A Journey of Change.

Article written by Sybille VAN STEENBERGHE

What our client says about us.

“If change management is not embedded in your organisation yet, Nexum puts in place the means for you to start building it on a solid foundation.” “Result-oriented and flexible, consultants work as if they were part of the organisation. They offer honest feedback to help people evolve.”

Background.

Our customer is a folding carton solution provider who operates several plants in various countries. In order to compete harder and maintain its position in the market, this company is initiating a transformation programme. The key objective is to develop a company-wide single approach. Improvement of the leadership culture is therefore central to the project as the organization seeks to make its processes more efficient and boost performance. The existing operational framework is scheduled to change. Along with creating a stronger Sales Team, the transformation programme includes developing a customer orientation strategy that promotes proactivity and customized solutions. Various other departments will be strengthened or improved (Financial and ICT entities), in line with the long-term vision of its stakeholders and remaining true to the group’s entrepreneurial spirit.

A high-level roadmap charting the future course of this transformation has been defined and translated into detailed project plans. Part of the transformation program are the following initiatives or elements:

  • A clear vision and articulated strategy understood and executed by each and every entity or plant

  • Restructured, efficient and effective processes supported by the right tools and a reviewed process management culture, including continuous improvement while still retaining entrepreneurial spirit

  • Strengthened Sales Team,

  • An even more robust Financial Department

  • Stronger ICT Department

  • A new performance & accountability management culture

The Challenge.

To create buy–in both for the change itself and for change management resources in a multi-sited organizational context in order to (1) ensure a smooth transition while running business-as-usual activities and (2) generate support for the decisions to be taken.

The Solution.

To increase the speed and percentage of adoption, NEXUM focused its actions on two key levers, i.e. sponsorship visibility and empowerment of management layers. The resulting role-based approach involves:

  • supporting the Management Board members in their role of sponsors to ensure cohesion and alignment in the transformation.

  • assisting the new Change Management Officer (CMO) with the task of developing a culture of Change Management and self-sufficiency in the face of future disruptions.

  • promoting leadership and change management skills among Managers to turn them into effective driving forces for change.

Partnership with NEXUM-PROSCI.

Throughout the project, NEXUM worked in close collaboration with the CMO (also Group HR Director), the Group Head of Human Resources and the CEO. Since empowerment and on-the-job coaching activities were at the core of NEXUM’s mission and partnership with this Company, the preferred role-based approach was structured around three organisational levels, namely, macro (enterprise-wide or overarching structure), meso (leadership teams) and micro (individuals) levels. NEXUM’s action plan was further broken down into three work streams. The first one sought to align the extended leadership team around a meaningful vision of the transformation and message while raising awareness of the importance of a robust sponsorship structure. In order to give flesh and blood to the change, the second stream focused on re-defining and clarifying the culture and values carried by the company. Another stream was specifically dedicated to enabling the transformation, driving engagement and building enterprise-wide Change Management capability (ECM). The practical implementation described below weaves together these elements.

Application.

NEXUM first organised a series of workshops directed at the Board and Management Board. The aim was to take stock of the situation and build a vision and roadmap for the future so that members could cascade a compelling story of the change. Attention was then turned to the extended leadership team, now including plant directors, with activities designed to develop sponsorship awareness and ensure proper alignment with the story. A specific two-day workshop tackled cohesiveness and team performance issues. The Change Management Officer and Programme Manager also prepared PMO-CMO tours for the middle managers to collect feedback on the project, clarify their role and operationalize the implementation within their respective geographical spheres. Focusing on leadership culture for long-term viability of the change, a “leadership team” event was kicked off. Underway is a larger leadership development programme being designed to foster new skills, engrain values more firmly in the company culture and craft a “Leadership style”.

Prior to the exercise of redefining the values, NEXUM was commissioned to conduct a culture audit through quantitative surveys and individual qualitative interviews with respondents from all plants. Values were then reassessed using a bottom-up approach (collective brainstorming) with a top-down input (value ranking and selection by Board and Management Board members). The ensuing roll-out was first applied asking the Management Board to select specific values to live by, further stressing the need to lead by example. The next logical step was to target managers (extended leadership team, plant middle managers and HQ managers) through specific workshops featuring sponsors, personal testimonies and business cases.

Enabling the change also took the form of coaching activities, starting with the CMO herself, who was presented with and trained in the PROSCI methodology and tools, then with the Management Board, whose members exhibited varied levels of familiarity with change management. Given the lack of a strong project management structure, NEXUM recommended that a Programme Manager and Transformation Manager be appointed while also setting up a Change Management Office and Project Management Office. The guiding principle was to establish an early dialog between the two disciplines and a system for monitoring projects (milestones, activities and benefits realization). For clear role definition and solid governance purposes, an overarching Steering Committee was also created. NEXUM finally certified 15 change managers across sites and coached them on their specific projects, a task shared with the CMO.

All in all, the activities conducted under the transformation programme umbrella created a fertile ground for fruitful exchange, leading up to the creation of a Change Management culture and of a Change Management community. Alongside the emergence of shared vision, there is a greater awareness of the need for a single unified company mindset (no silos, cross-production and collaboration).

Results.

Working on the people side of change in the framework of a large-scale transformation required the existence of a balanced ecosystem fostering trustworthy relationships. NEXUM certainly succeeded in creating the right conditions for the people to “own” the change. It meant onboarding an extended Leadership Team aware of its role in the transformation journey and in the shaping of new corporate values. In this sense, important milestones were the creation of a steering committee monitoring projects and change management outcomes, as well as the establishment of a Change Management Office along with a community of Change Managers.

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