"Everybody has accepted by now that change is unavoidable. But that still implies that change is like death and taxes — it should be postponed as long as possible and no change would be vastly preferable. But in a period of upheaval, such as the one we are living in, change is the norm."

Peter Drucker Management Challenges for the 21st Century (1999)

Innovation Consultancy Partnership Limited has project managed assignments and rolled up our sleeves to implement change at the sharp end in organisations for over 20 years.

In our opinion, most companies don’t fail for lack of talent or strategic vision; they fail for lack of execution” Here we set out the structure we use to project manage change in organisations.

We believe there are three alternatives approaches to changing and improving the way an organisation operates. These options are based on the extent of change being considered and have a quite significant impact on the way a change program is structured.

It may be that you require company-wide organisational changes that affect the very fabric of its culture. This is a business transformation and will result in fundamentally a new way of doing business, addressing all business processes with customer focussed attitudes.

A lesser holistic change process, but still one of major significance that tackles a major part of the business is one we call strategic improvement. Here, key strategic or operational weaknesses or opportunities are targeted with a sharp focus on enhancing operational efficiency or the product development process.

Lastly, are basic problem solving processes that are required to fix specific issues or an urgent need that may be required in improve throughput, reduce customer complaint or a reduction exercise.

“We have found that by reaching for what appears to be the impossible, we often actually do the impossible.”
...Jack Welsh retired CEO GE

Typical Value Change Output Improvement

This is most certainly our view. People can make a difference above and beyond the extent to which they think they can. Of course, this means providing the right culture, personal development and leadership. In all of our assignments we focus on stretch targets

Our clients; the customer needs to be in partnership with clear and unambiguous objectives and outcomes from the outset. We do not proceed without this imperative. For example, we would agree the following;

Real partnership

• Project jointly managed through the Steering Group
• Business case for change

Real benefit

• Tangible, measurable and agreed benefits on bottom line
• Quality assurance - project plan with milestone meetings

Real deliverables

• Results - tangible, sustainable, bottom-line based
• Commitment - fixed price, fixed benefit, fixed time scale
• Pace - we do it fast, we do it on time
• Track record - consistent delivery of results
• Sustainability - developing your people
• Flexibility - bespoke solutions designed with your people

Creating stakeholder value – a proven critical path to success

Our challenge is to continually seek to create stakeholder value in the face of growing global competition. This simple model has been used successfully in many previous projects and we invite you to review a few highlights at the end of this section headed ‘actual projects’.

We describe below the principle elements of the program that need to be fulfilled.

The first step is to understand clearly the business opportunities and define way forward

The principal elements of program definition are;

• Investigate and confirm Competitive Environment, Business Context
• Critique current work methods and attitudes / behaviours
• Define performance gaps, and savings
• Agree opportunities aligned with company vision, strategy and culture
• Develop projects for realising cost reduction and benefits
• Prepare ROI and cash flow projections
• Create robust implementation proposals and communication plans
• Determine resource requirements
• Agree a project structure and reporting framework
• Define and agree strategy for managing risks

Milestone 1 sets out to create new process / organisational design and management control & reporting system

The principle elements of the program definition are:

• Develop results plans for individual projects
• Set up project team (s) accountable for delivering results
• Carryout thorough investigations and process analysis to identify in detail how high cost opportunities will be harnessed
• Begin organisation development and process re-engineering
• Define new process performance measures for individual and team accountability
• Define a new / improved management control and reporting system
• Develop detailed implementation plans
• Prepare training and development plans
• Kick-off project reporting and management

Milestone 2 sets out to implement new process (s) / organisational structure and deliver quick wins.

The principle elements of the program definition are:

• Implement new ways of working to reduce non value add and cost
• Gain agreement to, and re-organise roles & responsibilities
• Address behavioural issues and conflict
• Train staff and deploy new knowledge, skills and behaviours
• Install new management control and reporting systems
• Set up performance management for new process (s) / staff
• Manage risks and critical path to success
• Begin cashing the cheques

Milestone 3 embeds new ways of working and continues to sustain momentum and renewal.

The principle elements of the program definition are:

• Use new MCRS to begin to manage the new process (s)
• Support staff in new ways of working and in achieving targets
• Align improvements with company culture and strategy
• Continue to improve process performance and reduce costs
• Re-plan program for next phase of improvement
• Harness learning and build into phase II
• Phase down existing project teams’ activities
• Continue to cash the cheques

The best ways to show this is diagrammatically and give the principle roles and responsibilities of each group. The specific meeting structures, content, decision making processes and timescale needs to align with the milestones agreed in partnership as described above.

They are as follows;


(hover mouse over image for more detail)

The focus historically is often on either initiating a high volume of projects in the hope that a few will pay off and the overall program is a success, albeit limited. Alternatively, projects have been selected with scant disregard for complexity or impact on the business and tend to fizzle out after a great deal of hard work, time and money.

This simple model puts project selection carefully, on the agenda so that focus is given to those vital few actions that become; “the difference that will make the difference”

Typical project criteria - summary

• Strategic Fit: Clear alignment with organisations’ goals / KPI’s / cost reduction objectives
• Savings: Minimum delivery must be £specified and may cover several parts of a Themed Project
• Complexity: Speed/ease of implementation depending on legacy & complexity but target completion in four months
• Organisational Span: Coverage across the organisation or within a specific area are options available

Typically the types of issues, concerns and opportunities we find our clients need to be addressed fall into several or all of these basic challenges

However, the human challenges associated with change often present the most difficult and are the most complex to deal with. We have considerable experience of behaviour change across many cultures, within the private and public sector, and globally. This means that these challenges are high on the agenda of our assignment and appropriately addressed at all level.

For a more detailed discussion please refer to the section on Soft Sigma.

Reference: Clairy Wiholm, a Six Sigma deployment manager for Ericsson.

Understanding the emotions and thought processes that people go thorough is crucial in implementing change, and in developing strategies to support it. It can take individuals up to two years to adjust to changes in the way they work.

The late Dr Elisabeth Kubler Ross who passed away on 24th August 2004, carried out extensive research into this process, and as a Swiss medical doctor she really understood people behaviour.

Transition Curve - Reaction to Change

Shock: The first reaction is usually shock, and it can immobilise us and stop us from responding to changes. This is a natural reaction for many people and usually is a result of poor information and leadership creating fear; can I cope, will I look stupid or do something wrong; “How dare they do this”, “I can’t believe it”

Denial: Here we may distance ourselves from events and continue to behave as before. It’s very easy to get stuck here when we are very comfortable with the way things are, feel threatened and have little experience of change.

Blame / Self Doubt: We often respond to change by finding someone to blame and focussing our emotions on a particular person, or organisation. This allows us to avoid facing up to the change, together with our own fears and anxieties about it.

Acceptance: This is the realisation that by doing something different is for the best and that I (we) can not continue like this anymore. It’s a case of putting things into perspective. Finally letting go and having a clear passage to the future can be quite inspiring.

Experimentation: Testing new behaviours and approaches and stepping outside comfort zones is important as well as being receptive to new ideas and beginning to deal with the new reality: “Perhaps I’ll try it”.

Understanding: Here we are searching for meaning now that we are experiencing these new ways of working; “Is it right for me”.

Integration: During the stages of problem-solving and integration the focus is firmly on the future and real progress can begin to happen. Here, our changed situation has replaced the past and become our new world; “Now I can see the way ahead; “It wasn’t so bad”.

Key components need to be in-place to stand any chance of success. This diagram gives a visual representation of four elements that we, together with our clients ensure are taken very seriously in any change process. The diagram states the consequences of each element not being in place.

What makes change successful?

In addition to the above, and those described under the heading; Leading and Managing the Change Program, we give a few further ideas below:

• Internalise / communicate the compelling need for change
• Focus on results / deliverables more than inputs, process and tools & techniques
• Develop a master plan that structures change and promotes creativity and ideas
• Manage everything in a systematic way, install KPI’s which people genuinely relate to and let people know where they stand and what they are responsible for - ownership and accountability
• Develop high performance leadership throughout the business; appropriate style, high challenge, high support and defined behaviours that coach & educate people, taking them beyond the can’t do point
• Engage and empower change agents

At the end of the change program we hope to have succeeded in increasing stakeholder value covering a range of operational and customer focussed improvement. On the ground, what does all this mean in terms of our people and processes?

Here we give an insight into what could be desirable outcomes.

World class people

World class process

We have project managed major implementation change projects in clients based in the; UK, Republic of Ireland, Germany, China, Sweden and Norway achieving savings valued at over $100million.

Major UK Utility Company

Project managed a major change program that achieved an overall stretch target in excess of £20m savings over a period of 38 weeks with the complete support of client teams and improvement management through; re-structuring, cost reduction, better asset management, profitability improvements, reduced debt and efficiency savings in all areas of the business.

Significant Chemical / Wood Pulp Operation in Norway

Led a cost reduction measures and achieving $32m in a Norwegian wood pulp and chemical process plant. Working with cross functional teams to introduce radical changes within operational and support functional units, specifically reducing variable costs, re-structuring the organisation, increasing throughput and quality and introducing planned preventive maintenance management.

Telecoms – Mobile Phones Business in Sweden

Six Sigma Program Leader accountable for developing materials and training/coaching over 100 people to Blackbelt graduation and their project teams over two years in major Swedish telecoms business operating globally to achieve savings in excess of $18m across the business. This was a multi site assignment selecting both projects and teams and using "Soft" Sigma behaviour change and Six Sigma metrics reporting to the Executive Steering Group.

Drinks Business in the UK

Totally accountable for supporting major UK Drink sector client to introduce change across all operations; including senior team re-structuring, lean manufacturing in bottling plant, kaizen teams, on-line process metrics resulting in efficiency and productivity savings in excess of £4.5m.

Food Business in Scotland

Project led a Scottish Food business operational turn-around. Achieved major saving in overhead and productivity improvements using TPM/Lean tools, sufficient for a successful management buy-out.

Packaging Business in Republic of Ireland

Project Manager responsible for delivering an operational improvement project in major European-based manufacturer of container board, corrugated containers and other paper-based packaging products.

Automotive Business in the UK

Project Managed significant technical engineering improvement in engine design to increase efficiency and overall performance. This company is internationally recognised and principally involved in the manufacture and sale of high performance sports cars and the provision of automotive engineering consultancy services.

Major Power Generation Plant

Responsible for developing and implementing improvements in reliability and availability, and reducing overall operating costs using world class techniques such as RCM and FMEA. This led to a significant increase in plant reliability and subsequent improved output and reduced maintenance budget.

Public Sector Assignments

Central Government:
Part of a project team carrying out a rigorous analysis of a major Government Department to assess the gap between current performance and best-in-class, and identify opportunities for improvement. Brown paper process mapping, critiques and studies carried out to determine depth and value of issues; followed by pre-pilot testing and implementation of new ways of working to improve productivity and service level agreements.

Local Government:
This was a major assignment operating as an Interim Manager reporting at director level. This included developing and agreeing the benefits, preparing business cases, and developing key performance indicators, implementation plans and associated processes to introduce new Business Gateway services.

Examples of actual savings on specific assignments:


“The efficiency program has exceeded the stretch target we agreed for ourselves last July and this is in no small way due to the contribution of your team. You provided the drive and vigour consistently over the 38 week program and earned the respect at all levels for your approach”.
...D.B Improvement Programme Manager

“I just wanted to show my thanks for the fantastic effort from all of you. You were able to manage a difficult situation and still deliver a great piece of work”
...J.P. General Manager – Europe

“You are doing a fantastic job”
...R.J. Director of Quality and Operational Development Supply and IT

“My impression of the program is that it was very well done. It was a pleasure to see you in action”
...C.S. Design Director

"There is great learning to be had for us as a business from the recent major change project and some fresh thinking that you brought to the project. I am highly supportive of disseminating both the specific experiences from the project and the more general and extensive consultancy experience brought to our firm."
...A.W. Senior Operation Manger

“Your contribution to the change management process was instrumental in convincing me it was worthwhile to do the buyout”
...A. H. Managing Director

“Graham exceeded our expectations, for example; in effectively resolving a number of critical issues related to benefits realisation, and how the savings within the business case would materialise. I would have no hesitation in recommending him for future work elsewhere”
... C. E. Director Business Improvement

Innovation Consultancy Partnership, provides change / project management support either as part of a specific improvement initiative or to support businesses through periods of particular difficulty and/or whilst they have short-term issues to overcome.

Our deployment can add real value to any given task. We are experienced, committed problem solvers, strategic thinkers and accustomed to rolling up our sleeves and actually doing the job.

We are independent and objective and bring a new perspective to the assignment. We are free to focus specifically on the assignment, available at short notice and leave when no longer required.

This is a cost efficient way of dealing with many short to medium term issues that face the modern business such as:

• Implementing / managing change, new systems and processes
• Cost reduction or operational improvement
• Organisational renewal
• Providing assistance through periods of staff absence or internal re-organisation
• Overcoming Internal Inertia or cultural difficulties
• Business unit leadership or development.

We take full responsibility for the specific requirements of the role and are capable of integrating and generating value in an extremely short period of time.



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