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change management

#1 change management
10/10/2006 20:02


Dear all,

I'm a new kid on the block in consulting. My industry background is technology and marketing. I've recently been to a few interviews for CRM change management including a big 4. I wonder whether there's any change mgmt consultants here able to give me some ideas what exactly they're doing and what's day-to-day life is like. I've been asked a question in the recent interview - 'what's your view of change management?', and couldn't say much about it. Can someone here advise? Please give me your honest view of change management industry. Many thanks

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#2 RE: change management
11/10/2006 01:03

JD to gg (#1)

CM ranges from the pragmatic (internal communications and coordination of training) to the very flaky (I've seen a 'consultant' guage psychic energy by assessing an audience member's "aura"). I've got 8 years' experience with the pragmatic side and haven't had to resort to aura-reading just yet. Work is primarily involved with assessing and assuring that those affected by an organizational change ("change targets") are aware of the proposed change (read: communications); able to implement/support the change (read: training & necessary 'infrastructure' <e.g., software> is in place); and are willing to implement (read: management of resistance).

Hope this helps. Nice aura by the way.

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#3 RE: change management
11/10/2006 11:28

gg to JD (#2)

Hi, thanks for the inernal insight. I had some experience with energy work which might be helpful in reading the 'aura'.. should mention that in the next interview:) what other key skills/qualities a change mgmt consultant should possess apart from 'psychic reading'? Do you say they're looking for more of 'quantitative' (math, analysis) or 'qualitative' (writing, talking, etc) people?

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#4 RE: change management
12/10/2006 23:47

googol to gg (#3)

Qualitative skills are the mainstay of change, but it depends on your focus. JD's definition of "change management" is accurate, but the term can also refer to the programmatic side of change (for example, in IT consulting). In that case, logical and analytical skills are required alongside the qualitative ones.

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#5 RE: change management
13/10/2006 10:30

SOI to googol (#4)

Which are the best Change Management firms to work for in London (apart from the big 4 prof services ones)?

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#6 RE: change management
13/10/2006 14:51

Ariad to SOI (#5)

Towers Perrin


Hay Group


Not sure how you've classified Big 4 "professional services" (Acc vs. MC firms), but ACN and Deloitte would figure in a top list as well. KPMG/PwC/EY/Big box IT consultancies don't tend to figure as top players in this space.

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#7 RE: change management
13/10/2006 16:34

gg to Ariad (#6)

Thanks for the good insight on change management. But seriously, what do you enjoy most about the work? Do you find it as mentally challenging as say strategy work? What are the key challenges/issues? opps?

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#8 RE: change management
13/10/2006 16:41

k to gg (#7)

Not sure I'd classify ACN in a top change. thy're good on the hard side but not good on the softer side of change.

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#9 RE: change management
14/10/2006 00:53

Tanja to JD (#2)

Dear JD, I am a wife of a recently made redundant change manager.I would appreciate if you would maybe take a look at his 2 pageCV,just to give me your opinion about the job prospect.Please.I am a bit desperate after havin a girl and a 4-months old baby.Very Kind regards.Tanja

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#10 RE: change management
14/10/2006 15:34

JD to Tanja (#9)

Dear Tanja,

Sure. That's not a problem. Post it here and I'll have a look. Remember to take off personal information like your husband's name and contact details for security.


Jay D

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#11 RE: change management
14/10/2006 19:14

The Ornery to gg (#7)

Hi gg. I hope you don’t mind me throwing a response into your conversation. Everyone within the spectrum of soft and programmatic change will give you a different answer to those questions. If you’re looking at careers in change consulting, one of the first questions you ask needs to be “what is your perspective on change?” For example, my practice used to be called “strategy and organisation” before it was renamed to “change” – that is reflected to some extent in my perspective. Here are a few thoughts.

> what do you enjoy most about the work?

* The variety of projects, across all industries and functions and at all levels. For example, in the last quarter I have been working with an oil major on BPR for SOx compliance; designing the structure and drafting the five year strategy for a new quango; planning an M&A bid with an Australian mining company; and facilitating strategic planning with a Swiss bank.

* International projects

* An environment of constant change

* Meaningful projects and client interaction – you have their attention even if it’s because they disagree with the change and hate you by association

* Intellectual challenge – my job demands whole-brain thinking

> Do you find it as mentally challenging as say strategy work?

* Personally I do, because I’m working on projects that include not only strategy work but also operational and implementation work. Having spent my early career in left-brain disciplines in finance and ending up in financial services strategy, I find that change work is more mentally stimulating because my brain is stretched in more directions. For example, my firm often get called in to help the client because they are struggling to implement a strategic change. It sometimes turns out that the original strategic analysis was flawed so I end up re-visiting all the analysis; we revise the strategic plan with the client and then help implement it.

* In the sense that the strategy has to be workable not just pretty, it is more challenging than when I was “simply” consulting on strategy. That’s not to detract from the value that my strategy colleagues add – I would say that pure play strategy consulting is more focussed on deliberate strategy whereas change consulting is more focussed on emergent strategy.

* There are a fair number of projects where we’re brought in because the client gets to the point where things are going wrong and they simply feel that “something needs to change”, but they don’t know what needs to change, or how, or sometimes even why. I never fail to find those projects exhilarating and it comes back to why I joined consulting – the whole creative challenge.

* The programmatic aspects (i.e. the project management) of change are very challenging. As implied above, there is usually massive scope creep on a change project. Effective change is systemic and touches everything from strategy to practice. There is massive scope creep. The scope, deliverables, milestones etc. can all be up in the air until you’re a fair way through the project. As a project manager I have to be able, when I stop juggling and everything lands, to have them lined up well enough that we have a workable plan (i.e. it suits the client’s needs and we can deliver it at a profit).

> What are the key challenges/issues? opps?

* Change projects tend to be premised on globalisation, outsourcing, the war for talent, etc. even if this a little simplistic.

* In honesty, the challenges of each client are different. If I had to identify a list for you, I would recommend the strategy+business “issues for business strategy into the future”/”10 most enduring ideas”, or the HBR list of “breakthrough ideas”.

* Within change consulting itself, the big challenges are in getting people who can bridge the hard-soft skills gap. Ergo the opportunities are there for people who are credible strategists but also can demonstrate the ability to put their

* Change consulting has tended to be a luxury consulting market – it’s particularly sensitive to the economy. However I see it becoming more established in the mainstream. There is demand from operational projects (especially the big IT programmes) to bring in specialist change experts to look after the soft side of change and the client relationship. At the same time, there is demand from strategic projects to bring in change specialists who can ensure the strategy is implementable. With fee pressure on all sides, clients are increasingly recognising that effective change is the key to avoiding white elephants.

* In practical terms, a lot of solutions come back to very clever people at the top of the company doing very silly things. The hardest but most recurrent challenge in my work is changing people or helping people change each other. Rather than changing what they do, how they do it or what they do it with, the biggest challenge is to change why they do it.

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#12 RE: change management
15/10/2006 12:46

pete to gg (#1)


With your technology background, I would think that you are looking at work around the project management of the implementation phase. With your marketing background, you are looking at work around how users of the CRM system need to change the way they work, what they need to do differently, what will encourage them to do it, and how you can sell the change to them.

Most of the IT change management "industry" works in a similar way, except they may be looking at implementation of different systems and may need insight into different client functions to understand how the change will affect them.

As for your view of change management, that needs to be your point of view based on the projects you've worked on. What changed, what made the change happen, what facilitated, which elements of the project would have prevented change entirely if they had failed and which elements would have limited or boosted the extent of change?

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#13 RE: change management
17/10/2006 21:50

gg to The Ornery (#11)

Dear all,

I'm very grateful for the time you spent in the sharing of your experience and views. This will be invaluable insight for someone like me who's making a critical step in the career development. I guess the question for me at this stage is whether I should go for a mgmt consulting career. I have a relatively smooth industry experience with focus on analysis / strategy (in financial services as well, by the way) at the moment. Would I like it swiching to the consulting side? or should I just stick to 'internal consulting'? what's the key difference? Besides, I have a small baby, so don't want to travel too much. Is there any consultancies out there your are aware of do not require much travelling?

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