Changing The Way You Change Things

March 15, 2011

By Laurie Clarke, COO, The Tatham Group


I was having lunch with some new Tatham trainees today and we started talking about the role of internal consultants as change agents.  Does their ability to challenge the status quo diminish with time?  Is their expertise being wasted in an enabling function versus leading a business area? Do they have a view of the organization only the CEO and customer have?  How long should someone stay in this position?

Great questions.  There is still much debate on the first few so I’ll focus on the last for now.  Our usual answer is that this is a position you should be in no longer than two years.  There is a point where you learn the concepts, apply them to real life and then know all you need to know to champion and influence business results directly.  And that is where you should be – from process consultant to process leader.

But what if someone were to stay in that position longer?  How can they provide more value to the organization and continue to progress their career?

The answer – be a process owner of business redesign, implementation and change.  It is surprising how rarely we see business transformation areas reviewing, measuring and improving their own processes, as they do with so many other business areas in order to achieve performance results.

What a competitive advantage this would be for the organization and the change agent.  Change is what we do – the most effective at being efficient.

Even though our customers are starting with a great change process, all processes need experimentation and refinement to best fit the company using the approach.  And to evolve over time versus being abandoned for something new.  Change agents must practice what they preach to provide the maximum benefit.

Tell us about ways your organization is working to improve the way you change.