How Change Management Drives Growth

by: Lara Roizen

 

In this episode of “From Consulting to People & Operations,” ECA CEO Ken Kanara speaks with Devin Basinger about the importance of change management. A former Accenture consultant, Basinger is currently the SVP of People and Operations at H1, a healthcare data company that facilitates collaboration in the healthcare space by offering a global database of healthcare experts to its clients.

 

Basinger helped grow H1 from 15 people to 500, but the company reached an inflection point when it reached 100 people. Basinger discovered that work culture clashes within different groups in the company were impeding progress on critical projects. H1’s teams had different ideas about goals, workflow, and efficiency.

 

To address these clashes, Basinger set out to create a new work culture. The challenge that Basinger faced was not only (1) how to create a new work culture but also (2) how to integrate and maintain a new culture alongside the company’s foundational values.

 

These are issues that generally fall within the purview of change management, which focuses on best practices for bringing people to accept and assimilate changes, such as, for instance, a new work culture. Consultants often have exposure to change management, yet it is often dismissed as a “soft skill” despite its importance, Ken Kanara observes. Proposed initiatives, he insists, are often only as effective as one’s ability to implement them across an organization. The research supports this: as Harvard Business Review points out, two out of three transformation initiatives fail in most organizations.

 

Yet the ability to drive change successfully in an organization has direct consequences for its growth and success. A McKinsey study that examined a multitude of project variables compared companies with excellent and poor change management programs, and found change management to be a common success denominator. They determined that when there was excellent change management in place, initiatives had a 143% ROI, as opposed to 35% ROI for those with poor change management.[1]

 

There are many theories about change management, but the pivotal book Leading Change by John Kotter, professor of leadership at Harvard Business School, set the standard for change management frameworks. One key aspect in his framework was creating a vision that could bring people together.

 

How did Basinger achieve this? He set out to find answers to the following questions:

  • What is the vision of the company?
  • How can we work together to achieve our vision?
  • How can we make a new culture part of the company, in initial stages and beyond?
  • How do we maintain and integrate existing values that have led to the success of the company so far?

 

For Basinger, utilizing his previous training as a founder was key. He interviewed employees across the organization as well as its founders, and was able to discover the existing core values of H1. Instead of changing the vision, he set out to understand what the true “pulse” of H1 was; then he articulated a vision that built upon those core values and in turn established new practices company-wide that allowed the company to grow to its current 500 employees.

 

As the Greek philosopher wrote, “Change is the only constant.” When it comes to organizational change, the only constant may well be effective change management. To hear more about change management, consulting, and more, listen to Beyond Consulting, ECA’s weekly podcast hosted by CEO Ken Kanara.

 

[1] “Change Management That Pays,” McKinsey Quarterly, 2002.

 

 

Lara Roizen is a Project Manager at TalentCompass. She can be reached at [email protected]

 

 

Lara Roizen
Project Manager

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