Positive change


By James Perryman, Handpicked Society member

So, the time has come. You need to do something differently to stay ahead in business, or even to survive.

You know this will require a new operating model and an organisation re-design. But does your organisation have the change expertise needed to create the right culture for change? Here are some top tips to help: 

Tip 1 – Create a vision

A vision that everyone can buy in to is a great first step to winning hearts and minds.

A vision that everyone can buy in to is a great first step to winning hearts and minds.

A vision that everyone can buy in to is a great first step to winning hearts and minds. The vision needs to be exciting and evoke emotion. 

One proven way of creating such a vision is to facilitate a discussion amongst the leaders of the organisation and ask questions such as “Why do we exist?”, “How do we want customers to feel about us?”, “What should our own people be saying?” and “What would happen if we didn’t change?”

The answers to these questions will tease out the overall vision and a purpose for change.

Tip 2 – Clarify desired behaviours

Generally, change programmes articulate a set of metrics or KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) that will be relevant in the new/changed organisation. Often though these KPIs don’t include any measures that relate to the desired culture or behaviours that are expected of everyone, for the new operating model to be successful.

Including these types of measures will allow you to demonstrate things such as, increased collaboration, more effective communication, improved job satisfaction, reduced attrition, absenteeism and presenteeism.

Introduce ways in which you can assess change adoption and gather feedback on behaviours that can continually inform the project, increasing the likelihood of success.

Use measures that assess things like collaboration, communication, and job satisfaction.

Use measures that assess things like collaboration, communication, and job satisfaction.

Tip 3 – Lead by example

It is critical that leaders lead by example, demonstrate the expected behaviours confidently and take people through their change journey. Each leader’s journey is different, as is their experience of change. Each has their own unique leadership style. This is an asset, but if not managed well, could be detrimental to success.

Take the time to identify those key people. Analyse their experience of change and the specifics of their roles within your project, including their levels of influence, support and commitment. Prepare and coach all leaders to tell the story of the change and take ownership of its delivery and the outcomes. 

Leaders continually require support and feedback, encouraging them to act as role models to their teams and the wider organisation.

Tip 4 - Become story-tellers

Tip 4 - Become story-tellers

Tip 4 – Become story-tellers

You’ve won the hearts and minds of your people with an exciting and emotion-evoking vision. You’ve clarified the required behaviours and you’ve engaged the right leaders. So, how do you maintain that engagement? By defining a compelling story that enables those leaders to continually enthuse their people about the changes and maintain their buy-in throughout the journey.

The story has to have meaning, be visual and be evolved as the change journey progresses – going from ‘this is what we want to achieve’ to ‘look at what we’re achieving’.

Across the organisation there will be different audiences with their own needs, so it’s important to ensure that they are each communicated with in a way that drives maximum positive engagement.

Tip 5 – Create solidarity

By engaging people in the change story, you can involve them in sharing their knowledge and helping design the change.

Teams generally enjoy collaborating and working together to embrace change. There can however, be significant barriers that prevent effective collaboration, such as multiple locations, time and language differences and a lack of travel budget. Try prioritising travel that maximises engagement, providing collaboration tools and guidance on ways of working.

This engagement and involvement will help overcome resistance and increase early adoption to the change and the sense of solidarity.

Tip 6 - Showcase and reward heroes

Tip 6 - Showcase and reward heroes

Tip 6 – Showcase and reward heroes

Delivering your change project will undoubtedly mean that existing ways of working will be impacted and will need to be aligned to the target operating model. 

As you work through designing and planning that alignment, identify the ‘Moments’ that will showcase the change. These might include, Governance/decision making forums, Marketing processes, Operational changes and Talent management programmes.

As these Moments occur, celebrate them, communicate them visually and link them back to the Vision, Purpose and Story originally set out.

Recognise and reward those people hero-ing the new behaviours, and don’t be afraid to challenge and provide reinforcement to those demonstrating the old behaviours.


James Perryman, Handpicked Society member

James Perryman, Handpicked Society member, punting.

James Perryman, Handpicked Society member, punting.

James is passionate about bringing clarity, direction and a sense of purpose to individuals, teams and organisations. James has built up his experience over 20+ years working with organisations primarily in the Telecoms sector but also including travel, insurance, banking and FMCG.

His work has involved working with the range and diversity of directorates across a typical business, and having to create compelling stories in order to secure director and senior management buy-in to transformational change.

A keen rugby supporter and player, James captains one of his local teams and recently organised a sponsored game, bringing in over £1000 and creating awareness of local businesses/organisations.

More articles