October Business Change Digest

In this edition:

SPOTLIGHT

Starting a business change programme? Avoid the common pitfall.

AFINITI NEWS

Jay Dixon joins the team as Business Change Director.

INSIGHTS ROUNDUP

The latest from the Afiniti insights blog.

 

Spotlight by Anthony Edwards

You’re about to start your business change programme, but where’s your burning platform, and can you fight the fire?

Someone recently asked me ‘what’s the one key thing you would advise leaders embarking on a business change programme?’

This is a really big ask, There are so many elements to discuss and debate – each ‘change’ has different drivers, each industry its own nuances, and each company its own culture and all these elements play vital roles in shaping any programme.

Thinking about the past 15 years’ or so, and my experience helping clients in oil and gas, transport, logistics, pharmaceutical, and finance; There is one stand-out piece of universal wisdom I’d pass on to any client, which is to start at the beginning.  It sounds obvious, but let me explain.

Start at the beginning, and take it step by step

In my experience many organisations find themselves starting their change programme by creating the vision and strategy, before they’ve sufficiently ‘set the stage’.

Planning a business change programme can feel incredibly daunting. Time and again leaders are under pressure and already behind the curve – budget approval came through later than anticipated and the programme is running behind schedule and not completely formed, but there’s pressure to plough-on regardless.  It’s at this point that you need to take a step back and say ‘stop, let’s start from the beginning – together.  Let’s set ourselves up for success.’

So what should you be doing before you start strategising?

Preparation really is the key when it comes to change, so it’s no surprise that there are a number of models and methods for building and leading change programmes – and we can use elements from many of them. One I return to time and again is Kotter’s 8-Step Process which breaks the job down into logical, and most importantly, sequential steps.

 

Kotter’s 8-Step Change Model for Successful Transformational Change

Source: Kotter and Cohen, The Heart of Change.

 

Step 1. Create a sense of urgency – Nail the ‘Why?’ and ‘Why now?’

For change to stick it really helps if the whole organisation accepts it and understands the drivers – especially if change has been attempted in the past and already had a number of false starts.

For this reason Kotter encourages us to start the change programme by creating a sense of urgency, so that we are not only focussing on the ‘why’ change, but also the ‘why change now?’

You need to develop a clear and compelling story – a way to articulate the common goal behind which everyone needs to align. The story needs to not only be socialised, but shouted from the rooftops, so everyone can understand why this change is taking place and get behind it. This sense of urgency, communicated by the leadership team, builds, spreads and fuels itself, and there you have what Kotter refers to as your burning platform.

It’s also worth noting that, at this stage it is crucial to sense check that your reason for change will be obviously compelling to everyone involved, not just the leadership team.  It may seem crystal clear to senior leaders, but once you start communicating about the change, and you go two or three steps out into the business, the people may not have a clue what you’re talking about!  A good question to ask is, if the story is not clear, does the responsibility for clarification lie with the reader or story teller?!

It’s equally important that all members of the leadership team can articulate this sense of urgency.  People need to receive the same message whether they ask the project team or their own management hierarchy, It is your senior sponsors’ responsibility to ensure that they’re all aligned.

 

Step 2. Create a guiding coalition from across the organisation

You’ve created the sense of urgency and now you need to shape a team who can continue building the momentum and lead the change programme.

Consider who will be strong and effective at leading the change on a daily basis – you’ll need influential people around the table, from a variety of different backgrounds.  These people will become key to embed the change later on.

Once you’ve formed your guiding coalition you need to check that the common goal is anchored in the benefit outcome  – and that you’ll be able to measure your success against this. Then you’re in a position to start creating the vision and strategy for the change programme.

 

One last thing

So you’ve nailed the ‘why’ and you have your guiding coalition ready to get started on your business change programme.  One final thing to consider:

Is the organisation currently ready and capable of change?

To be in the optimum position to be ready and receptive to change – your key business capabilities such as leadership, culture and competency should be functioning at a certain level.  If any one of these is out of kilter, you’re not giving yourself the best chance for the programme to succeed.

Afiniti’s 6LeverTM change readiness assessment tool measures where you are now against six key capabilities and outlines any gaps which need to be addressed, and what needs to be done to accelerate change and make it sustainable.

 

 

Take the Change Readiness Assessment now and find out if your organisation is ready for change.

 

I’d love to hear any experiences you’ve had with ‘setting the stage’ for business change.  Do you think there are any other pitfalls senior leaders should be mindful of when embarking on a business change programme?

Afiniti news: Jay Dixon joins the team as Business Change Director

Previously a Managing Partner at James and Carmichael Consulting (JCC), Jay has over twelve years’ consulting experience under his belt, as well as a background in operations and supply chain management where he started his career after graduating from Leeds University .

Jay is settling in to working life at Afiniti, so it seemed a good time to sit down with him and have a chat about his career to date, his areas of specialism and what he’s enjoying working on so far at Afiniti.

Read the full article.

Insights roundup: The latest from the Afiniti insights blog

 

If you’re thinking about cyber security, you should be thinking about behaviour change.

 

communications tools that last

 

Four ways to create communications tools that last.

 

 

Afiniti vBlog: Afiniti’s top tips for creating user-generated content.

 

 

Afiniti news – Jay Dixon joins the team as Business Change Director

Previously a Managing Partner at James and Carmichael Consulting (JCC), Jay has over twelve years’ consulting experience under his belt, as well as a background in operations and supply chain management where he started his career after graduating from Leeds University .

Jay is settling in to working life at Afiniti, so it seemed a good time to sit down with him and have a chat about his career to date, his areas of specialism and what he’s enjoying working on so far at Afiniti.

How did you get into change management and consulting?

“I started working for Unilever in supply chain operations, and after moving from the factory to head office I began to get involved with change projects.

“I became a super user for a project which gave me a new perspective – it was really exciting to see how I was helping to shape a new future for the organisation.  From here on in I began to move away from the day-to-day business operations, getting more and more involved with project work.  It’s at this point that I realised I wanted to pursue a career in business change and moved to Accenture to develop that further.”

So you’ve seen how it works from both sides then – as consultant as well as client?

“Most definitely, a lot of what we do as change management consultants involves working with senior leaders to design and plan. But, at the end of the day, you need individuals to change their ways of working and behaviour for any change to be successful. My early experience at Unilever really helps me understand the realities and challenges that clients have from a shop-floor perspective.”

 

“My early experience at Unilever really helps me understand the realities and challenges that clients have from a shop-floor perspective.”

 

What are your areas of speciality?

“I have experience of change programmes associated with a range of client objectives from new operating models to big data initiatives. On a previous programme with JCC, I worked on a pan-European project for a global healthcare client who was looking to shift their sales force up the value chain away from being transactional (order takers), towards providing a business-partner based service.

“Our involvement, from a change perspective, was to shape a programme to first of all help the leaders change their mindset about what the sales force could do, and secondly, provide the space and environment to allow the sales team to act in an entirely different way via a comprehensive training plan followed up with a coaching framework.

“The degree of change on this programme was deep, and, unsurprisingly there was resistance from people who were being asked to work in ways which were entirely new.  We had great success in terms of helping the sales teams to adopt the new ways of working and transferring ownership of the change to the local countries.  This repositioned the client amongst their competitors and gave the sales teams a new set of capabilities with which to go to market.”

So, what attracted you to Afiniti?

“Afiniti works in a very agile way, which means we can offer a truly bespoke approach for each of our clients.  In addition to this is the blend of creative and consultancy, which is pretty unique as far as my experience of consulting has been.  This means that we can work with our clients from shaping what needs to be done, into executing and making it happen.  And, when we make it happen, we can present it to the audience in a really fresh and engaging way.  Of course, all of the deliverables and user-facing artefacts that we generate are created off the back of sound consulting expertise, and co-created with the client – that’s the other thing about the Afiniti approach, we always look for that co-creation on every project that we work on.”

How do you envisage your career experience hitherto complementing the Afiniti offering?

“A lot of my work over the past twelve years has been in the consumer goods divisions of large organisations; ranging from replacement car parts and logistics, paints, spare parts for installed medical devices, home and health care products to over the counter pharmacy goods – quite a wide range of FMCG products!

“Knowing what drives these businesses, the leadership structures, how the supply chains operate, and essentially, knowing what makes these organisations tick is a great asset.  So, I would say I really have a handle on the key drivers of the FMCG industries, one of them being the focus on the end consumer.

“And, thinking back to agility which we mentioned before, the ability of these organisations to be able to adapt to environmental factors and take advantage of opportunities is paramount. We are seeing more and more that companies want the stability of long-term growth and also to be nimble and agile, to take advantage of opportunities as they arise. I think it’s going to be a growing trend, certainly over the next year or two, as people start to understand what agility means, and then implement ways to achieve that. Whether it involves embedding new operating models, new asset management systems or upskilling the workforce, we’re ideally placed at Afiniti to help our clients achieve these changes.” For more information on organisational agility and adopting an agile mindest, take a look at Jay’s latest blog post, Agility – moving beyond the buzzword.

 

“Whether it involves embedding new operating models, new asset management systems or upskilling the workforce, we’re ideally placed at Afiniti to help our clients achieve these changes.”

 

What do you most enjoy about what you do?

“I feel privileged to be working with clients when they are going through times of significant business change. We really help to move the leadership teams, as well as the people within the organisations, along through that change – and we do it in a truly engaging way, which for me combines the best of consulting and creative to create high impact change that lasts.”

Do you feel a sense of responsibility?

“Initially when working with clients you have an idea of the things you want to work through with them.  Then, when you get in to the project you often realise that there are some hugely impactful things which could be done, instead of, or as well as, the things we’d originally planned to do.  So, there’s constant reflection and thinking around ‘what’s the most value we can add right now?’ This is what’s great about being an agile consultancy – at Afiniti we can pivot and change what we deliver – if we think it’s the right thing to do in mutual agreement with the client!”

What do you get up to in your spare time?

“During the weekends and evenings, I spend as much time as possible with my wife and young daughter, I like to read fiction novels to relax and enjoy expanding my food and wine knowledge.  I’m also the proud owner of a Triumph Scrambler motorbike, which I get to ride very occasionally!”

Communications Consultant job vacancy

Afiniti is an award-winning business change consultancy with an exciting opportunity for a communications specialist, experienced in supporting technology-driven change and digital communications, to join our consultancy team

Job Title: Communications Consultant (permanent, full-time)

Location: London (with travel likely)

We help our clients to effect lasting change within their organisations that delivers real business benefits. Due to demand from our growing client base, we’re seeking a very technically proficient communications professional, with a track record in providing advice and support on major technology or IT system rollouts (e.g. SAP) and / or on the implementation and management of enterprise social networks.

As communications consultant you’ll work with our clients as part of their project teams to support their change initiatives. The role is busy and varied and responsibilities include:

  • Creating and delivering change communications strategies and plans, incorporating engaging and innovative channels including digital / social media.
  • Analysing and engaging with stakeholders.
  • Advising and enabling clients to ‘co-create’ and deliver sustainable engagement approaches.
  • Producing compelling and creative material, including online and email content, video storyboards, live events and presentations, often in collaboration with our in-house design team.
  • Designing and implementing effective evaluation strategies.
  • Developing and managing strong client relationships.

Skills and Experience

Ideally, you’ll have:

  • A relevant degree or equivalent and a minimum of 3 years’ relevant experience in either a consultancy or internal communications role.
  • Experience delivering a range of communications (digital and offline) as part of business change or transformation in the context of technology or IT-led change.
  • A strong degree of technical proficiency, an understanding of the IT landscape in organisations and experience working with IT teams or functions.
  • A good understanding of the role social media can play in effective communications, the tools and platforms available and the principles of community management.
  • Excellent writing and presentation skills, ideally with experience in facilitation.
  • A creative mind-set and experience working with creative teams to develop compelling material in line with client brand.
  • Proven strength in building client relationships and managing stakeholder expectations
  • Confidence working across multiple client engagements and managing deliverables to agreed scope, time and budget.
  • An understanding of the concept and practice of business change and how people go through change. Knowledge of change management theory and methods would be beneficial.

We offer a competitive salary plus benefits. You’ll also gain great exposure to clients in major organisations across a variety of industries. The role is based in London and you will most likely be required to undertake some travel to other UK and European locations. Meet some of the Afiniti team you’ll be working with and read about our communications services and experience.

Please apply to recruitment@afiniti.co.uk with your CV, salary expectations and a brief covering letter telling us why you’re the right person for this role.

Afiniti Win The IOIC AWARD for Live Event: Internal

Afiniti is delighted to announce winning the Best in Class for Internal Live Event at the annual IoIC (Institute of Internal Communications) Awards Presentation held at the Park Plaza Riverbank in London on Friday 25 September. The winning submission represented the design, development and execution of a SAP Global Summit for Maersk Oil, bringing together their SAP community to get behind the vision, encourage global function collaboration and knowledge share and provide learning opportunities, to optimise business value and investment in SAP.

The IoIC is the only UK institute dedicated to promoting a high professional standard to support the good practice of Internal Communications practitioners.

Well done to the Afiniti team who worked so hard on this.

DSC_0782-2-(ZF-5191-36656-1-001)

Afiniti and Network Rail get Gold at the LPI Learning Awards 2015

Afiniti and Network Rail received the Gold Award for External Learning Solution of the year at the LPI’s Learning Awards on Thursday February 5.

AT the awards, hosted by Claudia Winkleman at the Dorchester in Park lane, Afiniti and Network Rail were recognised for their work on delivering change – providing communication, engagement and learning for 2000 front line users.Learning awards claudia winkleman

The NROL3 system roll out was part of a programme to improve the way maintenance materials are planned and managed across the rail network, impacting work management, trains, passengers and incidents.

Running many courses simultaneously over various locations as part of a programme of learning, the Afiniti team concurrently executed on an engagement strategy to communicate with a traditionally hard to reach audience. Delivering change successfully to users has directly contributed towards the realisation of a business benefit – reducing cost and risk, as shown by the £10m saving made to seasonal treatment.

Read more about the project here

 

 

Afiniti raises £4543 for charity Dreamflight

Afiniti raised £4543 during 2014 for Dreamflight, its charity of the year.

Dreamflight changes young lives through taking seriously ill and disabled children on the holiday of a lifetime to Orlando, Florida.

The children leave their families behind giving them an opportunity to discover independence, confidence, and a whole new outlook on life.

Dreamflight children have gone on to amazing achievements. In 2008, eight of the returning Paralympians from Beijing, many of them medal-winning, had been Dreamflight children citing the trip as a turning point for them.

Marketing and Design manager at Afiniti, Lorna Gibbons, who ran for the charity throughout the year, said: “I’m delighted that Afiniti has raised so much money this year to help children’s dreams come true through the great work that Dreamflight does.”

afiniti change consultants running

David, Lorna, Tony, Sarah, Julia and Kirsten run for Dreamflight

Many Afiniti people had run for the charity throughout the year and IT equipment had been recycled to raise further money.

Jenny Hilliam of the charity’s Bedford branch said: “Once again Afiniti have pulled out all the stops to help us get Dreamflight off the ground in 2015. The £4543 that you raised in 2014 will pay for one child to experience the holiday of a lifetime and for 7 children to swim with the Dolphins, which is undoubtedly their favourite day.

“We cannot thank you enough for your continued support and we look forward to working with you in 2015/16.  A huge thank you from all at Dreamflight and the 192 very special children of 2015.”

There will be a Charity Auction for Dreamflight at the upcoming Learning and Performance Institute event, the annual Learning Awards, 5th February 2015, where Afiniti has been shortlisted for the External Learning Solution of the Year award.

Dreamflight is Afiniti’s Charity of the Year 2015. You can find out more about the charity and the great work it does here.

Afiniti client TAQA is highly commended for employee engagement

We are delighted that our client TAQA has been highly commended for employee engagement at the CorpComms Awards 2014.
employee engagement programme

Angus Murray from TAQA with Afiniti MD Corrina Jorgensen

TAQA’s Harding Platform transition was shortlisted for the Best Employee Engagement programme and Best Corporate campaign, for the CorpComms Awards, hosted by CorpComms Magazine on 26th November 2014.

When TAQA acquired the North Sea BP Harding platform it had three months to help the platform and its people change hands and stay productive. They enlisted Afiniti’s support to deliver the change to the people on the Harding platform. Overnight, a remote and largely non-computer-based workforce was to become part of a new company with new hardware, software and ways of working.

We supported TAQA in building positivity, commitment and skills amongst existing platform employees to ensure that there was minimal disruption on the day of the transition. A tailored combination of change readiness assessment, change management, learning and communications prepared and engaged people.

The CorpComms Awards celebrate the best of corporate communications. The awards are in their ninth year and are attended by a host of big brand names, large corporates and large agencies.

 

Dreamflight presents Afiniti’s Kirsten Walker with Award

The charity Dreamflight takes 192 seriously ill and disabled children on a trip of a lifetime to Florida each year.

The trip builds vital confidence in children who have experienced such challenging times and reassures them they are not alone. Afiniti has supported Dreamflight through fundraising for several years. We’ve all been running for the charity this year and have so far raised £2,208.05 in 2014. Here is Kirsten Walker’s account of Dreamflight Bedford group’s annual awards which she attended recently on behalf of Afiniti:

Copyright MRCPhoto

Copyright MRCPhoto

‘I was lucky enough to represent Afiniti at this year’s Dreamflight Charity event at the Bedford Golf Club. It was a beautiful evening with a turnout of about 80 people. There were raffles, auctions and a tombola (a word new to me as a Canadian!).

‘I met an inspiring woman on my table that night, Natasha Baker. She is 24 and was a Dreamflight child back in the late 90’s but is now one of their biggest fundraisers and a Paralympian gold medallist in dressage from London 2012 (she is now pushing for Rio!). Her speech was touching as she attributes her success to the confidence and independence the Dreamflight trip brought her. I was the one to present her with the award of most money raised doing a skydive back in May. We were also presented with an award of our own: Special Recognition Award for our continued support.

‘It was a great night full of fun and a few tears as some really touching stories were told and really emphasised the great work Dreamflight has done and continues to do.’

To find out more about Dreamflight and see the great work it does, visit the website here