In a world that is changing at incredible speed, it is critical that companies swiftly adapt to new market conditions. Our Change Management approach gives you the certainty that your change projects are implemented successfully and sustainably. CPC Change Management includes many innovative methods to implement change in ways that best fit your business. Together, we identify the transformation process that does not force change, but actively involves employees in your company.
Our Change Approach
Over twenty-five years ago, CPC began its consulting business with a focus on reorganizing medium-sized companies. Today, we are a leading change partner for large corporations. The experience of more than 100 consultants proves that stock solutions are not enough because every change initiative is unique.
In countless national and international projects, we have developed a method and format toolkit. We have learned to skillfully apply it towards organizational change and to create precise, customized solutions.
Our Ten-Step Approach of Change Management
We will introduce you to our Ten-Step Approach and tell you how we can make your organization even more successful. Consequently, we will make your change a success as well.
1. Crystal-clear messages
Problems and solutions are narrowed down in just a few minutes using a simple approach. That way, every employee and manager clearly understand the initial situation, the need for change, and the goal from beginning to end.
EXAMPLE: Animated Change Story
The core messages are conveyed in just a few minutes in an easy-to-understand manner.
"An idea explained in 5 minutes creates a sense of urgency."
Diana Herr, Manager at CPC
2. Create a Vision
The overall concept is designed and reviewed by employees that are most affected by the change on the basis of the following criteria.
- The new concept is effectively better than the old.
- Employee participation produces commitment at the functional level.
- Operational experience is leveraged.
- The Dialog is stimulated across areas.
EXAMPLE: Business Case Simulation
The responsible employees simulate the new overall concept by acting out new processes and roles using typical business cases. The benefits of the new organization are demonstrated point by point with the use of defined variables.
"Employees participate in the creation of the New Vision and review the differences between “Before and After” in a short time."
Anne Babilon-Teubenbacher, Manager
3. Experience Changes
Changes are usually defined and communicated in an abstract way. The actual impact on corporate culture and management responsibilities often remains nebulous. In order to lead their employees through change, it is especially important for managers – in their dual role as recipients and agents of change – to do some serious personal stocktaking.
EXAMPLE: Reality Training Culture Change
Reality Training is a flight simulator for managers and experts. Every aspect of an organization is mapped exactly as is, including offices, products, company history, and of course, the employees.
In this risk-free practice environment, managers are tasked with creating the New Culture, explaining it clearly to the employees, and above all, acting as role models. This allows them to experience, up close and personal, how their behaviors conflict with the vision and make their employees feel. This emotional experience, combined with an open feedback from coaches and employees of the virtual company, quickly creates a powerful impetus for change and hence permanent learning effects.
For companies that embark on a course of Cultural Change, it is important to realize a new service or management vision. Only after the executives embrace the change cognitively as well as emotionally, they are able to model the change convincingly.
The result: In Reality Training, managers tackle their personal change curve and are therefore able to succeed as role models based on their own positive experience.
4. Win over Multipliers
Employees who approach the planned changes enthusiastically are identified and enlisted early on. They are trained as multipliers and serve as agents of change as well the messengers for the transformation project. This will allow the following goals to be achieved.
- Enlarge the base of proponents.
- Respond adequately to employee concerns and questions.
"We need employees who fully embrace the change and are invested in it emotionally."
Michael Kempf, Partner at CPC
5. Agile Project Management
In change projects, management is often underestimated and inadequately staffed. One of the key factors in the success of the overall change project is its supervision. Measures toward change must be seen as an essential component of the whole project, not just an optional add-on. The unique aspects of change projects are:
- Many stakeholders with widely varying interests
- Tightly linked to expertise
- Criteria for success are difficult to measure
- Management expectations are frequently too high
- No disruption to daily operations during the implementation
EXAMPLE: Project Management Approach for Change Projects
A custom-developed project management approach oriented specifically to the change curve of the target group. It is adapted to a specific project and agreed with the customer. Project management is characterized by a strong emphasis on stakeholder management, high communication density, and extremely short response times.
One special focus is the definition of suitable change indicators that allow progress to be measured objectively. One individual takes on the role of the Project Manager. It must be someone who is an expert in both Project and Change Management and operates at the same level.
"Changes need a Project Leader who is both a Project Manager and a change expert."
Oliver Kleinknecht, Partner at CPC
6. Watertight Detail Concept
In every change project, processes, roles, interfaces, and organization structures are altered from the ground up. Even small gaps and errors threaten acceptance and, therefore, the success of the entire initiative. For this reason, the entire concept must be validated at the detail level as well as road-tested using disruptions and worst-case scenarios.
EXAMPLE: Conference Room Simulation
The new processes, interfaces, roles, etc. are simulated together with the managers and employees. During the simulation, everyone on the team realizes that the devil is in the details. All errors and gaps in the concept are exposed in an unrestrained approach. Furthermore, the simulation greatly promotes cooperation and exchange of ideas about the new processes and structures. Conflicts between the involved areas and resistance to the new concept often become known. They are discussed and resolved in a spirit of cooperation. This will allow the following goals to be achieved.
- Quality assurance of the concept at the detail level
- Elimination of all errors during the simulation and follow-up
- Rehearsal of the new roles on the job
- Identical expectations shared by all
"Identification of errors, gaps, and conflict prior to the implementation."
Gerald Kimmel, Partner at CPC
7. Early Success
The detail concept is first implemented in small steps. That way, early successes can be planned, highlighted, and celebrated. In the period that follows, regular success stories confirm that the change is working. Change needs time, which is exactly why phases for settling in and reflection are deliberately built in.
"How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time."
Jens Wilke, Senior Manager at CPC
8. Involve Employees
Employees who were not previously involved in the changes familiarize themselves with the new processes and roles.
EXAMPLE: Organizational Workshop
Employees do not sit passively through dry presentations. In a 1-2 day practice workshop, they try out the new processes using typical business cases and rehearse their new roles. The exchange of ideas about the new organization is one focus of the workshop. The benefits of the changes are identified and the downsides are openly discussed.
"As part of the implementation, we have to reach and convince the employees who, until now, only knew of the new concept through hearsay."
Jan Philipp Hölz, Manager at CPC
9. Recognize Accomplishments
All the managers and employees affected by the change participate in a major rally, which has both informational and emotional elements. Each area presents its successes, creating a group experience in the new organization: “We did it together.” Employee accomplishments during the change project are recognized. The willingness to change is reinforced, ensuring it will last.
"Managers and employees know that they have done something special and are on the right track."
Jennifer Ahlheim, Manager at CPC
10. Create a Team
Most employees do not totally grasp the significance of organizational concepts. However, they sense whether management believes in and fully supports the concepts. Change, therefore, requires a team, usually comprised of executives, managers, and specialists, that truly stands behind it. In the final analysis, it is this team that determines the credibility and ergo the success of the change.
"Behind every successful change project is a successful team."
Isabel Hartmann, Senior Consultant at CPC
Our Change Skills
What skills does a consulting firm needs to successfully make changes for companies? We found the answer for us. It is the combination of solid Project Management, state-of-the-art Process Design and the central ability to win people over for the common cause - or, to put it in a nutshell: People, Projects and Organizations.
Change Management – People
In order to create something outstanding, inspire customers and enjoy one’s own performance, we need to convince employees. If you desire change, you must do things differently. That is why we leave the beaten path and venture into our extraordinary experience formats. Examples:
- We raise awareness of the need for change and ensure its viability in the field with our Management Development Programs.
- Our Reality Trainings have been attended by more than 7,000 executives over the past 18 years. The format provides an innovative learning environment in which the key challenges businesses face today are simulated in a very realistic manner. By mastering complex tasks, executives and experts achieve a sustainable increase in competence and an experience that cannot be achieved with traditional training formats.
Change Management – Projects
A growing number of employees is working on increasingly complex challenges. This raises the question: when is Project Management successful? Our experience shows that companies need to consider three key factors:
- The Project Management method lays the foundation for success. It is a prerequisite for effectively managing projects according to a consistent approach.
- In Project Management training, the participants internalize their roles and recognize the levers they can and must use in projects.
- Project Services ensure that the method works in practice while creating operational value - from project planning to rollout. They are key for direct operational impact.
Change Management – Organizations
Changing markets, implementing new business models, mergers and acquisitions challenge businesses to continually adapt and improve their organization. In structuring the organization, it is crucial to ensure a streamlined Process Design that is optimized to the requirements of the customer. Equally important is to oversee the impact of the processes on the motivation of the employees.
- Our Conference Room Simulations aim for the early robustness of new business models. We bring together the key players of all affected business units and familiarize them with the necessary detail of the new processes.
- Our expertise in process harmonization and optimization enables companies to sustainably increase their performance.
Change Management Basic Knowledge
Change Management includes all the tasks, measures and activities that must be performed when introducing and changing processes, organizational structures, IT systems, strategies, values and behavior in companies. In our world, changes cannot be avoided, but they can be managed. This is exactly what Change Management is all about: the reorientation of processes, structures, systems, strategies, values and behavior of a company or organization in the competitive environment. The adjustment takes place in the guided management process. The people affected by the change (executives, employees, shareholders, etc.) are not left behind, but guided in conquering the change to succeed and profit for themselves. Change Management builds on the fact that transformation processes follow similar stages, which are well documented in theory and practice.. Thus, all tasks, efforts and activities can be planned, implementation supervised, and success measured.
Most Common Reasons for Change Management
The most common Change Management triggers are:
- Digitalization of business processes
- Introduction of agile organizational structures
- Optimization of the organization and business processes
- Staff restructuring
- Adaptation of entrepreneurial strategies
- Changing expectations of employees
- Worldwide rollout
- Agile Project Management
- Introduction of new IT systems
- Cost pressure
- and much more
Change Management Goals
The core objective of any change measure is always to transform human behavior permanently. There could be different reasons for that. For example, the introduction of a new IT system, a change of corporate culture or the restructuring of the organization.
Change Management should make a major contribution to ensuring that employees gain a positive attitude to change. The employees need orientation towards the desired thinking and behavior, which the company requires in the future. The leadership needs to be involved in the change for the employees to be willing to learn new patterns of behavior that better fit the new circumstances. Here, they have the opportunity to actively participate in the change and thereby develop a higher involvement.
Change Management Phases and Processes
In order to successfully implement change projects, the entire project is divided into phases and process steps. These phases and process steps should make the overall process manageable and support all involved in systematically bringing their projects to success. The theoretical basis for this is provided by numerous change models that have been developed over time. Prominent examples include John P. Kotter's 8-step model or Kurt Lewin's 3-phase model.
The models have a lot in common, for example, that the change always has a concrete reason. The first challenge is to create a sense of urgency for those involved. This is a fundamental prerequisite for ensuring motivation and commitment to achieving goals among all participants.
Likewise, all models share a common vision or aspiration to improve the current situation and starting position. The vision is one of the most important aspects of a successful change project because it often opposes those involved and stakeholders when the benefits of change are not clear. The vision helps everyone to understand where the journey is going. A discrepancy between the defined goals and reality leads to uncertainty.
Some models deal with the concept of making organizational processes tangible to enable changes. The current systems, processes and functions are analyzed and evaluated together with the affected persons. All models include the idea of gradual progress. The change process is subdivided into steps to improve the clarity and to continuously provide interim successes. The various models also agree on the importance of communication to ensure the commitment of all stakeholders and to strengthen their involvement.
Change Management Methods and Success Factors
As different as the change models are, they show an intersection of methods and success factors:
- Highlighting the urgency of change and the overall vision for a transformed and better goal.
- Defining a schedule for the change process, a time frame for the individual process steps and the overall project.
- Conducting communication and promotional campaigns to best reach the people affected and involved by the change.
- Schedule early successes and make them visible in the company.
In addition, there is a whole series of other methods and success factors that turn a change project into a successful project:
- Mobilize management for successful implementation and commit to a common goal.
- Using a stakeholder analysis, identify all members and participants.
- Analyze social relationships within the organization, gain change agents and integrate them into the change process.
- Prepare the people in the company for the upcoming change and convince them of the opportunities it brings to keep the resistance as low as possible.
- Incorporate affected employees into the change through experience formats. Make the current state and the target state transparent to further increase employee engagement.
- Regularly measure the acceptance of the change project and initiate acceptance improvement measures.
- Continuously identify obstacles to the change and remove them from the way.
- Incorporate the change process into the company at an early stage to tackle subsequent changes in a structured way.
The Change Curve
In contrast to Lewin and Kotter, the change curve is not a fundamental change approach, but a specific method to transform the energy of the employees affected by the change process. When companies need to quickly adapt to changing market conditions, it may be necessary to close, collapse or redistribute entire departments. A process that is certainly not well received by the affected employees.
During an organizational transformation - on the way from the initial state (FORMER STATE) to the destination state (FUTURE STATE) - each employee affected by the change goes through different phases of the change curve:
- Surprise & Denial: After the first surprise at the change announcement, many employees react defensively and suppress the change. They say that the change is not necessary or that the change project will fail anyway.
- Realize Start of Change: When employees realize that their environment is actually beginning to change, or when they suddenly need to do things differently than in the past and, perhaps, against their will and beliefs, many are frustrated or angry. Some employees even start to fight the change and sabotage it.
- Bargaining: After reaching the deepest emotional point, people typically begin to negotiate with themselves: "Which parts of the change sound acceptable to me, which new behaviors and activities of the change I will never accept?"
- Try-Out & Commitment: At some point, the affected employees will make the first active step and test the new solution. If this first test is a positive experience, then they agree to the new solution. They stop working with the old processes and tools - not because they need it, but because they want it.
- Future State: An employee has gone through the curve completely and reached the target state when the change has become normal for her.
Resistance in Change Management
In his study, John P. Kotter found that a large part of all initiated Change Management projects fails - a total of 70 percent. The reasons for this high rate were also examined in the study. Two factors came to light: resistance among employees and relapse into old patterns.
Examining the biggest Change Management risk factors, a Gartner Group study also concluded: The inability of change-affected employees to deal with resistance is a key factor in change projects failure. The greater the disruption of everyday life and personal impact from change, the greater the resistance against it. Employees refuse to change if they are concerned that the change has a negative impact on their safety, finances, relationships with other employees, or their area of responsibility. Alternatively, they develop a negative attitude, because they do not have enough time to deal with the changes sufficiently and the goal of the change is not clear to them. In everyday life, resistance is shown by agitation, disinterest and evasion in personal conversations. Such resistance can be both active and passive and must be handled constructively to successfully implement the change.
In the tug of war against the resistance and for the change project, the executives play a key role. Every day they must set a good example, dissolve resistance, encourage change and build the commitment of the people affected by it. Their task is to be sensitive to the concerns and reactions and to ensure the long-term commitment of all involved in the transformation process. Involving the affected people as well as communicating extensively during the process are other ways to reduce resistance and make the change project a success.
Change Management Models
Which Change Management models have fascinated us, which have inspired us, and which models have proven themselves in practice? We have compiled the most important Change Management models.
There is a commonality that is shared by almost all of them: Entrepreneurial change processes follow a fixed pattern. Most models benefit from this and phase the entrepreneurial change process. The phase models give orientation in the change process. On the one hand, they show what can typically be observed in the individual phases. On the other hand, they give recommendations for action per phase in order to achieve its goals.
The 3-phase model by Kurt Lewin
Kurt Lewin's 3-phase model from 1947 is a classic method in Change Management. The model assumes a balance between driving and resisting forces. To be successful in the long run, companies need to strike a balance. A permanent prevalence of either force prevents the feasibility of change (resisting forces) or promotes instability of organizations (driving forces). According to Lewin's approach, changes are made in three phases:
- First, readiness for change is induced by convincing the affected of the necessity of change (defreeze).
- Subsequently, the actual initial state is redesigned (change).
- Finally, the change within the organization is stabilized and anchored (freeze again)
- Divides the process of change into clearly separated phases
- Stabilizes results of changes before any further changes are initiated
- High level of abstraction and thus missing description of concrete actions
- No consideration of the affected individuals
The 8-step model by John P. Kotter
According to John P. Kotter, a company must go through all the transitions of an 8-step model to initiate successful change. In his book "The Penguin Principle - How change leads to success", the 8 levels are eloquently explained. The Iceberg melts. The penguin colony is in danger. At first, nobody wants to hear the bad news until some penguins recognize the urgency, form a team and look for a way out.
- Create a sense of urgency: "Help others recognize the need for change and the importance of immediate action. Unsettle saturated areas. Above all, more leadership than management!"
- Establish a leading change coalition: "It takes a team of respected authorities, not to bring about the change itself, but to spread the motivation for change. The entire organization must feel responsible for the change.”
- Develop a change vision and a strategy: "Clarify how the future will differ from the past, and how you can make that future a reality. The vision must be clear, plausible and inspiring."
- Promote understanding as well as acceptance and communicate by aiming at a wide reach: "Make sure that as many others as possible understand and accept the vision and the strategy. Live and communicate credibly."
- Create scope for action and empowerment to the farthest extent possible: "Eliminate as many obstacles as possible and bring on board free hands to make the vision a reality." "Stop key players when they openly oppose the change."
- Attain short-term success: "Achieve some visible, clear milestones and performance improvements as quickly as possible."
- Do not slowdown in achieving goals and successes: "Energetically push for the first successes in a hurry and persevere one change at a time until the goal has been realized."
- Anchor the achieved changes in corporate culture: "Stick to new behaviors and ensure their success until they are strong enough to replace old traditions."
Accelerate by John P. Kotter
How can I face strategic challenges quickly, creatively and with agility to take advantage of an opening window of opportunity before it quickly closes again? The Accelerate System is an evolution of John P. Kotter's 8-step model. However, both methods differ in three main aspects:
- Accelerators are omnipresent rather than sequential processes.
- Accelerators integrate as many stakeholders as possible instead of forming small groups.
- Accelerators require the flexibility and agility of a network instead of classical, hierarchical structures.
Previously, it was enough to do one big change job after another. That is why, Kotter's eight steps were taken from start to finish and then applied to the next project. Today, however, the implementation of multiple, parallel change projects is required to gain competitive advantage. At the same time, day-to-day business must continue to be secure. The Dual Operating System is a management-driven system that combines traditional, reliable and efficient business organization with an agile and fast network.
The ADKAR model
The ADKAR model offers an effective and practice-oriented tool for the successful implementation of change projects. It focuses on the accompaniment of affected persons through changes from an actual to a desired state. ADKAR is an acronym describing five results that participants must achieve for a change project to be successfully implemented. Through transparent communication, qualification and stabilization measures, barriers and resistances are identified and structurally changed.
ADKAR stands for:
- Awareness: those affected recognize the need for change.
- Desire: Those affected participate in the change and support it.
- Knowledge: Affected people have the knowledge to change.
- Ability: Affected persons have the ability to implement necessary behaviors.
- Reinforcement: Those affected reinforce their behaviors to stabilize the change.
This model enables change teams to focus their activities, use them purposefully and thus productively drive the change.
People Centered Implementation (PCI®)
The PCI® method is a comprehensive process for empowering change managers to implement innovations in organizations in a personalized and effective way. The methodology focuses on topics within significant, organizational change projects or initiatives. PCI® provides a systematic approach to planning, execution and control of all personal aspects of a change project. The methodology refers to the research results of the past decades and to more than 20 years of practical experience. At the heart of the PCI® method is the development of management competencies, tools and processes in planning and implementing change. At all times, it focuses on those affected as the driving or obstructive force of organizational change. The process itself consists of six core components:
- In the first phase of the change process "Shared Change Purpose", the current situation and the results needed for transformation is formulated. Thereafter, it is communicated within the organization in a way that a critical mass of those concerned is convinced of the necessity to support change.
- In the second step "Effective Change Leadership", a network of competent and responsible change leaders is put together. These specify the direction of the change as well as its course and are available for support.
- Third, a "Powerful Engagement Process" is implemented. These are planned communication, reward and development activities to increase the engagement of all stakeholders.
- Further strengthening of the change project requires "Committed Local Sponsors". Medium and line managers are provided with the necessary skills and motivation to act as role models for their employees.
- In the fifth step "Strong Personal Connection", the role models implement concrete strategies to increase the commitment and develop the skills of their employees.
- In the last phase of the process “Sustained Personal Performance”, mid and line managers are empowered to help their employees to implement the change so that they embrace it fully and effectively.
An Interview with Michael Kempf, Partner at CPC
Mr. Kempf, the topic of change management has garnered a lot of attention over the last few years. Where will that journey take companies?
Our goal is to reduce the duration of change projects from the typical one-and-a-half to three years down to six to twelve months. That definitely meets the needs and wants of our clients. Companies want to see measurable results for their efforts in real time.
How can project durations be cut so dramatically?
That’s best explained using a typical change project as an example. It usually starts with creating a change concept. That’s were the goal of the change is defined, such as improved service orientation. Then the different solution variations and time frames are worked out and the concept submitted to leadership for a decision. If leadership does opt for change, a plan of action is defined and communication initiated very quickly – in our experience, a bit too quickly.
The key to swift and lasting change is a mix of methods that is optimized for the target groups. Twenty years of experience has taught us that the following elements are essential: definition of the critical mass required for success, a powerful emotional impetus,
intensive collaboration with and support of the lowest levels of management, and ensuring a sense of achievement at an early stage. That’s where formats like reality training are so effective.
What happens to participants in these training sessions?
Our reality training format gives them a glimpse into the future. Employees experience at every sensory level that change is feasible and success is realistic. But they also discover, in very practical terms, what they themselves still need to learn and how to grow on an individual level. Employees run through the full change curve in reality training. It’s a critical factor in mastering change much more quickly.
How is change ultimately implemented?
Change happens by doing. Our approach takes the change from the concept level to the level of positive personal experience. In specific terms, this means that employees dive headlong into exercising the change behaviors every day, successes are reinforced, and missteps are used as opportunities for learning. We also guide clients in three key areas:
- Communication: We know from experience that change must first be firmly anchored at the lowest level of management. Our communication plan is therefore directed specifically to reach this target group.
- Use Cases: Concrete use cases illustrate employee behavior in specific situations, which gives employees points of orientation.
- Cooperation: Change happens only if everyone pulls together. We try to underscore this through joint team building.
Thank you for the interview.