Delivering change and transformation on a multi-national or global scale is very different to a single country implementation. Factors such as time zones, language, culture, and local buy in, can be significantly challenging when delivering transformational change. Here are the top 10 tips from our consultants leading such change initiatives.
Programmes implementing change across diverse business units depend on committed and capable leadership:
If this dynamic is not effective it leads to stress, conflict, and resistance which will be amplified across national and cultural boundaries. Planning early for key people spending face-to-face time, fostering local understanding and ownership of the change is essential.
Delivering and implementing business change effectively is all about people. More specifically, it is about teams of people working together, efficiently and with shared objectives.
For a global change and transformation programme you need a global and inclusive team:
There is a right place for everyone. Consider where the deployment team needs to be based and their alignment to the in-country teams.
Think about where teams need to be:
Getting this right reduces regional, language and cultural issues, as well as cost, and stress.
One feature of a global change and transformation programme approach that is often overlooked is the style of deployment.
At one extreme is the pull model: The solution is created centrally, and each country deploys the product in a time that suits their business.
The other extreme is a push model: The programme gains the mandate to tell the countries when and if they must take the new product.
When deciding which approach to take you should consider customer impact, deployment time scales and cost, the product itself and impact on relationships with in-scope countries, as well as local legal or regulatory requirements (such as legal reporting requirements).
Working more towards a “pull” model with a few larger countries and a “push” model with the many smaller countries might be a good hybrid model.
Effective sponsors and programme managers know that as well as keeping key stakeholders informed and aligned, there are many other stakeholders that need varying degrees of understanding about:
For an effective global programme communication strategy, you should consider:
Getting the global programme communication right just makes everything else so much easier.
The sequence of implementation can sometimes be a given. However, where it is not, there are a couple of competing options that you might want to think through:
The right choice will depend on many factors, but the key ones are complexity of change and risks associated with the change and transformation programme. Both approaches have their merit and if you are fortunate enough to have a choice, exploring variations on these options is an especially useful exercise.
Many stakeholders would like an end-to-end plan for the entire programme up front.
Seldom this is practical but a good planning approach for large programmes is to ‘hard lock’ the next quarter and ‘soft lock’ the remaining plan allowing a necessary level of flexibility. This approach works particularly well for global programmes because it allows for the inevitable challenges with local culture, approaches and legislation that will arise during programme execution.
Therefore, focusing on the next quarter and making the larger, more complex countries the anchor points in your plan allows you to maintain the required flexibility and respond to changes, risks, and issues in a timely manner.
Every country is different and has its pre-established ways of working. Changing those to fit a global solution can be challenging. Here are some of the common differences that can trip you up:
Early engagement with these aspects of any solution is vital if delays and costs are to be minimised.
When capturing the requirements for the new solution there are two competing levers in play:
Choosing the right mix of common, standardised requirements versus local deviations is a balancing act. Finding the right balance is the remit of the Design Authority with a strong lead and global representation.
The involvement of suppliers and partners is more complex when you ask them to support global delivery and deployment.
Whilst the bulk of external involvement may be in designing and building the central solution, the need for local support means early involvement of in-country procurement teams. To be effective they need a clear understanding of the different areas where support is required. There may not always be a need for a one-size-fits all model; splitting suppliers by regions or functions is fine, so long as you manage and drive the integrated solution and plan from the centre.
Do you need change expertise?
At Project One, our team of senior change experts have been there and done it and can help you deliver your change and transformation successfully, avoiding pitfalls along the way. If you’d like to know more, or just need a sounding board, please get in touch by emailing – the firstname.lastname@example.org
Programme assurance, recovery or implementing change, our change experts work with you on your most complex business transformation.
Recognised as a leading management consultancy by the Financial Times, we deliver complex change and transformation programmes.