Earlier this week, the multi-nation team investigating the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines flight announced that the hunt for the missing Boeingwhich had been concentrated in the southeastern Indian Ocean, was at last being called off. After two years and over a hundred million search dollars, only a few scattered pieces of the jetliner were found, washed ashore on isolated islands, presumably hundreds or even thousands of miles from the actual, unknown spot were the flight met its end.
Managers can learn a lot from these classic change management case studies. Paul Arnold Change can be the foundation of competitive advantage but, to be effective, a change management programme must identify areas of potential conflict, address the needs of everyone in the organisation and, crucially, bridge the gap between the aspirations of executives, technical project teams and the people affected by the change.
Few organisations do this well. But there are exceptions, such as these outstanding case studies of change. The new group chairman, Jeroen van der Veer, believed that in order to survive, the corporation had to transform its structure and processes.
A series of global, standardised processes were identified. These, if introduced, would impact more than 80 Shell operating units. While the changes were vital to survival, they proved unpopular in the short term as some countries stood to lose market share.
The message was a tough one, and many operating units balked. However, for a change programme of this scale to be successful, everyone had to adhere to the new systems and processes.
The leadership of Shell Downstream-One, as the transformation was known, needed unflinching determination and to focus on gaining adoption from everyone involved.
Those leading the change had to ensure that the major players in all their markets knew what was required and why.
They needed to be aligned with the change requirement. From the start, it was recognised that mandating the changes was the only way for them to drive the transformational growth they aimed for. That meant everything from common invoicing and finance systems to bigger more centralised distribution networks.
By identifying and rapidly addressing the many areas of resistance that emerged — such as that some influential stakeholders stood to lose control or market share — adoption was accelerated.
The team of experts — made up of senior leaders, in-house subject matter experts, implementation consultants and external change experts — who delivered the change programme were crucial in this phase.
They both modelled and drove the new behaviours needed for the change to succeed. They briefed the people who would be impacted by the change; risks and potential problem areas were discussed and mitigated — before any real change was even delivered. That can cause the initiatives to fail. Shell is in a significantly healthier position than when the transformation started, and by that measure the programme has been deemed a success.
And the ramifications of Downstream-One continue to result in ongoing change… Santander: Grupo Santander chairman Emilio Botin felt, however, that the legacy in these UK financial institutions, dating as far back ashad left them incapable of change and, therefore, unable to evolve and grow.
In buying these traditional UK financial institutions and unifying them under the Santander brand, Santander aimed to break down their engrained processes and turn them into a formidable retail bank.
To do this, they would need a fast-track, systems-led banking model. There were many opportunities during the change programme for cultural misunderstandings. Counter-intuitively, this can be particularly noticeable when national or linguistic similarities give a false illusion of commonality.
In fact, the cultures of the UK acquisitions were very different, they had developed as regional building societies and their footprints, portfolios and client bases were each unique. This meant that forceful and careful management would be needed to integrate the systems, processes and people in the different organisations.
Those who were going to be impacted by the change were fully briefed; risks and issues were discussed and mitigated. In-branch teams, for example, were prepared for a variety of customer responses through the transition phase. In JanuarySantander UK was launched against ferocious economic and banking headwinds.
It took 18 months to separate out every single strand of the business, from customer data, to independent functions and governance. This was very much a case of operating from a burning platform. The entire approach had to be one of controlled urgency, there was no plan B and the leadership teams embraced the need to shift their people on to the next step as rapidly and as efficiently as possible.
Once the separation had been effected, the focus was on creating a new brand and rapidly building the business into a viable standalone operation. In the board went for an IPO that turned out to be the biggest and most successful London stock market listing that year.
Its success heralded the start of a new, post-crisis IPO era. Paul Geddes remains the CEO of the quoted business. And each of the acquired telcos had been left to operate largely as they had done pre-acquisition.
Inhowever, Qtel began to shift its strategy away from growth through acquisition towards growth through integration.Get the latest international news and world events from Asia, Europe, the Middle East, and more. See world news photos and videos at monstermanfilm.com That's why the topic of organizational change and development has become widespread in communications about business, organizations, leadership and management.
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