Change without line authority

Liz Cotgreave, Director of Business Transformation at Pearson, spoke eloquently on the topic of Leading Change without Line Authority at a recent Henley Business School event. Liz has been supporting Pearson to move in to the digital age and talked about the challenges of leading and influencing this change in a complex, global organisation with a matrix structure, including managing the inevitable tension between supporting successful legacy business models and processes, and new ways of working.

During her presentation Liz talked through her “Nine Commandments”:

  1. Have no ego – the change expert must be prepared to take on a number of different roles (often not glamorous!) in order to support the business change.
  2.  Listen & learn – two key behaviours for the change expert in order to build relationships, understand the situation and constantly find new and different ways to initiate and sustain change.
  3. Challenge well – another key behaviour is being able to challenge existing thoughts, behaviours and ways of working.
  4. Enlist change agents and support them – we enlist experts in all other areas of business including sales, marketing, HR, finance and law (the list goes on) so business change should be no different.
  5. Find proof fast – illicit examples, stories and other proof that things are changing, including what has worked and also what hasn’t.
  6. Ritualise continuous improvement – build a measurement process in to your change plan so that status is reviewed and new objectives are set.
  7. Be a loudspeaker for success – ensure that success, even when small, is broadcast throughout the business.
  8. Structure thinking workshops – brainstorm ideas with diverse groups from across the business. This involvement will help to ensure engagement and buy in and the best ideas often originate from the strangest places.
  9. Signpost and timeline decisions – this is crucial for people to know where they are in the “change journey” and where they are going, increasing clarity and probably also confidence in the plan.

What would be your tenth commandment? Please let us know.

Libby Ferguson
Consultant, Crelos