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The human side of business transformation

Garth Holloway, the Founder and Managing Director of Six Foot Four Business Management Consultancy Services, provided insights on the human side of business transformation. The discussion encompassed essential themes, including cultural transformation and management accountability, change management strategies, and sustainable business improvement through education.

Cultural Transformation and Management Accountability

Garth discussed the significant impact of misalignment between organisational culture and management accountability on business transformation outcomes. He noted that when management accountability is not clearly defined, it often results in ambiguity and resistance to change. Garth emphasised the importance of management owning the process architecture and being accountable for business changes to drive cultural transformation. This alignment leads to sustained operational excellence and successful transformations.

Barriers Identified:

  • Differing perceptions of goals and outcomes within the organisation.

  • Ambiguity in accountability, especially at higher management levels.

  • Resistance to change from management, who often hide in the ambiguity of their roles.

Change Management Strategies

Garth highlighted the challenges of managing the 'organisational trauma' associated with change programs. He introduced the concept of business outcome management, which focuses on achieving outcomes rather than merely completing tasks. This approach involves linking initiatives to outcomes and ensuring that outcome owners and those executing the work collaborate closely. He stressed the importance of writing outcomes in the past tense to create a clear vision of success.

Effective Strategies:

  • Using a business outcome management approach to focus on achievements rather than activities.

  • Ensuring a shared understanding and agreement on what success looks like.

  • Facilitating close collaboration between outcome owners and task performers to ensure alignment and accountability.

Sustainable Business Improvement Through Education

Garth elaborated on the role of consultants as catalysts for change, advocating for a model that emphasises doing the work through the client. He explained the difference between education and training, noting that education leads to higher sustainability of outcomes as the business learns and embeds changes themselves. Garth emphasised the importance of walking the floor with clients and supporting them in real-life applications of their learning to achieve sustainable improvements.

Approaches to Education:

  • Implementing a model where consultants work through the client, educating them to enable long-term sustainability.

  • Balancing immediate outcomes with long-term sustainability by combining education with practical, hands-on support.

  • Establishing governance committees to coach clients and ensure they are actively engaged in the change process.

Key Takeaways

  • Overcoming Obstacles: Common barriers include differing perceptions of goals, ambiguity in management accountability, and resistance to change. Addressing these through clear accountability and a shared understanding of outcomes is crucial.

  • Actionable Advice:

  • "Only the business can change the business." To avoid disenfranchisement and ensure accountability, ensure the business owns the change process and outcomes.

  • "Tell me how you measure, and I'll show you how you behave." Use measurement to drive behaviour and, consequently, cultural change. Set clear measures to define and track success.

Full interview.



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