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What I have Learned about Change Management Leading Global Transformation Programs: Setting Up a Centre of Expertise is Crucial

By Cristiana Rossi, Organization & Development Director, Gruppo Iren [BIT: IRE]

Recently the speed and the power of technology development has forced each of us to exercise skills such as change management, flexibility and resilience, both in the world of work and in personal life.

Likewise the markets have, consequently, set disruptive challenges such as:

- agile competition due to new competitors with leaner processes able to propose new products in a short timeline;

- digitalized Go-to-Market where key business processes and capabilities are reshaped to be digitally delivered to final customers;

- new markets and products where a significant pressure is unlocking new opportunities to achieve faster and growing return on investment.

To face this storm of disruptions properly, companies are strongly involved in global transformation programs, which foresee major changes in core processes. But, even in the most structured and navigated multinationals companies, the majority of those projects aimed to implement new technologies, are likely to fail, precisely when the transition from As-Is to To-Be takes place. It is indeed very common for companies to underestimate the impact due to poor change management or the absence of a precise strategy that enables people to use the technologies themselves and the consequences are sometimes dramatic. Below are just few examples:

- employees left behind
- unproven talks
- static approach
- unclear change ownership
- multiple change programs

Even though these concepts and risks are constantly expressed and described on social networks and blogs for experts in the field, change management continues to be an extremely delicate topic often cited in an empty way and without technical content.

Change is not, as is reported in many articles, books and interventions, a way of being, a lifestyle or a mind-set but it is a real methodology. To be truly understood, interpreted and above all applied, change, must be approached as a method full of indications and contents that can become part of the baggage of a professional only after the acquisition of know-how and experience.

What I have learned leading global transformation programs at Northgate Arinso, Pirelli, VF Corporation is that the following are mandatory:

- a clear governance, common action framework and capability portfolio to support change across the entire organization;

- an holistic approach, simultaneous changes efforts run consistently considering the overall effect on final users of multiple transformations;

- change skills, tools and capabilities condensed in one Centre of Expertise.

But what does an Organization and Change Management Centre of Expertise mean?

It means a centralized govern approach for improving quality and execution; a centralized skilled team to manage and monitor change management activities across all programs leveraging resource availability, integrated insight of all change, budget and timelines; integrated change management deliverables with cross program to expedite implementation and a standardized operating model.

"Change is not, as is reported in many articles, books and interventions, a way of being, a lifestyle or a mind-set but it is a real methodology"

To achieve this goal it is necessary that concrete project and transformation experiences, guided by competent people, are shared, highlighting above all the technicalities that have characterized the specific experience.

It is sad to say, but sometimes, I came across people who have the word change in the job title but are completely in the dark about the main pillars that characterize it:

- Stakeholders mapping
- Communications
- Training
- Organizational impacts

Behind every pillar there would be a thousand things to say and every technicality would have a different application according to the different industries where the transformation takes place.

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