The Best Change Programs Start with People

Many years ago, I was asked to help a large consumer packaged goods manufacturer reduce its working capital. Like many projects, it quickly became obvious the problems were much larger than they first appeared. The numbers and the opportunity for improvement were significant.

When we shared our preliminary findings with the Chief Operating Officer, we were surprised by his response. He said, “You are on to the right issues, but this is more than a math problem or an inventory problem. At its heart, this is a people problem. People want the new systems to match their old activities, so they don’t have to change. The incentives are misaligned between operational functions. And we have not done a good job of communicating the change we are trying to implement as an organization. It’s no wonder this has gotten out of hand.”

This COO’s response still stays with me today because this is what so many enterprises face when they face change. Businesses have remarkable opportunities in today’s market to use technology to innovate, improve the customer experience and optimize operations, but these opportunities can be squandered—and transformations can fail—when people are not ready to make the change.

We know the success of IT implementations or any other major change initiative actually has more to do with the company’s people than the new technology. Successful change depends on individuals and teams that are adequately prepared to adapt to and embrace new operating models, new processes and new systems. Business transformations that work do so because employees see the big picture and understand the roles they play in their day-to-day jobs to make positive change happen.

This is why we are delighted to announce that we are enhancing our capabilities in organizational change management (OCM) by acquiring an industry-leading OCM consulting firm, TracePoint Consulting. The acquisition of TracePoint strengthens ISG’s ability to help enterprises make the most of change programs, a key component of our business strategy and transformation solutions. In addition to operational and technology advice and support, we will now be able to more fully address the people side of organizational change—including strategy and organizational alignment, communications and end-user education—that lead to the ongoing behavior and culture change that are at the very heart of successful business outcomes.

To learn more about our recent acquisition and what it means for you, read the full press release here. Or contact me directly.

About the author

Todd Lavieri is responsible for ISG’s largest region, encompassing the United States, Canada and Latin America and representing more than half of the firm’s revenue. He also is responsible for the Pacific subregion, including Australia and New Zealand. He joined ISG in July 2014 with 24 years of experience in the global services industry. 

Previously, Todd was with IBM, where he served as general manager of IBM Global Consulting and more recently as general manager, Global Business Services, IBM Canada. Before joining IBM in 2010, Todd was president and CEO of Archstone Consulting, a strategy and operations advisory firm he founded in 2003 and sold to The Hackett Group in 2009. Earlier, he was a partner at Deloitte Consulting and a member of its Global Management Committee during a distinguished 13-year career with the firm. 

An expert on business transformation and growth strategies, he has personally advised Global 1000 clients across such sectors as manufacturing, retail, life sciences, healthcare, energy and consumer products. Todd is a graduate of Trinity College, Hartford, Connecticut, and holds an MBA from Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business.