Working as a Change Management specialist one thing I encourage every organisation to do is to create an internal ‘Change Network’ as part of their change strategy. Why does this matter and how does it support organisational change across the workplace? A Change Network operates as a hub of activity driving change and communications and consists of select employees, also referred to as Change Agents or Champions, hand-picked from across the business.
Hanna Qadir, Change Director, Maddox Advisory Ltd & Columbia University.
Hanna will be presenting the following courses via live streaming, ‘End to End Change Management Strategy and Approach for Improving Organisational Outcomes‘ from 16-17 July 2020 You can view a webinar on ‘Sustaining Change Through Change Networks – Sink or Swim?’ presented by Hanna here
Building Change Networks is by no means a new concept in the world of Change Management, but now more than ever this structure holds relevant in a changing world; where remote working becomes the new norm and maintaining a connection with the rest of the workplace remains crucial.
The dictionary definition of a ‘network’ is a group or system of interconnected people or things. One such example of a network is the Internet, connecting millions of people from all over the world. In a business context the Change Network is a group or structure set up to interact with and represent those areas of the organisation affected by change. Furthermore, it allows flow of business information and communications as well as an opportunity to develop cross-functional relationships. Organizational goals of collaboration and collective identification of solutions and ideas can also be reinforced through a Change Network. Organisations for the people, with value created by the people and real ownership from those employees who are a part of the change – to my mind that can never be a bad thing!
There is no hard and fast rule on how to build a Change Network and this depends purely on the type of organisation, geographical remit and finally an assessment of the overall reach of the network and what it is trying to achieve. The Network may be set up to support changes within a particular function of an organisation such as IT or Procurement, at a project or programme level or even at a tiered strategic level, the latter being particularly helpful for those organisations that drive international business. I like to think of the remit of the Change Network as a traffic light focusing on three areas, all operating as consistent and ongoing activities, each of which is critical to the success of the Network: Stakeholder Engagement, Change Impact / Readiness and Communications. The traffic light foundation or pillar is highlighted by a Training component, an area of change often overlooked when preparing a collective change strategy. All four activities are crucial for the active running of the Change Network and to realise the best possible outcomes.
Finally, having created a number of Change Networks over the years, I believe the most exciting thing to observe isn’t the business merit this structure creates but an ability to bring people to life, create one collective and an opportunity to debate and discuss ideas. To me the beauty of this concept is the lack of any hierarchy in both its creation as well as day-to-day operation – everyone is equal and has a role to play, regardless of title, position and rank. It offers a great opportunity to celebrate diversity, inclusion and representation from across all areas of the workplace and I believe it is this ethos that we need to reinforce across organisations in current times.
Hanna Qadir is an Organisational Change Consultant who has worked on global programmes in the insurance, retail, banking and entertainment sectors over the last 14 years. Notable achievements include: Heading up the change function for an American insurer and leading change for a multimillion SAP programme of work for Sony Entertainment. She is also a keynote speaker on change for both academic (Columbia University, New York) and organisational institutions.Initially starting her career working for two of ‘The Big Five’ consulting practices, Hanna now specialises in change-focused transformation. She believes in outcome-driven interventions and encouraging organisations to prioritise investment in their people regardless of the size or monetary value of the transformation. She also has an interest in cultural attitudes to change, having worked in Japan as well as across Europe and believe employees need to be nurtured since they are at the heart of any change.
Copyright Hanna Qadir, Maddox Advisory Ltd