Communication and Transformation

McKinsey research has just published some good data on organizational transformation.  To see one summary, visit: http://www.mckinsey.com/insights/organization/How_to_beat_the_transformation_odds?cid=other-eml-alt-mip-mck-oth-1504

You'll find their definition of transformation there — they are using the term rather broadly to include all kinds of business process change — but they go on to ask about a number of possible actions that the managers of the organization might take, from role modeling the desired change, and standardizing procedures, to communication of various kinds.  Most managers report that transformation efforts are less successful than they would like.  (And most employees say that manager's evaluate transformations as more successful than they would.)  So the question that McKinsey asks is, what actions correlate with success.   The overall answer is that no specific thing correlates very highly — it takes a mix of things to assure success — but the one actions that correlates best is communication, and the more the better.

In one sense, this is what the folks that mention Change Management have been saying for some time.  It just underlines some of the things that I've said in recent blogs.  People are important!   If you want to generate change, you need to get the people to support it and, ultimately, to implement it.  So, in you plan a change initiative, start early and communicate often.  Moreover, the higher level the manager doing the communication, the better.   It's important to employees that their immediate supervisor cares about the changes being undertaken.  But its even more important that the division head or the CEO is willing to get behind the change and really push for it.

One of the specific insights of the article centered on the role of “change stories” — a simple description of why the change is important and what the organization will be like after the change takes place.   When asked, if they were going to do something different, most CEOs said they would spend more time talking about the change story.

This is an article I recommend you download and read.

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