22 Aug, 2012

Change and business transformation

Change Management is becoming the new place to be for Interim Managers. A growing number of interim managers specialising in change management are emerging in the UK according to the latest snap shot market research from Russam GMS.

The company’s latest report of 12,000 interims highlighted that the majority of interim assignments are now for specialist projects or change management programmes – rather than more traditional ‘gap-filling’ assignments, which make up just 13{6060b2de664e4eaa3e7b7e86961ce2c4bbd7a29b6c1097abf8257a4e5b07383e} of total projects.  17{6060b2de664e4eaa3e7b7e86961ce2c4bbd7a29b6c1097abf8257a4e5b07383e} of interims say they are involved in change management work and change and business transformation work now accounts for 19{6060b2de664e4eaa3e7b7e86961ce2c4bbd7a29b6c1097abf8257a4e5b07383e} of all assignments.

Charles Russam, Chairman of Russam GMS comments, “Change management has emerged as a new job discipline in interim management. Increasingly, CEOs are hiring interim change management experts to help them handle their toughest business challenges and to move their business to the next level. Interims are proving popular because they bring specialist expertise that tends not to exist within a company. They are adept at quickly identifying and sorting out problems and can brought in on a short-term basis so they are an affordable option for many businesses.”

Russam adds that there seems to be an increase in the number of businesses bored with a no-growth economy, keen to move ahead and with funds on hand who are now hiring Interims to help identify changes and to manage their implementation.  It’s a quick, low cost, low risk approach.  And it can be seriously effective.

Leon Labovitch has specialised in interim change management for the past eight years working in manufacturing, banking and the retail sectors. He says the skills of a change manager are very specific and rare – a hybrid of business strategy mixed with programme and project management skills. He says the strengths of a change manager are strategic insight, the ability to quickly identify and communicate problems within a business, devise a strategy for change and importantly, deliver that change.

Jacqui Dunning is a former consultant at PA Consultancy who set up her own change management business in 2009.  She was attracted to change management as a result of her fascination with solving business problems and because she had seen ‘too many’ good projects and policies ruined by poor implementation.

Jacqui Dunning says, “Too many businesses have great strategies and plans that aren’t implemented properly which is why I moved from consultancy into project delivery. But there are skills needed as a change manager. Firstly, you need to be resilient and recognise that no one likes change so people within a business will be naturally suspicious of you.”

“You also need a diverse range of skills to succeed including great analytic ability to quickly assess problems, excellent communication skills and boundless energy and passion to get people to buy into your vision of change. You need determination to see the plans through to the end. You must be a good listener and strong leadership skills are essential as they contribute to at least 70{6060b2de664e4eaa3e7b7e86961ce2c4bbd7a29b6c1097abf8257a4e5b07383e} of project success.”

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