Recently, we've worked with two very different clients (a retailer and a leisure operator) who are both going through a big change in strategy. The overall direction is clear, and the next step is to get the organization delivering.
The default response of many CEOs to driving change is a tightly controlled change management program. We are sceptical (unlike some of our competitors) that this works for delivering growth strategies, and these clients agreed with us.
So how to deliver change instead? Both organizations alighted on the same approach: small victories. But they got there in very different ways.
The retailer is highly seasonal, and in the late stages of our strategy work had a major trading miss. This crisis galvanized the organization at the perfect time; they set up a crack cross-functional team, focused solely on delivering for their next trading peak, and were armed with the new strategy we helped them develop. The urgency and the clear trading goal are proving to be wonderful catalysts to the pragmatic translation of strategy into reality.
The same approach is working well with the leisure operator, who has chosen one of their locations as a pilot for the new strategy, and have allocated a cross-functional entrepreneurial team to rapidly road test the approach - bypassing typical IT timelines with manual back-end workarounds. And all this accomplished during our project timeline, which enables us to refine the strategy together.
We're big fans of this approach of starting with a small crack team working on a short-term, highly tangible goal as a way to motivate organizational change. Not least because it creates internal advocates for the new strategy. And by the way, it costs a lot less in consulting fees!