Are Your Managers in Sync with Your Change Strategy?  

12 March 2021:

A few years ago, we noticed something curious: Successful business transformations were slower, fewer, and further between than we would have expected. Companies were moving toward cloud-based operations, but often without urgency. They were trying to shore up profits through cost optimization, but their efforts often sputtered after the first year. Industry leaders, fearing encroachment by disruptors, implemented changes to encourage innovation and customer-centricity. But few achieved any meaningful progress. Most transformation programs yielded only a modest lurch forward, rather than the great leap their sponsors were hoping for.

Then the pandemic hit. The circumstances obliged companies to shift gears quickly, legitimizing remote work, accelerating the digitalization of business, and making the health and welfare of employees their overarching priority. Companies began to talk of managing “three years of transformation in three months.”

We know this because we recently surveyed executives in the United States — at companies with at least $1 billion in revenue — about their attitudes toward post-Covid transformation. We spoke to 300 in the C-suite, 500 in upper management (managing directors, senior vice presidents, plant managers), and 500 in middle management, and we were surprised to discover that C-suite executives and upper management often don’t agree on the effects of the pandemic and how to respond to them. In fact, middle management was more consistently aligned with the C-suite’s views than upper management was, despite being farther apart on the organization chart.

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Source: Harvard Business Review

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