The science of organizational transformations

Author: McKinsey & Company
Commentator: Steve Fairman

Posted in: Transforming Leadership
From: Issue 14

WHAT WE THINK

This article is a helpful follow-up to earlier work by McKinsey & Company several years ago. Then they developed the Influence Model to support transformational organisational change. This is valuable as a generic change model and was used in the Academy for Large Scale Change in the NHS and is widely known within healthcare, though not always widely used – perhaps it should be. The basic tenet is that successful organisational transformation requires a focus in 4 areas: (1) role modelling by leaders; (2) fostering understanding and conviction across the organisation; (3) reinforcing changes through formal mechanisms such as individual or department-wide incentives; and (4) appropriately developing the talent and skills of the organisation.

What the new survey reported in this article does is two main things. Firstly, there is a clear relationship between the reported success of a transformation initiative and the number of these four areas focused on. Those that used all four from the start are almost 8 times as likely to succeed as those that used just one.

Secondly, you can hugely increase the chances of transformational success by designing for it from the start. Not just by using all four elements of the Influence Model but also having a very systematic approach to priorities within the change process and input from all key stakeholders and not just those at the top.

Ultimately though this article reinforces the well-known fact that at least a quarter of transformational initiatives will fail no matter how well prepared you are – so follow this recipe and give yourself the best possible chance…

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Steve, until very recently, was Managing Director of NHS Improving Quality in England. He is now wor...


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