Hiring External Support:
Engaging a consultant or interim manager to effectively act as coach, advisor, stimulator, navigator, or commander requires defining role, responsibility, authority, accountability. Next step is defining who controls the process and is accountable for the result. There are three options: The project can either be internally controlled by the client, managed by an external party like Leanmap, or the point of control is shared between both parties.
Point of Control
Principle: When the client steers the program, the new knowledge will modify behaviors and deliver better results.
Process: By offering information about trend, impact, and consequences of not acting, people might try new ways or not.
Application: Bottom-up improvement initiatives, where the desired change does not depend on a directive, new capabilities, or an external process.
Example: Analysis of gaps and trends that lead to improvement ideas and projects.
Principle: When sharing control between client and consultant, the jointly-developed solution will lead to better results.
Process: When co-leading the transition, success depends on a clear direction, level of buy-in, and strong alignment between both parties.
Application: Central improvement program, led by senior management, and closely supported by the external expert.
Example: Developing a new organizational structure or updating the business model.
Principle: When the external leader takes control, people will adapt and modify their behavior by following a clear direction.
Process: By providing a directive, people may comply under pressure, while their fundamental believes remain unchanged.
Application: Crisis situation, when the deadline is near, or when rapid change or strict consequence management is required.
Example: Turnaround to bring performance on target or a project back on track.
Level of Control
The level of control given to the external party like Leanmap depends largely on the situation and the desired impact. There are five ways to engage external support, starting from the lowest to the highest level of control: (1) Coach, (2) Advisor, (3) Stimulator, (4) Navigator, (5) Commander:
Involvement: 5% for monthly coaching session, totaling 1 workday per month.
Method: The expert actively listens and shows understanding for the problem, asks guiding questions and provides a view.
Benefit: It gives people all the time and space they need to decide whatever is right for them.
Risk: Freedom of choice can induce stress to find the right path. People may find it more gratifying to select from a smaller menu of selected options with a clear path plotted on how to become more successful.
Application: When a leader wants a sparring partner to listen and provide feedback, validate options before making a decision.
Involvement: 10% for bi-weekly performance review and feedback, totaling 2 workdays per month.
Method: The expert helps in the analysis and provides advice to managers making the decision.
Benefit: In this education intervention, the role of expert is to help people understand what is happening, what is coming, and how this change might impact them. It allows people to accept or reject the given advice.
Risk: Engaging into endless discussions without any real action.
Application: When people need specialist knowledge to understand and commit, such as for a pre-merger analysis or business process redesign.
Involvement: 25% for weekly performance analysis and coaching, totaling 5 workdays per month.
Method: The expert helps people to understand and encourages them to try new things, while getting key people involved so others will follow.
Benefit: The nudge creates change through presence. It leaves a large degree of control with the individual but there is an indirect push by management toward a specific outcome.
Risk: People might get irritated from the indirect approach and semi-soft actions, provoking a backlash.
Application: When internal action is not appropriate, such as downsizing over time because redundancy program is not feasible.
Involvement: 50% for part-time management support onsite, totaling 10 workdays per month.
Method: Authority and most decisions are delegated to the consultant who retains significant authority over the direction of the project.
Benefit: Taking the helm includes others in the change process, helping quick learners develop the skills towards independence.
Risk: Uncertainties from a shared directive make it less clear on who is in charge; managers can become resentful because of limited control. Requires roles and responsibilities to be clarified so people find their places in the transition.
Application: When implementing a new software or system.
Involvement: 100% for full-time interim management, totaling 20 workdays per month onsite.
Method: The consultant or interim manager owns the process and has full control over resources, while the client is fully dependent on the external leader.
Benefit: Speed, simplicity, and autonomy for the leader to get things done.
Risk: Can scare people and make them feel powerless. Successful when the consultant takes full control while coaching individuals, helping them towards independence.
Application: When internal capabilities are insufficient to achieve desired results, such as in turnaround situations.
Point and Level of Control Changes Over Time
Because the delivery of sustainable value through change involves introducing and embedding multiple policies and practices across multiple functions and entities, the type of control changes over time. Here are two examples:
- An engagement might start with an initial assessment to identify improvement opportunities. The client might then decide to hire Leanmap as navigator to design and steer the program, while coaching people to build internal capabilities.
- Another engagement might start with a command action to turn around a unhealthy situation, followed by a round of education interventions to train stakeholders, and finally a series of nudges to stimulate action.
Key is developing a cohesive and coherent change strategy that will help realize sustainable value, rather than the knee jerk changes or quick fixes that doesn’t get you anywhere.
The 7 Factors of Successful Change
Successful change requires all 7 enablers to be in place:
- Vision for clarity on direction and outcome
- Alignment to achieve full buy-in, one direction
- Resources such as time, money, equipment
- Plan and structure to implement changes
- Skills and capabilities to implement the vision
- Incentives that motivate people to take action
- Communication so that everyone is informed
The 7 Causes for Change Failure
Unsuccessful change can be attributed to 7 failure causes:
- Confusion due to lack of vision or leadership
- Resistance due to lack of alignment, buy-in
- Frustration due to lack of resources
- Corrections due to lack of a solid plan
- Anxiety due to lack of skills and competences
- Slowness and apathy due to lack of incentives
- Disconnects due to lack of communication
Successful Change Management: Define Enablers First
To deliver sustainable impact, any change program must properly designed, resourced, and executed. The seven enablers for successful change must be defined. For example:
- Client defines the vision and provides required resources to implement it
- Both parties ensure alignment, that key people are involved and on board
- Leanmap provides required skills and develops the implementation plan
- Client communicates the program and provides incentives for people to act
Navigating to Results
We accelerate your improvement journey by providing the critical know-how and the hands-on implementation assistance, so you achieve results faster.