a topical change event of interest to the participant, their sponsor or career aspirations. Identify a change initiative that was triggered by an external source, for example, BREXIT or Zero Emissions, analyse how an organisation, or indeed an industry, is tackling the change (identify the rational, objectives, planning activities, implementation strategies and evaluate them), then compare against best practice; (given your understanding of the course to what extent can you identify the usage of theory/best practice, would you recommend alternative courses of action?).
You should adopt a report style: set the scene, detail the history, examine and critique the outcomes, detail the lessons, and then suggest a way forward. Be careful, it is your thoughts, reasoning, recommendations that will count, not those, if you have selected a case from a published source, of the original academic researcher and/or practitioner. Use appendices for descriptive material relating to the selected topic; use your words wisely, identify an element of your analysis that you consider key, then go deeper into this element – depth not breadth. For example, you may consider that this went well, or badly, due to governance, leadership, implementation or communication, so pick one and limit your assignment reading to this area.