Afiniti Insights

Leading Change: The Change Management Superpower

Last year, Afiniti was invited to speak at the prestigious Oil and Gas Digital Transformation Conference. Afiniti Energy Partner Gill Hughes drew on her two decades of experience in technology and energy sector programmes to reveal her secret to successful digital transformation: effectively leading change.

Gill’s presentation explored the fundamentals of good business change before focusing in on the role of an effective change leader. Exclusively for our website visitors, we share key insights from the session. First, an audio clip from the presentation where Gill answers the question: what does good business change look like?

What does good business change look like?

Leading change

Mindset change, diverse locations, new tool deployment, process change, conflicting parallel projects, business reorganisation – these are just a few of the challenges which, if not addressed, can negatively impact a digital transformation. Even with a change network and sponsorship from the top of the organisation, it can still be challenging to get your people excited about a change.

Active and visible change leaders who are proactive, aligned and engaged in the change is the greatest contributing factor to a successful transformation. But what makes a great change leader, and what is required of them?

Anyone who has a genuine passion, interest and belief in the change can make a great change leader, and don’t forget about the naysayers: if you can help those people understand the benefits and convert them to sincerely support and believe in the change, they can also be excellent change advocates and change leaders as well.

There are then four key areas a change leader should focus on to be effective and efficient:

Aligned vision and messaging:

  • Gain a thorough understanding of the impact on your stakeholders by carrying out a change impact assessment to inform your change strategy and allow for a tailored, data-driven approach to the transformation.

  • Form the foundation of the communications strategy with agreed key messages, vision and mission of the transformation.

  • Demonstrate alignment and consistency by taking ownership of these messages and consistently cascade them to the wider organisation.

Visible passion and participation:

  • Passion is infectious, so by championing the change vehemently and by role modelling the right behaviours, the rest of the business will follow suit and be invested in its success.

  • Actively participate in all of the change management activities: from attending change advocate sessions to hyper care and floor walking.

Support and promote the change:

  • “Walk the walk”: help communicate the end vision, create awareness and desire for the change and help advocate the change to resistant stakeholders.

  • AND “talk the talk”: be vocal in your support of the change journey and the outcomes through taking part in videos, town hall sessions and department meetings (to name a few of the ways).

Help build a coalition of sponsorship across the entire organisation:

  • Encourage other leaders across the organisation to participate and support in the change.

  • Gather and listen to feedback from your people and action it.

In role modelling the correct behaviour, you become a sponsor of the change and an active leader.

Within the messaging, clearly and succinctly articulate the “what’s in it for me” message to your stakeholders.

Change management is about understanding the DNA of an organisation, including its culture and unique characteristics. It is about knowing your stakeholders, communicating the change and having the right sponsors and leaders in place to take people through the change journey. By actioning the above, you can break down barriers between you and your stakeholders, which minimises resistance and allows the change team to focus their efforts on areas that really require their attention.

Ultimately, what “good business change looks like” is leading change with your people placed at the heart of its heart and being taken on the journey. After all, people make change happen, and without them we can’t make change stick.

Get in touch with Gill to learn more about leading change and what good business change looks like for your specific digital transformation.

Gill Hughes
Gill Hughes
Partner, Energy, Transport and ERP Business Lead
Gill is an accomplished and experienced Managing Consultant in the energy, transport and pharma sectors with a track record of delivering complex technology and ERP transformation programmes. She is passionate about the people agenda of change; and it being done well. Gill specialises in taking a data driven approach to co-create impactful business change strategies, tactics and plans which encourage a positive and people focused change experience.
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