Stop your change programmes from failing. Four ‘must haves’ to succeed in the Energy Sector
Based on years of ‘hands on’ experience with Energy companies, Irene Molodtsov, Managing Partner of Sia Partners UK, shares her tips on what you need, to make any change programme a success.
Energy companies set off on change journeys for various reasons. Some are driven by external drivers (market share is falling, production is down, new product introduction, discovery of new energy sources, a new acquisition requires integration, new growth targets are set to ensure survival) and some change journeys are driven by internal drivers (e.g. a new company strategy requires a new organisation design, new IT system or technology upgrade).
An ‘external’ market driver is always a more powerful force to drive change and delivers more sustainable results. It creates a sense of urgency, allows for momentum to be built up more quickly and people tend to understand the rationale or ‘case for change’ much easier and get behind it. A change within the Energy sector can come in various forms and levels. They can range from a fully blown ‘Transformational Change’ (meaning a change in strategy, process as well as organisation culture), an IT driven change (implementation of a new cross border system e.g. an ERP implementation), an Acquisition (that requires integration) or a Divestment or De-mobilisation. Whatever the case it is very likely that a financial investment as well as a resource and time commitment will be required.
If you have decided that the change you are seeking is necessary then what are the key elements you need to consider and do to ensure that you reach a successful destination point? There are four (and only four) essentials. Without all four of the below, it is difficult succeed. I list them in order of importance.
- Budget – ensure that the change you are seeking to implement has a signed off budget. Without money considerable change cannot be implemented. You need budget to buy specialist help, to release people from their day jobs and put them on the change programmes, to ensure the right messaging is designed to engage people in the programmes and many more things. To get the right budget, you will need to develop the right ‘case for change’ story that is usually made up of the ‘FM’ (or Financial Memorandum) and an accompanying narrative.
- Sponsorship & Leadership – we believe that for a change to be successful it has to be positioned at the highest possible level of the organisation. The more critical and the more costly the change initiative, the more imperative that it is sponsored at the very top. People will ‘buy in’ to it if their leaders are championing it
- Communication and Engagement – without this, your change programme will fail. Investing in Communication and Engagement is like investing in the mortar that binds the bricks of the house together. It is often called the ‘enabler’ on the programme and it does just that. Without this activity a new strategy is simply a paper, a new technology is a shiny piece of kit and a new process is a piece of paper with diagrams on it. Communication and Engagement specialists ensure that peoples’ behaviour changes and they are not just informed but their hearts are behind the change.
- Team – a change journey (of any reasonable size) is difficult. It requires leadership, commitment, tenacity to withstand the detractors, ability to influence, ability to justify and face continuous challenge. Having a strong, skilled and credible team (containing both clients and consultants) is key to enabling a change to be implemented successfully. A consulting team has to bring the experience and skills of having done this sort of change before. A client team has to bring the internal company networks and credibility to drive this change through. Together, a client/consulting team must stand united and be committed head and heart to the change.