June 1, 2017
By: Nathan Gunn & Luca Ziprani
Change and transformation Management or OCM for short (Organisational Change Management) is a relatively new school of management that came into existence in the 20th century.
Although there are numerous scholars, psychologists & businessmen who helped contribute to the formation of OCM as a managerial discipline such as Arnold Van Gennep & Kurt Lewin, it was Richard Beckhard who in 1969 defined organisational development disciplines as “an effort (1) planned, (2) organization-wide, and (3) managed from the top, to (4) increase organization effectiveness and health through (5) planned interventions in the organization’s ‘processes,’ using behavioural-science knowledge.” – Prosci
What is Change Management?
“Change Management is the discipline that guides how we prepare, equip and support individuals to successfully adopt change in order to drive organizational success and outcomes.” – Prosci
Where does Australia come in?
The Global Financial Crisis (GFC) of 2007 was a blessing in disguise (a very, very good disguise) for many institutions and industries as it demanded tighter regulations, better management and organisational restructuring.
Australia’s largest bank, Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA), responded almost immediately to the GFC and saw the value of change and transformation management. The CBA decided to enrol all of its executive managers into PROSCI, a leading organisation in Change Management methodology, in order to deal with the incoming financial storm.
Word quickly spread throughout Australia about this new management system and its success. Before long all the major banks across Australia such as ANZ & National Australian Bank started implementing Change Management as its own function rather than a sub responsibility of the Project Manager.
Soon after corporate Australia followed i.e. Telecoms, Utility & Energy.
It would seem that Change Management was an unavoidable practice in Australia. Being such a large country with so few people, the cost/risk of doing something is much higher than in European countries and as such, cannot afford to get things wrong or fail. Furthermore, Australia is a very young country, much younger than the U.K. for example. This allows greater flexibility as the managerial layout is less hierarchical, allowing them to adopt a new methodology such as Change Management much earlier and master it much faster.
Where does the U.K. come in?
OMC has also been growing in importance in the UK since the GFC, but the UK has been slower to clarify the roles within the Transformation organisation and therefore the Project Manager is still often identified as the Change leader, particularly in smaller projects.
Adrian James, formerly Transformation Director at GSK, believes that the UK’s OCM system and framework still has some way to go before maturing into a uniform system. He argues that “senior management often see Change as an additional responsibility of the Project Manager. Whereas it’s vital to have specific Change, Communication and Training specialists attached to a project, to steer and support the organisation through the journey. Today it depends on a company’s experience, size and appetite to invest on whether the OCM and PM are two separate roles or are grouped into one.“
What is the future of OCM?
Australia benefited from the PROSCI methodology which brought greater clarity to the functionalities and responsibilities of OCM, clearly separating it from PM. One could argue that it allowed Australia to fight through the Credit Crunch and continue growing at a much faster rate than its Asian, European and American allies.
In the UK it is less clear what benefits OCM has brought and will bring as the majority of companies still don’t see the value of it as they don’t fully understand it. Furthermore the UK’s Financial industry operates on a tradition hierarchical system making it difficult for them to discern OCM’s responsibilities and seniority level.
There is a shared “hopeful” vision on the future of OCM i.e. That Change Management will become more defined, the roles and duties identified, and that businesses start moving away from transactional to strategic management allowing the OCM process to improve and grow.
You may find value in knowing about Skillfinder’s capability and the additional support we can provide across the change management and business transformation spectrum. For further information please contact Nathan Gunn
· Adrian James, Former Transformation Senior Executive at GSK