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I am an honours graduate (BSc. Hons. Strath-Glasgow) coupled with an MBA-ICG (Paris) , experienced, Metallurgist - Materials Scientist and Engineer & Manager turned Consultant & Blogger. I specialised in Superalloys (aero-engine_Seminal Work peer reviewed & published IOM3_MST, Feb.1985, the 2nd issue of this now well known journal dedicated to the fundamental aspects in our multidisciplinary subject area ) My experience over a wide range of Special Alloys is extensive. (Cryogenic,Controlled Expansion-Dilatometric,Magnetic, Corrosion Resistant Grades and finally HSLA-Aircraft Undercarriage. (Great Stuff-I was lucky) My responibilities were especially in Melting & Refining to 1st Forming stage. Responsibilities include QC,QA & Accounting, Melt/Remelt Process  & Products, R&D.  Bilingual English-French. 
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Thursday, 13 November 2008

Creating Tomorrow - Never so necessary, never so urgent? - Organisational Change Processes & Strategy

Critical comments with references (links) based on a white paper: "Creating a Value Driven Change Capability for Executing Organisational Strategy from Cranfield School of Management – April 2008" by Prof Chris Edwards and Rob Lambert of Cranfield School of Management.

Their leader quote is:
"As Darwin so aptly states the winners tomorrow may well not be today’s strongest, nor today’s most intelligent,but those most adaptable to change."

"Suffer-in-silence"? (JA)

For my generation and probably Prof. Edward's this could be an never ending refrain: Bob Dylan sang many years ago "The Times they are a changing "

The following quote also from the authors:
"Today with responsiveness and agility increasingly becoming the organisational focus, clear lines of responsibility for change are essential." provoked my comment as follows:

Although typical in management school & company jargon this could well conjure-up an image of a "Circus" in the minds of the worse critics, today the critics are most likely to be a disallusioned general public and we can be sure the humourists won't miss their target if they ever turn from their main political targets! Aren't we lucky, we scholars and bloggers?

I felt it was high-time to look again at this, apparently galvauded subject; "Organisational Change and Transformation"

A free white paper by the, UK-IT magazine & website ZD.Net, provided stimulation and ample material for my post.

The authors of the paper, Edwards & Lambert ascertain that there are many indications that the rate of organisational change / transformation is increasing with an associated increase in investment risk. Their paper was published in April 2008. In the light of what is common knowledge today - "financial crises, recession, increasing unemployment..." this appears to be a euphimism. As "insider management observers" the authers probably benefited from some privileged foresight.

The subject is most often treated as a management process topic. Edwards & Lambert consider that there is perhaps one more important issue:

"Maybe more important than an effective process is the unifying of responsibility for ‘creating tomorrow’".

This is not really revolutionary. It simply found resonance in me from my own knowledge and reading on management, notably what Peter Senge in the 5th Disciplne terms "The motivationg power of vision of a shared vision" Senge likens this to the elastic band pulling reaction pulling towards a shared vision and goal.

cf. my earlier post in my Sept. 2006 post: INNOVATION -THE WORTHWHILE PROJECT-Conversational styled, review of science's powerful tool "The Experimental Method" in politics and humanities from Blog.

"In many organisations responsibility for delivering today’s performance is clear whereas that for creating tomorrow is less so. "

I wonder if my Hypothesis in Recession and The Environment I – Climate Change -Root Causes and Solutions 26 Sept. 2008. and

Recession and The Environment II – Climate Change: Root Causes and Solutions
also in my "Conversations-on-Innovations" Blog
is to some extent substantiates of these "States of Affaires", the short vs the long view or again as Senge puts it "The Art of The Long View"!

Or again as some sceptics may put it "What is as opposed to what could or should be...?


"All of this investment in change is in an attempt to create a ‘better tomorrow’ for the organisation."

I believe, even the most causual of observers, like me for example, have noticed such apparently huge investments -often seen as real lay-Offs or simple stock-market - manipulation announcements?

My turn to ask the pundit's what is specifically the true, objective ROI-return on investment on such schemes whatever the errors underlined by the scholars?

Whatever, Edwards & Lambert have provided a useful summary paper on the subject raising many questions on change management and it's processes worth summarizing as follows:

An 80/20 rule: THE ANSWER IS IN THE QUESTIONS (QUESTIONING PROCESS MANAGEMENT!)

-Exactly who in an organisation aligns, prioritises and coordinates the portfolio of business change initiatives, ranging from IT enabled change to Six Sigma local projects as well as strategic imperatives defined by the Board?
-Who is responsible for creating organisational readiness for change? Who ensures that adequate business change resources are allocated to each initiative? Who mobilises the various groups that need to be involved in operationalising the change (IT, Organisational Development (OD), etc)? Who tests and signs off the change as suitable in terms of efficiency and compliance?
-Just who rigorously conducts post implementation investment reviews on business change programmes? Some of these tasks are frequently allocated to a Programme Office but such a group often exists to provide administrative and support services only; not a truly managerial capability, with real responsibility and authority. The above questions relate to responsibility for the creation of the organisation’s tomorrow and, as such, it could be said to be the CEO’s responsibility.

"But then everything is the CEO’s responsibility and he/she only has 16 working hours in each day! "

What !!! ?

Comment: Come on Edwards & Lambert... and a fat salary to pay for help but only an "outsider would dare say this, n'est ce pas!

In summary, it is considerably less clear who coordinates and operationalises the creation of tomorrow’s business than it is to understand who delivers today’s business.


Edwards & Lambert summarise the numerous ‘methodologies’ which have been proposed to achieve "successful transformation."
and extract main themes which they bring together to form an Organisation’s Change Capability. cf. Table labled Fig. 1.


The first four elements are concerned with developing an agreed change portfolio.
The literature stresses the criticality of the leadership team communally committing to this prioritised portfolio.

The remaining six elements are involved with the detailed planning, delivery and review of the change initiatives.

As outlinned above recent research undertaken at Cranfield by Professor Chris Edwards & Rob Lambert suggests that these six elements are necessary but they are insufficient, in themselves, to deliver the critical benefits(the famous bottom red-line profit or a more hollistic better future for all?). Realisation of these benefits is more closely associated with the formulation of an agreed change portfolio. (as discussed above.)

Edwards and Lambert state that:
"Their purpose in writing this article is to stimulate a debate so that organisations begin to enhance their capability for executing the business strategy. As the school report might say “More emphasis needed on ‘strategy execution’ and rather less on ‘creating the perfect business direction’”.

"Maybe more important than an
effective process is the unifying of
responsibility for ‘creating tomorrow’."

I can live with that, better, I can perhaps turn this into "I can live better with that", a more hollistic "Global Approach".

SOURCES & REFERENCES:

1. N° 8. Financial Management (Cranfield). In Top Ten White Papers curtesy of ZDNETUK, this Week Nov08 (Free upon sign on)

2. INNOVATION -THE WORTHWHILE PROJECT-Conversational styled, review of science's powerful tool "The Experimental Method" in politics and humanities

3. Recession and The Environment I – Climate Change -Root Causes and Solutions 26 Sept. 2008.

4. Recession and The Environment II – Climate Change: Root Causes and Solutions

Stop press on Recession 13Nov2008 17h00- !

Economic group OCDE says developed world in recession