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Welcome back to TST, Troubleshooters! Thanks for spending this time with us today as we continue our series on Change Management 101; this time on managing organizational change successfully. 

Just as a quick recap, we began the series by talking about what change management is and some of the challenges involved in implementing transformative change in an organization. In Part 2, we looked at the Top 6 Reasons why most organizational change programs fail. Last week in Part 3, we summed up Kotter’s 8 steps for effective change management, and today, in our final segment, we’ll dig into the McKinsey influence model of organizational change management.

The McKinsey influence model of organizational change management

The McKinsey influence model of OCM was originally presented in a 2003 article in the McKinsey Quarterly called “The psychology of change management.” As with the Kotter model, the premise of the McKinsey model is that people will resist change for various psychological reasons, and that to implement change successfully in an organization, you must take certain actions to overcome or work around these psychological realities. As they say in their article, successful change depends on “persuading hundreds or thousands of groups and individuals to change the way they work.”

According to McKinsey & Co., there are three levels of change that a company can effect. The first is straightforward and doesn’t involve changing the way employees work (e.g., divesting assets to focus on a core business). The second is adjusting employee mind-sets within their existing behaviors (e.g., an already “lean” company encouraging staff to find more ways to reduce waste). The third and most complex is to fundamentally change an entire corporate culture. In this case, it is likely that CEOs will have to use a program that combines all known psychological motivators to achieve change.

The McKinsey influence model identifies four conditions necessary for a large-scale change of employees’ mind-sets, perceptions, and actions:

  1. Fostering understanding and conviction.

The person understands why they are being asked to make the change, and it makes sense to them. It works on the psychological principle of congruence, i.e., people unconsciously want their beliefs and actions to align. If they truly understand and believe in a change, their actions will follow suit.

  1. Reinforcing change through formal mechanisms.

Internal corporate structures, processes, and policies support the change, and employees can see it. It works because consequences such as rewards or punishment shape people’s behavior (think Pavlov’s dog—that’s reinforcement). This may sound obvious, but it is very important to reward the correct behavior (instead of rewarding A while hoping for B).

  1. Developing talent and skills.

Employees are confident in their ability to learn new skills and have a sense of control and competence. It works because people are far more willing to change if 1) they believe it is possible and 2) they believe it will improve their performance. A tried and true training program will satisfy both of these criteria. In manufacturing, you can develop talent and skills through computer-based simulation training for electrical troubleshooting. A modular learning approach like Simutech Multimedia’s lets trainees master a concept before progressing to the next level, and uses elements of gamification to motivate users. It’s a proven system that will equip trainees to diagnose and repair electrical faults in manufacturing equipment efficiently and safely. Upgrading their skill set gives employees a sense of worth, confidence, and accomplishment that will help them cope with the changes being asked of them.

  1. Role modeling.

Employees see their leaders and colleagues acting appropriately. People often copy the behavior of those they see around them, particularly if the role models are influential. This doesn’t necessarily mean they hold positions of authority; it just means they have the power of influencing those around them. Groups may have more power to influence than individuals. That’s why Kotter’s second step is “build the guiding team” using influencers. If team members are seen doing the desired actions, many others will mimic their behavior.

As you can see, both the McKinsey & Co. and the Kotter models (and many others) work to persuade people it’s a good idea to change by overcoming their natural psychological objections to change. By removing the psychological barriers, manufacturing executives can make the process of transformative change go more smoothly.

If your business is facing a change—whether you’re planning to scale up, or you’re seeing challenges from the competition—managing that change effectively will give you the best chance of success. Whichever model you use, you’ll need to come up with a communication plan, resistance management plan, and a staff development plan. 

Workforce training and development

Training your staff in some way will definitely be required. Manufacturing equipment upgrades mean state-of-the-art, interconnected smart machines. They’ll be embedded with sensors churning out data that will find you efficiencies and reduce waste, but the downside is, they’ll be much more complex to diagnose and repair because of all the electrical components. It’s critical to upskill your maintenance personnel so that they don’t waste precious time using trial and error to find the source of equipment failure. Highly complex manufacturing machinery can be intimidating even for very experienced maintenance professionals—training them to find and repair electrical faults quickly, efficiently, and safely is one more way to help them embrace the change.

If your manufacturing organization is facing change, it must be intelligently managed to increase your chances for success. Make sure you use every tool at your disposal, and that electrical troubleshooting training is part of your plan.

And that’s it for this Thursday, Troubleshooters! Tune in again next week when we begin our new series on performance management.

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