The Momentum Interviews – Organisational Change Management 3.0 with Jennifer Frahm

We continue our blog series named The Momentum Interviews with an interview with Jennifer Frahm.

 

Jennifer is the author of Conversations of Change: A guide to implementing workplace change and one of the leading Organisational Change Practitioners in Australia.

 

She is experienced in Executive coaching and her experience of change projects spans most industries. The change initiatives which she has worked on have included culture change, process change, digital transformation, legislative change, mergers and acquisitions and technology change.

 

For those who are interested, Jennifer has just launched her book. Please click here to find out more.

 

Our Q and A is below:

 

Q.

I arrived in Melbourne 7 years ago and I feel that the organisational change market has evolved a lot since I’ve been here. What are your observations of the evolution of organisational change in Australia over the last 5 years?

A.

Great question Alan, I think there are a few things at play in the market. We’re seeing more companies focus on enterprise change capability (which is a great thing). That’s really the path to sustainable change. Unfortunately, those companies who invest in building change capability at an enterprise level often lose that momentum when there is a changing of the guard and you see the change management offices dismantled. With each year that passes we see more people with experience in the market – again this is a good thing, we’re now seeing much more maturity in the seasoned practitioners. Organisational change in Melbourne is in much safer hands than 5-10 year ago. The downside of the evolution of the market is the increase in the wannabes and those who want to cash in without doing the work – unfortunately they taint the market.

 

Q.

I read about the term OCM 3.0 on the invitation for the most recent Change Management Professionals event and on your website. What does this mean?

A.

Sure – it’s a term that started to be used a bit to represent contemporary change management practice. If OCM 1.0 is old fashioned top down planned change management, and 2.0 is more collaborative and engaging of employees, bordering on a bit of co-creation, then 3.0 represents change management that is driven by digital disruption (as the content of change), and uses data driven insights, Artificial Intelligence, agile practices and digital tools as standard in the change management tool kit.

 

Q.

What is an organisational change practitioner going to need to do differently in the new world?

A.

Give up control!! How terrifying is that? No – control in the new world comes through data driven feedback loops (and the shorter they are, the easier it is to control). This is why proficiency with digital tools is important – you need to be able to assess which tools will yield the data you need to let you know if your change efforts are moving in the right way. They are also going to have to think about structuring their changes in a series of hypotheses, and build, measure, learn and adapt.

 

Q.

What do you think will be the biggest challenges for Organisational Change practitioners in our rapidly evolving workplace?

A.

Keeping up with all of the shiny new toys – being able to come into an organisation and quickly assess what the portfolio of tools are in use (e.g. for communication, project management, change) and adapt their practices to the tools in use. Organisational Change practitioners need to be surfing the waves of technology change – constantly playing, experimenting, working out how to translate the benefits to their organisation.

The other challenge that will be huge, is helping the change leaders to make sense of everything going on. As much as the rapid waves of technology change are smashing the change community, it is multiplied for the business leaders. Therefore, the change practitioner needs to work out pretty quickly how to stabilise the leadership in their thinking and communication of change.

 

Q.

Do you think that companies will no longer see the need for Organisational Change Practitioners?

A.

No. Not for a while… it is critical for senior leaders and managers to have requisite change capability to do a good job on their own. It is unrealistic to expect them to have the expertise to pull off multiple change projects and do their day job, in the same way it is unrealistic to expect them to have finance expertise or HR expertise.

 

Q.

Is there more value in having some-one with experience in OCM 3.0?

A.

Ah, tricky question. This very much depends on the organisation. If it is an old fashioned conservative bureaucratic organisation that is very secure in its market or consumer base, no, you can get away with a change practitioner is a bit old fashioned in their practice. They will still offer immense value in working with the leaders on implementing change.

But if the organisation has started on an agility agenda, is responsive to rapidly changing markets or consumers, or has a need for rapid change deployments you will need a practitioner with experience in OCM 3.0 or an appreciation of the difference and desire to work in that space.

 

Q.

Do you have any example projects which you have worked on or heard about which have used OCM 3.0? (without client names, of course)

A.

Oh sure, one of my recent engagements was with Aurecon and with a Workday implementation. We used Trello, Jira, MS Office Mix, Campaign Monitor, SharePoint data monitoring, Agile change management practices (working out loud, visible management, co-creation) where we could. Really quickly into the initiative we realised that “old fashioned” change impact analysis and artifacts would not fit the implementation approach or schedule and we had to quickly adapt our practices.

I understand that there are areas in NAB, and Westpac use OCM 3.0, as does BUPA, and AMP.

 

Q.

I read that nearly 90% of respondents to a 2015 global survey of managers and executives conducted by MIT Sloan Management Review and Deloitte anticipate that their industries will be disrupted by digital trends to a great or moderate extent, but only 44% say their organizations are adequately preparing for the disruptions to come.

How should organisations adapt in your experience?

A.

Well while I have talked a lot here about the tools, it actually starts with the mindset. In order to be prepared for disruptions you need to have a growth mindset and be seeing disruption as a positive experience. Relentlessly curious, and willing to experiment. If the leadership team can let go of command and control you will find that that the organisation will be better prepared to move into a space of operational agility.

 

Q.

Are the organisational change bodies adapting to this? How are they preparing their members for what is already changed and what will change moving forward?

A.

Yeah, I’m a bit skeptical about this as I am not sure that the mindset aspect has been really adopted. I’m seeing a rush to develop agile change management methodologies (and the ‘right way to do agile change’) which of course is an oxymoron. There’s a lot of focus on process and methodologies and not so much the values that underpin a disruptive future.

 

Q:

How did you get into Change Management?

A:

Me? Oh, I had always worked in industries that were changing and wasn’t too thrilled with being on the receiving end of change! I got the opportunity to join a M&A project in the mid 90’s at the same time as I was studying a B Bus Management and a subject on change management. It was a great opportunity to apply what I was learning and I was hooked from there on!

 

Q:

Given the evolution of Organisational change management, what advice would you give to Millennials who want to start a career in this domain?

A:

It’s a two-speed approach for the younger generation or those older and wanting to transition over. 1st pay your dues and spend time absorbing the classics. Understand the legacy of change management experts and what they have contributed to the field. Read. Study. Talk to experienced practitioners. Once you have that under control you will be better placed to use any of the accreditation that might be seductively waved in front of you to fast track you into the field. Then be ridiculously curious and playful – think about all of the technologies you take for granted – how might they be an advantage in your change approach.

 

Stay tuned for our next blog.

 

To view our previous blogs, click here.

Momentum Search and Selection is a recruitment partner which provides Executives and Independent Contractors who excel at project, program and change management delivery.

Alan Herrity.