Driving Enterprise Change Management: how Volvo Trucks did it, how you can do it.

Turn your vision into reality with PROSCI's Strategic Alignment Workshop

author picture Article written by Peter Harbo Clausen

Some organisations are more responsive, more agile, more resilient. They thrive in VUCA environments (Volatile, Uncertainty, Complex, Ambiguous). And they keep thriving in times of crisis. Change is part of their DNA. But none of them got there by chance.

Building enterprise-wide change management capability takes structured and intentional efforts. This is a battle that is fought on many different fronts, from developing leadership competencies to establishing robust change sponsorship to streamlining CM processes. The case of Volvo Trucks shows what it really takes. A journey Volvo Trucks and NEXUM embarked on two years ago and that was accelerated by PROSCI’s Strategic Alignment Workshop.

Let’s discuss ECM, how to go about it, how Volvo Trucks did it … and what it can do for you.

Enterprise Change Management (ECM), in a nutshell

ECM makes Change Management the norm. ECM refers to “the systematic deployment of Change Management skills, tools and processes throughout an organisation”. In other words, it is CM gone mainstream.

ECM captures the people-dependent portion of ROI. Not only that. Maximising the use of human capital will help develop agility, boost responsiveness, and mitigate the effects of change saturation – one of the most pressing organisational issues of our time. Ultimately, ECM creates a lasting competitive edge.

It takes three things to succeed.

  • Some common ground. Adopt common processes/tools/language and synchronise activities with PM from the outset to deliver seamless workstream collaboration.
  • Leadership competency at all levels. Equip all key players with CM skills. Leaders, Managers, Project leaders and team members, HR professionals, front-line employees … everyone should be and feel in charge of the change.
  • CM (re)defined as a strategic capability. Harness the full potential of ECM! Consider change-readiness as part of your business strategy and Change Management as a key component of organisational agility.

There is no shortcut to do this. But we believe that the best way to accelerate change capability development is a pragmatic step-by-step approach.

Strategic Alignment Workshop: how to turn your vision into reality

Do you have a vision for developing a change capability? Then you need to provide comprehensive answers to the following questions to start designing a tactical plan.

What’s your ambition? The first step is to articulate your vision with your organisation’s intrinsic goals and strategy. Think of it as the ECM Deployment Ambition.

What’s your current maturity level and target? Once you have outlined the vision, it is time to gauge the current level of CM and assess the gap between baseline and set target. PROSCI’s Change Maturity Model is a widely used tool that describes 5 levels of change capability, from ad hoc or absent CM (1) to enterprise-wide competency or ECM (5). Just like Volvo Trucks, you may want to go from 2 to 5.

Who will be doing what? Ready to bridge the gap? You will need to activate CM key roles. Leaders and sponsors, managers, frontline employees, Change Management and Project Management teams … all need to develop adequate skills and understand what’s in it for them (WIIFM). And that takes a clear roadmap.

When can it be achieved? Without a clear schedule and milestones, it is harder to drive engagement, track progress or celebrate small (and big) wins. It is only logical that you create a sequence of events to guide your efforts from point A to point B. Roles assignment, activities and milestones will turn your vision into reality.

How to effectively communicate the plan? A strong why will get people on board. A solid how will guide them through the journey. You now have to craft a compelling message. Call that the elevator speech, or everything people have to know about the importance of ECM and how the organisation will be change-ready.

In action: Volvo Trucks, driving the change.

Volvo Trucks started its journey with a score of 2 on the CM Maturity Scale, meaning that CM had, until then, only been applied sporadically to isolated projects (maturity mapping). Held in 2019, the Strategic Alignment Seminar was the starting point for articulating the vision and establishing a roadmap. Two years after, the company is already well on its way to fulfilling its aspiration of “being of role model for how to drive change”.

Setting aspirational goals and committing to them. The workshop served as a basis to articulate the aspiration (ECM deployment ambition), secure leadership commitment and set a timeframe for developing a full-on organisational change capability (ECM goals and sequence of events). With its eyes set on 2022, Volvo Trucks has already taken giant steps towards applying CM to more change projects - European re-organisation and Digital Marketing, among others.

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Getting people in and transforming the culture. Interestingly, the company reports “having gone from a push to a pull”, with people now asking for CM resources when working on any given project. That is, without a doubt, a consequence of creating a powerful and compelling narrative around the change and Change Management itself, one that makes crystal clear the why, the how and the risks of the status quo (communication planning). For CM skills to become a strong currency across the organisation, in 2019/2020 Volvo Trucks trained 95 executives, 115 direct managers and 28 change practitioners on PROSCI’s method and tools (ECM resourcing). The ADKAR model for individual change developed by PROSCI (Awareness, Desire, Knowledge, Ability, Reinforcement) not only helped structured the people side of the (meta)change, but it is also the new reference framework for Volvo Trucks initiatives.

The road to full-on ECM. Volvo Trucks has made significant progress along the change process, having built 3 blocks out of 5, that is, Awareness of the need to change, Desire for the change and Knowledge. The next step is to keep developing Ability by integrating CM practices and project governance, while also Reinforcing new existing structures to ensure that CM continues to be applied to critical projects.

For Volvo Trucks, the future looks bright. Change Management is now seen as a key success factor, part of the company’s culture. Taking a structured approach and small measurable steps has been key to ensuring steady progress. An inspiring story and success that can be replicated, with the right method and tools.

Focus your core team, rally your staff, and set your organisation up to success!

PROSCI’s Strategic Alignment Workshop helps you communicate the reasons behind launching an enterprise-wide approach to CM to align stakeholders and staff with a common goal.

Peter Harbo Clausen

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