Purpose

Becoming a Changemaker

Create a compelling vision for the future, forge a winning path through experimentation and adaptation, and convert your stakeholders into partners on the change journey.

The case for becoming a changemaker

When COVID-19 flipped the switch on business and completely changed the way we got things done, businesses stepped up to the challenge and created innovative ways to work, interact, and solve problems amongst teams. And the people who helped bring that metamorphosis to fruition were the change makers – employees who feel personally inspired to push change and transformation forward to get things done.

A global survey of more than 6,500 employees and 100 CHROs has revealed that the best organizations rely on their workforce — and not only executives — to lead change. This:

  • Increases success from 34 percent to 58 percent.
  • Decreases implementation time by 33 percent.
  • Increases employee engagement by 38 percent.
  • Increases employees’ intent to stay by 46 percent.

This approach of driving change through the workforce reduces the gap in understanding between the C-suite and an entry-level employee to a mere 3 percent (down from 31 percent in a traditional top-down approach).

Sources: Reuters, “Changing Change Management,” Gartner

70 percent C-suite executives do not feel confident about their organization’s ability to pivot/adapt to disruptive events.

75 percent organizations expect to multiply their major change initiatives in the next three years.

Yet, 50 percent change initiatives fail and only 34 percent are a clear success.

Only 18 percent of multinational companies report having a strong global leadership pipeline to meet future business challenges.

Sources: Deloitte’s 2021 Global Resilience Report, “Changing Change Management,” Gartner, Harvard Business School

Behaviours learned

  • Develop a compelling change vision
  • Create a change agenda and change roadmap
  • Experiment, adapt, learn, and optimize the change journey
  • Influence key stakeholders
  • Resolve conflicts in a positive manner
  • Energize people to go on the change journey
  • Shift mindsets and behaviors to catalyze change in people

Core ideas

Frame it as a Hero’s journey

Achieving any significant change is never easy. It requires toil, sacrifice, risk-taking, behavior change, patience, and courage. Frame it as a hero’s journey to energize the people who are leading and supporting the change program.

Separate the core from the tactics

Distinguish between the core elements of your change agenda — the non-negotiable goal — and the tactics that you can flexibly experiment with and change as you learn your way to success. Your purpose should be steady, but your path can evolve.

Appeal to the heart, not just the mind

There is often significant resistance to change because it upends “business as usual” by challenging and uprooting past habits, beliefs, structures, rhythms, hierarchies, and sense of stability. Changemaking requires keen attunement to others’ perceptions and priorities, and a way to appeal not just to their reason but also their feelings.

Experiment, learn, adapt

There are always unknowns on the path to change. So you have to constantly experiment, learn, and adapt along the way.

Extract value from every attempt

When a change program hits a dead end, don’t view it as a monolithic failure. Extract from it partial wins, valuable learnings, and useful assets that can be repurposed when you are ready to take an alternative path, or pursue change at another time, or go after a reformulated goal.

Modulate the pace and direction

You will encounter headwinds on the path to change, and when you do, you need to know when to push, when to pull back, when to pause and when to pivot (in a new direction).

TAKE SMALL STEPS

Break down the change goal into stages and focus on achieving progress in small steps when it isn’t possible to achieve it in big leaps.

Build bridges

Strive to win over detractors and resistors by understanding the root causes of their resistance, honoring their roles and contributions, finding common ground with them, and seeking to draw out the best in them.

ACCENTURE CASE STUDY

How organizations can develop changemakers

Context

Change-making is at the very center of Accenture’s approach to business value creation. Realizing that change-making is hard, Accenture partnered with Mentora to equip their leadership with a practical toolkit that would help them plan, execute, and lead change, starting at the individual level, from within, and then moving to the team, organizational, and ultimately, community levels.

Program

Accenture enrolled a set of Managing Directors and Senior Managers in Mentora’s Being a Changemaker program to drive change and become skilled in:

  • Envisioning a better future
  • Finding a winning path from the present to the future
  • Inspiring change — both in themselves and in others

This carefully curated learning journey was based on Mentora’s  Inner Mastery, Outer Impact approach to drive change from the inside-out, and to equip participants with a unique skill-set in:

  • Creating an inspiring vision for change.
  • Defining a clear change agenda.
  • Making tough choices, when needed.
  • Identifying and eliminating risks.
  • Motivating people.
  • Managing conflict.
  • Influencing key stakeholders.

Delivery

Mentora uses a blended approach to deliver this ongoing program:

  • Pre-reflection, which includes participants selecting a change goal or project, within Accenture or with a client, that they would like to work on during their learning journey
  • Live webinars with Mentora faculty
  • A self-paced digital learning program with practice exercises
  • Opportunities to transfer their learnings to real life

Impact

This program was a strong success in terms of behavior change and impact. We also learned that some MDs and Senior Managers are much more invested in a digital journey, and others need a more live-workshop format. The results below are from those MDs and Senior Managers who moved through the digital learning journey to complete the program.

100 percent of participants found the program to be very or extremely valuable.

87 percent participants rated the live webinars to be very or extremely valuable.

75 percent found the different forms of digital practice very helpful in practicing and applying the tools and techniques in this course.

Participants’ have shown an increased likelihood and ability to practice the following behaviors:

Behaviour % LIKELY TO
PRACTICE THIS BEFORE THE PROGRAM
% LIKELY TO PRACTICE THIS AFTER THE PROGRAM
Create a compelling vision about the change I want to bring. 67% 100%
Define my change agenda in a way that helps me anchor in what is core and unchanging in my strategy, but also leaves room to experiment with different tactics until I find the right ones. 50% 100%
Reflect on identifying key unknowns and anticipating possible setbacks I may face along the way. 67% 83%
Make a balanced and deliberative (wise) choice between pushing my agenda forward, pulling it back, pausing on my agenda, or pivoting in a new direction, as the situation demands 67% 83%
Influence stakeholders and gain their buy-in 50% 67%
Take note of my and my team's mindset and, where needed, switch from a self-defeating mindset to one that will maximize performance 33% 100%
Move from conflict to collaboration in difficult interactions 33% 50%
Be able to drive change in myself and others 33% 50%
Participant Voices

This program will have a positive impact on our performance and business now that we are more equipped on setting our change agenda. In addition, the knowledge and tools from this program (e.g. motivating our people, managing conflict, expressing ourselves thoughtfully, etc.) can help us improve our collaboration with our team and stakeholders.

Executive | Accenture

Participant Voices

The program gave practical tips on how to navigate a journey of change — starting it, managing conflicts, influencing stakeholders, and inspiring people. As I was going through the program, I was able to identify current project situations where I can apply these learnings, or help me think of options to tackle a problem.

Executive | Accenture