APQC Research Identifies Communication, Accountability as Best Practices to Achieve Transformational Change

Research produced with Grant Thornton features best-practice insights and case studies from Baker Hughes, Booz Allen Hamilton, UL, and Optum Technology Group of UnitedHealth Group

(Houston, Texas - May 13, 2014) - APQC, the nonprofit leader in benchmarking and best practice research, has released a report—Transformational Change—Making It Last—that outlines what leading companies are doing to set the stage for, manage, and sustain change across their organizations. The study, conducted in partnership with Grant Thornton LLP, identified 12 best practices across six areas—leadership, frameworks, governance, engagement, measurement, and continuous improvement.

“This research examines the conditions concerning common change management practices to understand what elevates them beyond just steps in a transition,” said Jeff Varney, APQC process improvement practice lead. “We have worked to document what enables making a significant change from how business is done to a new, often innovative way of completing work and delivering value.”

APQC and Grant Thornton named four global best-practice organizations with experience implementing transformational change practices—Baker Hughes, Booz Allen Hamilton, UL, and Optum Technology Group of UnitedHealth Group.

“We have found that successful organizational change begins and ends with individuals,” said Chris Jacobs, Grant Thornton Advisory Services director. “Organizations need to spend time influencing and molding individual behavior in a way that builds the foundation for lasting, successful transformation.”

The top three best practices identified were:

  1. Combine communication and engagement plans to create buy-in and overcome barriers to change. To ensure adoption and move employees through the change journey, an organization’s core and implementation teams need to identify and address the common barriers to change through aggressive communication and engagement tactics.
  2. Ensure executives are accountable for the transformational change. Executive leadership and senior management are often the impetus for transformational change. However, just being the impetus for change is not enough to drive change within the organization. More often than not, executives at best-practice organizations are also accountable for the transformational change.
  3. Leverage top-down communications to set the groundwork for transformational change. To initiate change, senior management must communicate the current state and the need for change in a way that reaches all employees. The message must be something that all employees can comprehend and rally around.

Steven Sparks, Grant Thornton partner, added, “We were excited to conduct this research with APQC because we wanted to understand how leading organizations are driving true business transformation. By focusing on transformation rather than transition, we believed we would uncover the best practices in engaging people to successfully change behavior.”

David Shaner of CONNECT Consulting LLC provided subject matter expertise.

Detailed insights for all 12 best practices for managing change and case studies may be found in the complimentary report overview.

About APQC

APQC is a member-based nonprofit and one of the world’s leading proponents of knowledge management, benchmarking, and best practices business research. Working with more than 750 organizations worldwide in all industries, APQC provides organizations with the information they need to work smarter, faster, and with confidence. Visit www.apqc.org or call +1.713.681.4020 and learn how to make best practices your practices.


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