What is it like to guide a big company through an agile transformation? Which challenges does change hold, on an individual and an organisational level? What makes it challenging, and what makes it worth it? We recently had a chat with two of our younger Transformation Consultants to find out exactly that.
First things first. Let’s meet our changemakers.
Dustin Nguyen is Transformation Consultant at ProjectiveGroup since August 2021 and started his consultancy career at Euroclear.
Ellen Delagrange is Business Consultant at ProjectiveGroup since October 2022, and is also working on a change management project at Euroclear.
Before you can think about changing the world, you need to think about changing yourself.
To a certain extent, change is a natural part of our day-to-day reality. Some changes, however, are a little bigger, and pose some challenges. Think about starting a new job. This means:
- Getting used to a new environment
- Familiarising yourself with new work process
- Building new relationships
- Responding to and meeting new expectations
For some, these challenges are thrilling, while for others it’s just plain stressful. But why is change so challenging? Because humans are creatures of habit. A big change, like starting a new job, means you can no longer rely on old patterns. This requires more effort and can come with a sense of loss of control, uncertainty and maybe even a threat to your identity.
What about change on an organisational level?
A big company is essentially a group of individuals, that are structured in a specific way and are working together towards a specific goal. So, an Agile transformation brings similar challenges to the organisation as the ones an individual has when starting a new job.
- Agile brings new roles, and new expectations within that role
- Employees need to adapt to a new way of working and learn new skills
- As you start collaborating with different teams, you need to build new relationships
A big company is essentially a group of individuals, that are structured in a specific way and are working together towards a specific goal.
The big difference is that with individual change, you’re pretty much in charge. But in an organisation, change is implemented from a strategic level. On an operational level, you just have to go with it. A second struggle is communication. Though it’s extremely difficult to cascade information in an effective and timely manner, it’s essential to ensure efficient collaboration.
So yes, change is difficult, and an organisational transformation comes with an additional set of challenges. But the good news is that is that change is a process. And those organisational challenges can also be dealt with by taking it step by step and strategizing the change.
The good news is that is that change is a process.
The challenges of being a (transformation) consultant
Be forewarned, because there are some specific struggles that come with being a transformation consultant at a big company.
- Some people in the client organisation may see you as an external person in a rather negative way and use this as an excuse to simply neglect your ideas. Bear in mind that it’s good that you bring in a new and fresh perspective. It just might take some effort to install that credibility and connection into the client company.
- On the other side of the spectrum, there can be people at the client organisation who have massive expectations. They see you as the silver bullet that will come in and resolve all the issues, all at once. But that’s not the case, it takes time.
- Because of those expectations, you might find yourself with limited resources. Ellen and Dustin can count their team members on the fingers of one hand, though they’re responsible for implementing change in the entire organisation.
- The company culture at the client might be very different than what you’re used to. You need to learn again how to behave for optimal results.
- With any transformation project, there are many stakeholders to manage. It can be difficult to figure out who you can talk to about what. And then there are some stakeholders that are simply resistant to change and can be quite defensive. It might take some effort to gain their trust and make them comply to what needs to be done.
But it’s worth it
You might be thinking: yikes, that doesn’t sound like fun at all! But here’s the thing. It’s true that nobody likes change, and at first you will most likely be met with some scrutiny. Change is very challenging, but it’s such a good learning experience. You may need some patience to see your impact on the client organisation, but once you do, it’s very rewarding. That’s why Dustin and Ellen would like to encourage you to induce change and keep growing.
Change is more than an option; it has become a necessity. The key to a successful digital transformation is the ability to translate technology to the human measure & connection.
ProjectiveGroup covers all aspects of transformation in the financial services sector. By combining the capabilities of expert companies, we have become an international end-to-end partner for those who want to excel in an ever-changing environment.
We shape businesses today to meet and exceed the challenges of tomorrow.