Leadership For The Future


Why excellent implementation of change is so important

One of the problems with change is that so often it doesn’t last.  It may be that the concept and the ideas behind the change and innovation were good and well planned, but the implementation itself and the skills and capacity of the line managers implementing the change diluted, or worse still, scuppered the intended outcome of the change.   McKinsey in a recent survey competed on-line earlier this year asked about seven core competencies associated with managers who are strong implementers of change.

In their research McKinsey found that companies that had good implementers sustained twice the value from the changes made two years after the implementation efforts had ended, compared with those companies where the implementation was poorly introduced.  After all, every company “leaks” value at various stages of the implementation process. Some opportunities that are prioritised will not be implemented, others will be implemented but will not achieve full impact, and a final set may achieve full impact, but it will not be sustained. Yet good implementers retain more value at every stage of the process than poor implementers do, and the impact is significant.

So what are these seven core competencies they surveyed?  They are:-

  • Clear ownership and commitment to the change across all levels of the organization
  • Ability to focus organization on a prioritised set of changes
  • Clear accountability for specific actions during implementation
  • Effective programme/project management and use of standard change processes
  • Continuous improvements during implementation and rapid action to adapt to an alternative plan, if needed
  • Planning from the start for the long-term sustainable change
  • Sufficient resources and capabilities to make the change happen

As an example here are some of the behaviours demonstrated by good implementer according to McKinsey

Ownership and commitment:   Leaders who are good implementers devote appropriate time and energy to support major change, often clearing their diaries to drive efforts in a hands-on manner and inspire their colleagues. They also role model the right behaviours to support the change, commonly by demonstrating the difficult act of making personal behavioural changes.

Prioritisation and planning:  Good implementers ensure their team members spend the majority of their time on the organization’s priorities. They communicate at all levels about which actions and outcomes are most important to the organisation’s stakeholders, and they have set intervals to review individual efforts toward the organisation’s priorities.

Accountability:  Good implementers eliminate performance variability through tight monitoring and quick responses. This includes effectively using key performance indicators that the organization tracks at the right frequency, conducting regular performance discussions with teams, and regularly assessing staff members against individual goals and targets.

Has your organisation identified those senior and team leaders who have these traits so you can be confident in that the vision for the change is being well implemented?