Over the last 3 weeks we have been discussing change management data and specifically how to use big data; with a focus on how this can improve your change management communication strategy.
This week we wanted to share a recent project we undertook with one of our clients where the use of the Communication Effectiveness Assessment (CEA) tool gave them real data that they used to decide how to alter their communication strategy. The end result - they managed to take concrete action to turn around a struggling business transformation.
A major business transformation was required
Prompted by numerous disruptive changes in the various markets they operated in, our client decided to invest in and focus on its core business. They divested all non-core assets over a period of 3-years. To support this shift in focus our client has been undergoing a series of changes since 2015.
Their aim: to move from being a group of individual BUs to a single global business.
The next stage in the journey is to transform Finance. A function which is currently hampered by multiple systems and poor reporting capabilities processes, this change initiative is focused on transforming Finance into a business-centered value creator. The goal is to achieve this vision by 2018.
Transforming the Finance function is a considerable change
It is clearly recognized that to achieve the vision Finance will need to change the roles and ways of working for all its colleagues (over 10,000 people). This meant that a substantial and sustained change management effort was required.
Our client started the change process and began communicating key messages about the transformation goals and programs. The communication process involved a lot of top-down communication supported by Town Hall type meetings.
The Steering Group soon began to suspect that these messages were either not being received or, if they were heard, not resonating with the people they wanted to change.
Using the CEA tool to identify key communication risks.
The Steering Committee asked the Change Team to use the CEA tool to assess what the issues and challenges were. A sample of 2000 people were surveyed and follow up meetings were held.
(Excerpt from the Changefirst Communication Effectiveness Assessment (CEA) tool)
The assessment identified a number of risks, the top 3 being:
Risk 1: Not clearly communicating the personal implications of change. The communication messages weren’t helping people understand the implications of the change for them personally. They understood the organization wanted to change but they needed to know the possible impact on themselves.
Risk 2: No opportunity for dialogue. The way information was communicated made it very hard for people to engage with the change. People across the organization needed real opportunities to talk about the change rather than receiving information via one-way communication.
Risk 3: A lack of leadership credibility. Leadership credibility was fairly low. People preferred to receive information from their direct bosses, who were more credible because they knew them individually and interacted with them every day.
Re-designing the Communication Approach
The Change Team were able to re-design the communications process by asking people what information they wanted to hear about, how they wanted to receive that information and by training local managers to engage with their teams robustly about the change.
With a change in approach the team had turned around the failing change initiative and avoided some of the common pitfalls associated with change communications. When the CEA was re-run the change management data showed the risk scores were substantially reduced and our client had a robust platform to drive forward the rest of the Change Management plan.
Assess your change communication approach today using Roadmap Pro
If data is key for your organization, you may be interested in using a change management tool to track your change projects in real time with the right data.
Roadmap Pro is our transformation toolkit with 9 diagnostic tools and powerful reporting capabilities to ensure you can get the right change data - as and when you need it.