Thursday, 10 November 2016

#cipdace16 blog 4 - session D3

Here we go again. Day two of #cipdace16

Last night was good, although there were perhaps too many things all happening at the same time which spread me pretty thinly. 

I also live too close to Manchester to justify staying over so I got the train home, only to find it diverted because of a fallen tree, so I got home very late. Daughter then decided to get up minutes after I fell asleep, and two further times in the night before getting up just five minutes before my early start alarm. 

So I'm knackered and about as much use as an out of date chicken goujon (see Inji, I did it). 

My first session today is D3 about organisational transformation, headed by Lynne Weedall and Valerie Hughes D'Aeth, both of whom I've heard speak separately before so it was interesting to see them interact with each other. 

Lynne was integration lead in the Dixons/Carphone merger and talked about the need to recognise emotion in any change process. I've been through an M&A process in recent years and will be going through another in the near future so it's a topic I've reflected a lot on and I can understand the emotion involved in the process. 

Lots of merger type processes involve loss, and so people go through the usual cycle of reactions to any loss. People willl struggle to let go of issues and emotions whilst they are still dealing with their loss and organisations often fail to address this. 

I suffered and saw a lot of loss in my most recent merger type experience and I struggled to let it go, and it wasn't helpful that there were multiple losses and I was expected, and told to, just get on with it and somehow expected to be an ambassador and advocate for the new organisation despite all that loss and emotion. It's hard. I couldn't do it. 

Lynne then talked a lot about the comparisons between mergers and marriages. I've written and spoken a lot about this and it was nice to see some of my own ideas coming out on stage, reassuring that some of the big hitters in HR think the same as me!

She talked about the need to do cultural due diligence before the merger, and build change capability by looking at culture and looking at desired post merger culture before the merger happens. Let frontline staff work together delivering services rather than sending them on change and transformation workshops. 

Lynne finished by saying that whatever your role in a merger or integration you will learn from it, emerge stronger and with greater skills. This is very true and apt for my own situation. Whilst I enjoyed the pre integration stuff and was totally on board with everything, something happened at the point of merger and switched me off completely so that the trust was gone and I hated my post merger experience, but what I can't deny is that I emerged stronger and with a greater skill set and range of knowledge that has served me well since and will do in the future. 

What doesn't kill you, makes you stronger, quoted Lynne from Victoria Beckham of all people. 

Valerie, from the BBC, then took over, looking at the transformation that has taken place to develop a leaner BBC. She outlined the challenges facing the BBC from a financial and service delivery perspective, which are vast. 

She set out some organisational design principles that have helped them transform. In an organisation of 21,000 people they have only 7 layers of management and a maximum span of control of 1:10. I wonder how many organisational restructures begin with and hold true to these kinds of design principles?

The BBC also did a professional services review with the aim of minimising back office services, which is something many public sector organisations have had to do, and they had an aim of reducing spend on back office services from 10% to 6%, which considering the BBCs budget is a big reduction in spend. 

She talked about the need to manage stakeholders, both internal and external, in managing change and transformation. The BBC have a range of mechanisms to help them handle this, which were sensible options covering a range of media and channels. 

Interestingly, Valerie talked about the HR transformation that was part of the wider change. More areas came into HR such as internal Comms and apprenticeships. The HR budget had to reduce by £60m and also the entire team had to move from West London to Birmingham. 

And 60% of the team left and were replaced by new HR staff, which is a very high percentage and suggests that some of the change either wasn't understood by the original HR team or impacted them too negatively. I think this is inevitable and doesn't mean the change is wrong, but it needs careful handling to ensure people are bought in and, if they're not, that they know that that's ok and they can opt out and leave the organisation with their heads held high. 

That wasn't always the case in my own personal experience but it's good advice nonetheless. 

This was an interesting talk about lessons learnt from organisational transformation and it would be interesting to learn more about the detail involved. 

Coffee beckons. 

Till next time...

Gary