Making organisational transformation work

How a fast-growing telecommunications company overcame resistance to change to successfully roll out its new business model by developing the capacity for Connected Intelligence and embedding whole system change processes.

The Challenge

An emerging European leader in the telecommunications space had grown substantially over recent years and needed to overhaul both its business model and organisational structure in order to be able to operate effectively at scale. The leadership team had already made a number of attempts at organisational transformation, however they had encountered significant resistance and had been unable to effect the changes they were seeking.

The Solution

As we analysed the organisation’s existing change management approach, it became clear that their top-down and siloed approach to strategy and change programme development was not leveraging the collective wisdom of the organisation. The leadership team had spent over six months developing its new change management programme in isolation, which it then attempted to cascade through the organisation over a four week period. Since the organisation was operating in a fast-changing market, managers and employees further down the business had unique perspectives on the market that senior leaders were not aware of. Whilst the leadership team had undertaken a number of surveys and quantitative research, these differing viewpoints from across the organisation had not been surfaced as part of the process, and were not being taken into account in their strategy development and transformation planning process. This core difference in perspective on the business was leading to the top team experiencing resistance to change across the organisation.

Over a six month period we helped the leadership team fundamentally transform its approach to leading change. First, we helped the team develop the capacity for Collective Intelligence and learn the skills needed to initiate and lead whole-ecosystem transformation. Next, we brought together the 70 team members who had been working on discrete transformation initiatives, to form a unified transformation working group. Over a series of workshops we enabled this group to develop their capacity for collective  group intelligence, allowing them to surface the unaddressed concerns productively and align around a shared vision for the organisation. With this newfound strategic alignment and increased capacity for collaboration, the transformation team was then able to roll out the transformation programme as a unified whole.

The Outcome

As a result, the transformation was delivered ahead of time and outperformed the metrics the leadership team had set out at the beginning of the programme. By developing the capacity for Collective Intelligence and embedding whole system change approaches, we helped to develop the collective agility of the organisation. Finally, the revised approach to transformation ended up also driving up employee engagement levels across the business, improving productivity and collaboration between functions, groups and levels. The organisation has gone on to become one of the most well-regarded fast-growing businesses in its sector.

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