Sebastian Walter: Cascading Corporate Change

A workshop-driven process can build commitment to change-management efforts.


Sebastian Walter: Cascading Corporate Change

Large-scale transformations at companies often encounter pockets of resistance. Sebastian Walter, an expert vice president in Bain's Results Delivery® practice, outlines how a workshop-driven process can build commitment to change-management efforts throughout all levels of the organization.

Read the Managing Change blog: Cascading Corporate Change—How to Engage Your Team in Transformation

Read the transcript below.

SEBASTIAN WALTER: It's very common in large change programs for transformations that despite great communication, there are relevant pockets of resistance in an organization. And it's just unclear to what extent the organization will come along and help pulling through and execute.

So the question is what to do in order to inform the organization, to commit the organization, and ideally also get some feedback from the organization for potential course corrections.

A very lean and smart way which we have seen is to run a workshop-driven cascade. The way this works is that you design a workshop in a box, and literally it can be a physical box. And it's based on the guidelines and the rules, or the new strategies, set by the executive board. It's one for all complemented by videos, interactive elements, cardboards, et cetera.

And then you roll out this workshop. You give it to every team leader and you roll it out level by level by level. And team leaders are running this, moderating this workshop with their teams. Now what they do is they ask their teams and discuss with their teams what does this mean for us in our environment? And do we have any specific feedback?

And by this, the content becomes very tailored. You allow the teams to internalize it, and to really get an understanding, and to get ownership on what that means for them. You typically would have the team leaders moderating this entirely on their own. So there's no HR or consulting support. They're just prepared with a moderator's guide. And we've seen this creating tremendous ownership.

The benefits of this is first, it's a very lean process. Second, it creates tremendous ownership and commitment. And third, you make the middle management an ally because by asking them to moderate and teach it, they have to internalize all the content. They will really go deep, and they will stand up in front of their teams and defend the change, which is tremendously increasing the engagement in the organization.

Read the Managing Change blog

Cascading Corporate Change: How to Engage Your Team in Transformation

An engaged organization is one of the most important elements of achieving any corporate ambition.


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Change Management is a service mark of Bain & Company, Inc.