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Big Change, Best Path

Successfully managing organizational change with wisdom, analytics and insight.

ABOUT THE BOOK

Read the Table of Contents and Chapter One.

BIG CHANGE, BEST PATH ON AMAZON

Big Change, Best Path provides a new understanding of how change happens in organizations. Based on the largest base of empirical change research data ever developed, this book brings unique insights to the dynamics and process of organizational change. Covering understanding success and failure, defining and describing the drivers and conditions of change, and the patterns and paths of organizational change, it gives business leaders and managers an essential guide to making successful change happen.

Using ground-breaking modelling, Big Change, Best Path shows that a whole new way of managing change is possible, from empirical benchmarking, predictive approaches that highlight the specific actions needed at any point of a change program, to visualization to show how each part of an organization is responding. It also challenges many of the myths of change management and the dynamics of how organizations respond to change, clearly showing the common pitfalls and misunderstandings.

Big Change, Best Path explains a new, more analytical way and process for driving successful change, and presents a ground-breaking vision for the future of how organizations can become more agile and resilient.

Read our related points of view:

The Research

The research began with two simple questions: ‘How can we tell if our change program is on track? And if it’s not on track, what corrective actions should we take?’

To answer these questions we studied 250 change programs over a 15-year period, including acquisitions, mergers, restructurings, technology implementations, cost reductions, downsizings, culture changes, growth initiatives and new business models. These change programs took place at more than 150 organizations in 50 industries and 25 countries. We surveyed nearly a million "travellers"—individuals across all hierarchical levels, from front-line staffers to leaders.

The result is the largest set of empirical change research data ever compiled—more than 30 million data points representing perceptions of people undergoing change. We found remarkable consistency and predictability in how people navigate change across organizations, countries, cultures and types of change. Big Change, Best Path outlines how organizations can implement change more effectively by skillfully navigating those predictable—but often hidden—pathways.

The Change Map

Organizational change is often described as a journey, yet accurate maps showing the complex interactions between people, change, resources and performance have not been available until now.

Using the data collected, we built multidimensional change maps, comparing data across teams, organizations and change programs. These maps represent the patterns we identified through an extensive analysis of the data. We found that groups undergoing change initiatives tend to fall into different clusters—represented by regions on our map, from very low to high performance—with similar characteristics, behaviors and dynamics.

Our maps capture the complexity of change initiatives, and provide leaders with the insights to keep programs on track, early warnings about future obstacles and prescriptive advice to handle problems.

Find out where your change program positions on the map at www.accenture.com/changemap.

Nine Capital Cities

Our research has identified nine capital cities on the change map where most groups reside as they undergo change. Of the 20 regions on our change map, 75 percent of groups reside in these capital cities—each has distinct dynamics with recurring patterns of behavior. Groups reside in capital cities because they’re unable to resolve the common difficulties they face.

Big Change, Best Path explores each capital city, describing the strengths and weaknesses, the critical issues and complications, and the reasons why it is difficult to escape certain regions. The book also outlines the traffic on the routes from those cities to other locations, and describe what decisions will lead to which pathways. When the dynamics of these capital cities are mastered, an organization will have the capabilities to manage challenges that surface with a change program.

The Change Model

Using quantitative analyses, a model of organizational change processes has been developed, including the factors that need to be managed to drive successful change. The goal is to provide leaders with a framework to deal effectively with change and keep a program from falling by the wayside. This enables leaders and teams to know when, where and how to take corrective actions to get back on track, and the steps necessary to stay there.

The change model outlines the relationship between performance outcomes, turbulence and the 10 specific drivers that affect performance. These drivers range from available resources and strength of leadership, to the feelings of individual participants in the change effort. These drivers can be measured during a change program to identify any actions that should be taken to keep a program on track.

Myths of Change

Many executives believe organizational change is an inherently messy, chaotic process. Without a doubt, change can derail business. But that’s because leaders have been managing it using faulty assumptions and outdated mental models.

LEARN MORE ABOUT TURNING CHANGE UPSIDE DOWN

In our Myths of Change podcast series, Accenture Strategy managing director Warren Parry debunks a few myths of change and offers suggestions for helping the workforce of the future effectively implement change.

LISTEN TO OUR MYTHS OF CHANGE PODCAST SERIES

 

Author
Warren Parry

Warren Parry
Managing Director—
Accenture Strategy, Talent & Organization

Warren Parry is a managing director in Accenture Strategy with deep expertise helping global clients navigate complex organizational change. Warren pioneered the development of Change Tracking, a predictive analytics system based on more than fifteen years of research, which helps organizations navigate and manage large-scale organizational change. Accenture Change Tracking is used by more than 150 organizations in 50 different industries and 25 countries. With more than 20 years of experience, Warren has lodged 16 patents, has published in international journals and speaks regularly at industry conferences. He is based in Sydney.

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