Change platforms change comes from the grass roots

This is an interesting article, for emerging Mutable Businesses, from McKinsey.

It was pointed out to me by John Blackham, CEO of XSOL, a New Zealand company producing what can fairly be described as a “change platform”, based on advanced business process modelling.

A key insight is that change doesn’t only come from the top as is often claimed. Although I think acceptance of change at the top and institutionalised rewards, not necessarily just financial rewards, for “change champions” are probably necessary, they are far from sufficient. The people who do the work, at the bottom of the pyramid, often have a far better idea than the CEO of what the company actually does. These workers must be empowered to make and embrace change – to become change champions – just convincing the CEO is not enough.

On the other hand, if convincing the CEO isn’t sufficient for successful change, the CEO, by him or her-self, can probably set up a dysfunctional culture that makes effective change all but impossible. From that McKinsey article: “In 1996, Harvard Business School professor John Kotter claimed that nearly 70 percent of large-scale change programs didn’t meet their goals, and virtually every survey since has shown similar results”.

David Norfolk

My current main client is Bloor Research International, where I am Practice Leader with responsibility for Development and Governance. I am also Executive Editor (on a freelance basis) for Croner's IT Policy and Procedures (a part-work on IT policies). I am also on the committee of the BCS Configuration Management Specialist Group (BCS-CMSG). I became Associate Editor with The Register online magazine – a courtesy title as I write on a freelance basis – in 2005. Register Developer, a spin-off title, started at the end of 2005, and I was launch editor for this (with Martin Banks). I helped plan, document and photograph the CMMI Made Practical conference at the IoD, London in 2005 ( I have also written many research reports including one on IT Governance for Thorogood. I was freelance Co-Editor (and part owner) of Application Development Advisor (a magazine,, now defunct) for several years. Before I became a journalist in 1992, I worked for Swiss Bank Corporation (SBC). At various times I was responsible for Systems Development Method for the London operation, the Technical Risk Management framework in Internal Control, and was Network Manager for Corporate group. I carried out a major risk evaluation for PC systems connecting across the Bank’s perimeter to external systems and prioritised major security issues for resolution by the Bank’s top management in London. I also formulated a Security Policy for London Branch and designed a secure NetWare network for the Personnel Dept. Before 1988 I was an Advisory Systems Engineer in Bank of America, Croydon in database administration (DBA). on COBOL-based IMS business systems. Before 1982, I worked in the Australian Public Service, first as a DBA in the Dept of Health (responsible for IMS mainframe systems) and latterly as a Senior Rserach Officer 2 in the Bureau of Transport Economics. Specialties: I have the ability to extract the essence of significant technical developments and present it for general consumption, at various levels, without compromising the underlying technical truth.

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