How to Structure Large Scale Change Efforts

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Ron Banerjee
Financial Consultant, United States

How to Structure Large Scale Change Efforts

Hello All: For a textbook chapter that I am authoring, I am compiling a list of different change effort structures that leaders adopt when organizing large scale efforts. I believe that there are four different structures or approaches that an organization navigates when dealing with a major organizational change initiative.
I say "navigates" because one can see shifts between each approach happening throughout the large scale change effort. I'm curious regarding your opinions and anecdotes regarding other change effort structures that in your experience have been effective. Again, please consider the large scale level of change only. The following is a brief description of 4 structures I previously referenced:
  1. THE SHADOW ORGANIZATION - This is where the change effort requires an organization to create a separate organization chart of various specialized teams ie. Training and development, physical plant, where the team engages the change effort based on the milestones that are required, but only those that are focused on their specialization. An essential characteristic of this change structure is that these specialized teams still operate within their existing, respective overall workgroups or divisions while targeting the change milestones that the organization requires of their specific specialty areas.
  2. THE EMBEDDED EFFORT - This is where the responsibilities of required change are built into the job descriptions of the employees. As part of the change effort, by embedding the responsibilities of change into the job descriptions this mandates attention to any change effort as a part of job performance. Change-related performance is added as the list of KPI's to be assessed as part of overall job performance. The premise here is that by mandating change responsibilities at the individual level, no additional organization structures are necessary to effectuate change.
  3. THE DREAM TEAM - This is a change structure can also be referred to as the star approach. The idea here is that the change consultant works with the organization to identify superstars from within the organization. Once these stars are identified, a change task force is created comprised of these stars. The sole purpose of this task force is to generate a proposal for change implementation based on the stars' opinions and observations which are ultimately presented to the C-level executives for disposition. It is a known fact that in talent management circles that an organization's "stars" are as much as 20% more productive than the typical rank and file employee. This change structure builds on that high level of engagement and performance.
  4. INSTITUTIONALIZED STRUCTURAL CHANGE - This change structure is when the organization chart is modified to create specific departments that handle a change aspect. For example, organizations are increasingly establishing departments that focus exclusively on Diversity and Inclusion-related change while other departments might be established to manage change impacting production or quality, or safety. In all cases, the organization is augmented by the creation of separate change-focused departments as recognized parts of the overall organization. These change silos only focus on the parts of the large scale change that impact those within their silo's boundary.
⇨ I look forward to your stories and thoughts regarding (other) large change effort structures.

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