Chapter 1 - The challenge of change

An introduction to ‘practical change management’. It draws from academia but is essentially rooted in the real world of change and covers the sorts of ‘what’ and ‘how’ subject matter that managers face when instigating a change project. Many books on change are good background reading but they don’t cover the practical aspects such as the use of PRINCE2®, ITIL®, Lean Sigma, or other tools that are used in change transformation work. The chapter endeavours to bridge the theory with the practice.

Chapter 2 - Should I use a consultant?

Once a decision has been made to undertake a change programme one of the first decisions to make is whether to hire a consultant. The chapter explores many aspects of hiring and using a consultant.

Chapter 3 - Shared service centres

Chapters three, four, five, six and seven are focused on specific change management topics. My time as a department head in the nascent cable telecommunications industry forms the inspiration for most of the material included therein. During the mid to late 1990’s the shared service centre concept was starting to emerge from its antecedent - ‘centralisation’. The sort of environment which acted as a catalyst for the transition from centralisation to shared service is described and a number of issues are explored. The latter part of chapter includes list of desirable features, a set of recommended steps to follow in creating a centre, and concludes with a short discussion on a number of operating issues.

Chapter 4 - IT projects

IT based change management projects are now common in all organisations. Summarised within this chapter is a case study of a sizeable programme costing millions and affecting thousands of people. Its context is described as are the processes involved, issues faced and timelines. Numerous issues were encountered during its development and implementation, and although it did make it to implementation the project ultimately failed primarily due to a bankruptcy process in 2002. The issues faced on this particular project and general reasons for IT project failure are discussed and the chapter concludes with a number of guidelines to follow to improve chances of success.

Chapter 5 - Mergers & acquisitions

The cable telecommunications industry was arguably the most interesting environment to work within during the 1990’s. Characterised more by failure than success it nonetheless provided one of the key drivers for the development of the internet in the U.K. and the relatively low cost telephony market extant today. Several waves of mergers (or acquisitions depending on organisational allegiance) are described and discussed in some detail. This analysis and the overall ‘lessons learned’ are captured in a series of recommended change management guidelines to take when engaging in a merger or an acquisition. Surprisingly little has been written about the development of the UK cable telecommunications industry so the opportunity has been taken to provide a little more detail than might otherwise be the case.

Chapter 6 - Sourcing

‘Sourcing’ has shown considerable growth in the 1990’s and 2000’s, spawning a new language of derivations: outsourcing; multi-sourcing; offshoring; co-sourcing, to name but a few. Chapter six explores the approach to outsourcing as used in the cable industry in the 1990’s and the steps taken in 1998 which effectively formed the template for the following ten years. The theme is developed by identifying the typical issues found in many outsource situations and concludes with a series of guidelines which collectively provide a rubric for best practice.

Chapter 7 - Downsizing

Fifteen reorganisations in seventeen years in the cable telecommunications industry were the context for this chapter. Unlike some of the others it does not describe the actual situations as many of them had the same basic driver – to cut costs. Much has been written about the softer side of downsizing but there is paucity of information on how to actually do it. The first part of the chapter outlines a possible best practice approach using some hybrid consulting and accounting ideas, discusses issues and concludes with a list of features found in better managed downsizing programmes.   

Chapter 8 - Business Performance Improvement

The Management Control Cycle is explained and the chapter shows  how this can be used as a framework for improving business performance. Although not quite as well known as many of the other initiatives, work in this area often acts as a catalyst for major change in all types of organisation. Typical issues associated with its use are identified, and the chapter concludes with some suggestions on a number of initiatives which might improve its operation.

Chapter 9 - The Future of Change Management

Change management exists within the ever changing broader social, cultural, economic and technological landscape of the 21st Century. Several key features of our current environment are identified as potentially having a significant impact on the world of change over the next couple of decades. Interpretations are provided of what these might mean for the change management process, and some current trends.

‘Experiencing Change’ Chapter Synopsis

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