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Pulling the Curtain Back on Alignment and Change Management

By Joey Havens

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In the last two blogs of this series, we pulled the curtain back on innovation and growth strategies for large firms. This blog and the next two will discuss some observed trends that are not as prominent across the major firms but they are prevalent. In each of these, there are firms that are being very intentional to implement strategic initiatives that they believe are relevant for the future as well as distinctive for them as a firm. Surely, if we ask enough questions, we can learn something from these trends. 

The first one that we might see firms focused on is the alignment of the team and understanding how to execute better on change management. If we pull the curtain back on these initiatives we will find them in many strategic plans. Let’s start with alignment.

Firms are assessing how to best align their internal organization to match the market demands for more advisory services. Firms are generating more accountability for individual partners to have goals that match the direction of the firm. Vision and strategic plans are being communicated over and over and over. When those communications are complete, they communicate the vision and strategy again in other ways.    

Change management is critical to execution when you are experiencing the rate of change that we are today. Honestly, our profession is not very good at change management. At least it’s evident to me that I’m not, as I have personally failed at it over and over again. It is so easy to underestimate the impact, legacy pull and steps involved, and to undercommunicate and underperform on the rollout. All of this “under” leads to trouble and has left me under a pile of ____ too often.  (My Mom reads this blog so please feel free to fill in based on your experience). I am reminded of be quick but don’t hurry!

What have we learned and what are firms that are successful with change management doing differently? They are answering lots of these questions first.

Who are the stakeholders that will be affected? How will they be affected? Who has listened to them to understand the challenge of the change?  How much input have the stakeholders had? Who is project managing the barriers and roadblocks so that the team stays focused on executing the desired change? Someone must intentionally help remove roadblocks, excuses, manage delays and keep the skids well-greased. Change management is a process that must be learned to be successful in making significant change in our services and business models. 

After looking behind the curtain, how well are we doing on change management? What are the common obstacles that take us off stride? How well aligned is our partner group? Our team? Which of these initiatives could propel our firm forward?  Aware, Predict, Adapt  #FutureReady