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  • Jonas Svanäng

The sustainable transformation approach

We have developed an approach to ensure a transformative change that is anchored in the organization, both quickly, achieving impact, and long-term sustaining and further improving the results.

Our team at reLean has spent the last 20 years leading and/or resourcing large-scale change programs in some of Sweden's and Europe's largest organizations - often with the aim of achieving a company-wide ambitious targeted impact within 2-3 years. We have done this in many different formats and ways - as consultants in highly capable consulting firms, as independent consultants, as operations directors and as executive search and interim resourcers. Basically, from all perspectives of a program. To learn more of transformation programs, read some of the recent posts we have written on digital transformations and quality transformations (swedish) to learn more about our functional deep dives in these transformations.

We have refined the best mix of these methods for quite some time, with the aim of creating a transformation approach the combines the best of all these approached allowing our clients quick impact, but without losing out on the long-term sustainability of the results and the inherent ability of continuously improving from where we leave them.

A few reflections;

  • Involvement of the right internal resources are pivotal for sustaining results

  • External support drives faster achievement of results (more hands and most importantly a stringent focus on leading the process timely to results), resolving the change paradox

  • External resources are costly, but often with a good return on the investment. But only if the internal resources to sustain the program was installed and involved early

So, at large you may say that the success of any change program is left to the resourcing of the program in order to enable true change. There are many challenges with resourcing a program though. Here are some of the most obvious;

The challenge with external consulting

The really good thing with consultancies is that they come with a ready-made and well-proven approach that can quickly be deployed in the organization. All best practice templates, training and process leadership is developed and synced to hit the ground running, leaving no need to reinvent the wheel.

The issue with the consulting firm is that they have a number of internal constraints that hinder them from fully focusing on developing the client’s organization. Firstly, they often have a limited number of resources at hand to choose from. The consulting organization consists of more and less experienced consultants and the transformation program needs to be a training ground for the less experienced consultants. The firm also needs to consider utilization, e.g., optimizing the paid time of their work force, sometimes leading to a non-optimal consultant joining the team.

Having, or getting, the right internal team to lead change

A transformation program implies that a change is needed. Our experienced executive search team often uses the notion "recruit internally to follow the current trajectory or recruit externally to change the direction or momentum". Often, we have found, that the right internal people just do not exist to lead the program, leaving a high risk that the program may still quickly achieve impact, but the impact will after time go away as people revert to old habits again. The people internally that does have the right intrinsic skills to drive the program are often crucial for success in other parts of the business and cannot be removed from there. Hence, we need external resources to be recruited.

A typical challenge when recruiting externally for change leaders is to qualify them. Recruitment consultants generally does not know what it takes to drive change and even if a person has managed to drive successful change in one setting it does not mean they will manage in your setting. Many of our old colleagues from Toyota were outstanding in the continuous improvement work at the Toyota factories globally, but when deployed to a situation outside of Toyota where fundamental change had to be put in place from a low starting point, they had no idea where to start and never figured out the way forward. So pure merit is not good enough.

Our sustainable, flexible, transformation approach

We have developed an approach to ensure the transformative change is anchored in the organization, both quickly achieving impact and long-term sustaining and further improving the results. We develop, lead and resources the change program with both external and internal resources.

  • We use experienced management consultants to lead the transformation process. Securing best practice methods and stringent process management to deliver results

  • We use experienced interim consultants with deep line management skills on top of a consultant’s toolbox to quickly hit the ground running and deliver impact. Our experienced interim consultants will focus their attention on developing your team instead of internal junior consultants. Given our network of 2000+ interim consultants, we can always put together a team suitable for your needs without any internal constraints of our own

  • We integrate our executive search team in the transformation to co-lead the recruit of future leaders at our client. As soon as they are trained as change leaders, our interim team can be replaced. This reduces the external spend, builds capable future leaders and secures the transformation impact

Contact us to learn more about how we can help you design and resource your change need.

This video explains reLean in 1 minute.

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