How firms with no map get lost

Attempting change without involving those affected risks failure, reports Roger Trapp

Recent years have seen huge improvements in British industry. Manufacturers, in particular, have benefited from the adoption of Japanese lean production and quality techniques. But - as the consultants never seem to stop reminding us - there is no opportunity for relaxation. Change is a constant in the turbulent world in which modern business is operating.

Certainly, if a survey from Oxford University's Templeton College is anything to go by, the message has got through to senior managers. Top executives in 23 leading international companies questioned for the IBM- sponsored survey said major change - both organisational and strategic - was their common concern.

Nearly all the companies surveyed were embarked on "major journeys of change", with more than two-thirds introducing fundamental changes in organisation and in capabilities and nearly half making radical shifts in strategy.

Moreover, the pace of change seems to be increasing, with only a small minority of companies involved in change programmes lasting at least five years; often they were far shorter.

However, all this activity is not necessarily producing results. According to the report - "Transforming the Organisation: New Approaches to Management, Measurement and Leadership" by Keith Ruddle and David Feeny - "successful change has eluded more than half the companies".

The reason for this appears to be - at least partly - because companies "are embarking on journeys without maps". Very few of the companies identified at the start of their journeys the goals in terms of the full range of what are now referred to as "stakeholders" - including customers, shareholders, management and employees.

Another reason is that companies lack accurate and comprehensive measures to assess the effectiveness of change. One key to dealing with this is the use of "transformational scorecards" - adopted by 80 per cent of executives in successful companies as opposed to fewer than half of those in unsuccessful ones.

But such scorecards need to be as broad-ranging and integrated as possible from the outset - so that they cover such aspects as organisational structures, employee attitudes and IT as well as market share and financial goals. They should also set different measures for different stages of the journey.

Among the lessons for executives about to lead such expeditions are the need to focus scorecards on strategically critical capabilities - not just changes to processes - and to embed changes in day-to-day working practices

peopleFrankie Boyle responds to referendum result in characteristically offensive style
Life and Style
Couples have been having sex less in 2014, according to a new survey
New Articles
i100... with this review
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Holly's review of Peterborough's Pizza Express quickly went viral on social media
footballTim Sherwood: This might be th match to wake up Manchester City
Arts and Entertainment
musicHow female vocalists are now writing their own hits
New Articles
Arts and Entertainment
musicBiographer Hunter Davies has collected nearly a hundred original manuscripts
Blahnik says: 'I think I understand the English more than they do themselves'
Arts and Entertainment
Michelle Dockery as Lady Mary Crawley in Downton Abbey
TVInside Downton Abbey series 5
Life and Style
The term 'normcore' was given the oxygen of publicity by New York magazine during the autumn/winter shows in Paris in February
fashionWhen is a trend a non-trend? When it's Normcore, since you ask
Latest stories from i100
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Student

SEN Coordinator + Teacher (SENCO)

£1 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Job Purpose To work closely with the he...

Science Technician

£7 - £8 per hour: Randstad Education Cheshire: The Job:School Science Technici...

English and Media Teacher

£100 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: English & Media Teacher - ...

Graduate BI Consultant (Business Intelligence) - London

£24000 - £30000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Graduate BI Consultant (B...

Day In a Page

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam