Our Thinking

Transformational Change Management

We live in an unprecedented time of change that will continue to increase at an unprecedented rate.  And the magnitude and complexity of these changes are growing.

Transformational changes are those that require a complete overhaul of strategy, structure, processes, technology, and skills (e.g., digital transformation, grid modernization, mergers and acquisitions). These transformations require a creative, agile, proactive mindset and a whole system approach to achieve long-term goals.

Why is a whole system approach so vital?

  • Organizations are living systems. And just like a human body with its respiratory, circulatory, digestive, muscular, and nervous systems, each organizational system is vital to achieving a culture that can thrive and continuously improve.
  • Each organizational system impacts all the others. They must link, align, and move forward in lockstep with one another for the organization to achieve its desired future state.
  • A whole-system approach provides leadership with a strategic lens for assessing, identifying, and understanding what is happening within the organization that collectively creates its way of operating.

Many whole-system models have been used for years to support large-scale organizational change. Given the ever-changing world we now live in, the Leadership System—how leaders show up and drive transformation—is the most vital of all. Leaders are the central driving force for continually assessing, designing, and aligning the other five organizational systems—Business Strategy, Work, People, Climate, and Business Results.

  • The Leadership system defines the strategic direction and priorities needed to lead and align the organization through transformational change. Leaders have to create a clear and compelling vision that spells out the desired future state so that all employees clearly understand the reasons for change and why the future state vision is essential for organizational success.
  • Leaders build the Business Strategy system by assessing each organizational system and determining actions to achieve the future state vision within each system. This work includes prioritizing business strategies, building effective decision-making processes, and working across the organization to execute the long-term vision and business strategy.
  • The Work system includes the processes and business and technology systems necessary to execute the strategy and get the work done. Effectively aligning the work system to organizational change requires the continual design and redesign of the hard structure—groupings, reporting relationships, roles—and soft structure—the social architecture that provides the connections between people and groups to manage cross-functional collaboration.
  • The People system ensures you have the right talent in the right place to drive success. Driving success requires understanding the skills and capabilities people need to perform their work, establishing performance measures and incentives to achieve organizational objectives, establishing a high-performance culture, and building the right capacity to manage the change.
  • The Climate system is the mechanism through which leaders establish a high-performance culture by articulating and reinforcing a shared set of guiding principles and clear behavioral expectations. Setting and achieving high performance standards requires providing employees with authority, freedom, and accountability to continuously improve processes, systems, and skills. To be most effective, organizations must build the ongoing capacity to lead change from the top-down, bottom-up, and middle-out.
  • The Business Results system is responsible for building a balanced scorecard and a strategic measurement approach to ensure the organization achieves both the hard results (e.g., financial) and the soft results (e.g., customer satisfaction, culture change, leadership, employee capability development) that ensure organizational success.
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