Part 6 of Our Series 'Implementing Transformational Change'

Take a step-by-step approach. Pilot first, then Roll-out and then Sustain

It is key for Organisations going through a large Improvement Programme or Transformational Change Initiative to ensure they take a step-by-step approach. This is to ensure that the right things are worked on at the right time.

This is important for organisations to understand as they often go straight into the actions associated with a very “linear plan” when actually part of the step-by-step approach is to make sure that after the initial assessment and diagnostics there is pilot phase.

This pilot phase is often missed but is the critical step before getting into big change projects and initiatives. The pilot phase has three clear outputs;

  • Creating new thinking within an area of the business (cultural change)
  • Upskilling a group of managers to implement change more effectively
  • Get some quick win results to show credibility

The learning from achieving these three outputs, builds the foundations for a more rapid and rigourous rollout phase. The rollout is planned and managed differently with “new thinking” developed in the Pilot Phase.

The diagram below shows the three basic steps that we call phases needed in a large Transformational Change programme.

The key points of the pilot phase are; (usually around six months)

  • Relatively small critical mass of managers are selected to participate
  • Encourage new thinking to enable new processes to be implemented and a different approach in managing people to engage with them to great extent.
  • Projects are used as vehicles to put new skills and thinking into practice
  • The selected set of managers are trained and coached to enable them to lead and manage change more effectively
  • Workshops are held to build skills and discuss new ways of working and appropriate attitudes needed for change
  • Senior leaders are coached and encouraged to lead differently with clear direction setting whilst enabling and energising the wider workforce.
  • Every activity in this phase is a learning opportunity and these learning opportunities must be captured to enable a more rigourous and disciplined approach in the next phase

Key points of the rollout (18 months to 2 years depending on size of the Organisation)

  • Clear plan is developed based on the pilot phase learning
  • This is similar to a Gantt chart showing all the various parts that are required in rolling out the pilot phase work to the rest of the organisation
  • In addition to the activities in the pilot phase the roll out phase should also include other elements required such as OGSM processes for cascading objectives down the business and linked to the Transformational Change programme. This ensures the initiatives are all joined up within the organisation
  • Series of projects which are; functional, cross functional and Pan-Organisational are initiated using the new learning from pilot phase work
  • More structure and rigour is introduced to senior management direction setting
  • Larger items are tackled, that were initially identified in the assessment and diagnostic phase. For example large ticket items such as change of policy and organisational systems design
  • Run more training and awareness workshops
  • Develop permanent roles to continually support change and business improvement, such as continuous improvement managers and system owners for key processes in the organisation both the local and corporate level.

Key points of the Sustain and Continuous improvement phase (ongoing)

It is critical to understand that they are recognised processes that need to be implemented to sustain the change and improvements. Sustainability does not occur simply by having a good implementation plan rollout phase.

The sustainability processes are identified during the rollout phase and are typically;

  • Reviews at all levels of the business
  • Senior management’s visible involvement/support
  • Control and monitoring of key performance indicators
  • Audit processes with “team audits”
  • Create system owners and define key roles
  • Communication; formal and informal
  • Linked to appraisal system
  • On-boarding of new employees
  • Refresher training/qualification
  • Documented processes

If you would like more information please contact us.

Martin Gummery, Managing Director, NewLeaf International Ltd

Tel: 01905 425209