Interim Overcomes Resistance to Change

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Overcoming resistance to change

Accepting the new reality and being involved

In to an organisation that was split between two sites, geographically widely separated, in different jurisdictions operating under different regulatory requirements the MD at HQ had appointed a Change Manager to implement a new strategy across the organisation. The Operational Directorate based on the other site was simply refusing to implement the new methods and were resentful of the HQ approach.
My brief from the MD was simple, 'Get the Operations Director and his team to accept the new reality and be involved in developing the new strategy.'

The issues found were:

  • Historically the Operations Directorate had been the 'top dogs' in the business and the Executives were afraid they were losing that position.
  • They had all recently been through assessment workshops to establish their suitability for roles in the proposed organisation and they thought the outcome was unfair and their assigned roles did not suit their aspirations.
  • They were long serving senior employees, some seconded from the Holding Company, and the Business could not afford to make them redundant.
  • They had no respect for the Change Programme Manager, his team or his authority.
  • They claimed that the MD had not discussed with them the reason for the new approach or made clear to them the consequences of them not changing the way they worked.
  • They had great loyalty to the jurisdiction in which Operations were based and it was believed that HQ did not understand the regulatory requirements.

I took the Operations Executive Team through a series of steps.

  1. Attention Getting
    • Working alongside the Operations Director to understand his reservations, aspirations and concerns; gain his confidence.
    • With the Ops Dir permission held workshops with the Executives to make clear in unequivocal terms that no-change was not an option.
    • Set a series of meeting with each of them to establish a way forward.
  2. Explanation
    • Individually explained the new strategy, gaining an understanding of their reservations and establish any positives from their point of view.
    • Provided support for each Executive in developing departmental workshops; to promulgate the changes in a positive manner.
    • Collated all the feedback and worked with the Ops Dir to present amendments to the Company strategy at the Board, these were accepted.
  3. Strategy
    • Developed a revised organisation for the Operations Directorate
    • Worked with the Ops Dir to develop his strategy and business goals in line with the Company strategy
    • Developed an 'Operations Change Programme' under the control of the Directorate Executive Team
    • Worked with the Executives to rationalise and re-organise their departments
  4. Coaching
    • Worked with the Ops Dir to improve his strategic skills, communications and develop a more authoritative style.
    • Worked with the Operations Executives to enhance their all-round management skills, and set personally owned objectives.
    • Worked with the senior managers in operations to help them bed down in their new roles.

Successful conclusion to an Interim Management assignment

In less than nine months the Operations Directorate went from being the most regressive part of the organisation to the most progressive because it was made clear that they had to change and why, they were shown that they could take control and they were supported through the change.

David Chamberlain

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