A leading global network equipment company came to me with a true sense of urgency surrounding their unique case for change.
One of their larger divisions was facing a variety of issues, including:
Dwindling profit margins
Lack of common unified vision
An organizational structure that was not aligned to the vision or strategy
Little to no innovation (i.e. no new services in the pipeline)
It was imperative that they act quickly, especially when it came to increasing profit margins and getting new services in the pipeline. However, despite pressure from key stakeholders to quickly eradicate the problems, the executive sponsor took time to develop a business transformation charter for change management, something I addressed in a previous blog post.
By getting the commitment and buy in from the core transformation team, they not only solved their current problems but avoided future ones—because change is an ongoing challenge, not a one-time event.
The senior-most executive of the organization became so passionate about the true sense of urgency involved in this transformation, and he called the executive sponsor on his way back from a business trip to visit a major customer. He cited examples of his discussion with the customer, and how the proposed changes would solve their issues. This made a compelling, real-world case for the teams involved, and enabled them to visualize the effect the transformation would have.
By positioning the transformation as an opportunity rather than a doomsday prophecy, the senior executive moved the teams away from complacency without pushing them into a false sense of urgency—something which can be a tricky balance. His openness got everyone engaged and excited about the changes they were planning.
An informal poll after this phone call showed that 100% of the attendees were able to appreciate the issues shared by the leader and were eager to work with the leadership team not only to resolve the issues but also prevent them from happening in the first place.
What I love about this story is the commitment of the organization from the top to the bottom. Without some of the pressure from stakeholders, I’m not sure this company would have had the success it eventually did. Everyone was committed to change and, that truly reflected the unique opportunities for this company. As a result, all four of their challenges were turned around on time—and on budget—and the company quickly got on the right track and stayed there.