Our client, a well-known broadcast media company was facing tough strategic decisions about how to respond to disruption in the sector. Multiple low-cost competitors and online entertainment channels like YouTube, Facebook and Apple have transformed the media marketplace, forcing traditional media businesses to reinvent themselves, reduce costs and innovate to retain their audience and advertising revenue. These forces call for rapid, transformational change – impacting people, processes, operating models and technology at once.
One of the first strategic steps our client took was to modernise technology hardware and software and consolidate their property footprint to reduce costs. Subsequently there would be operating model changes with high impact to employees and risk to operational productivity. With financial performance on a knife-edge, employee engagement at risk and a nine-figure investment to complete the program over several years, the risk of failure was high. Implementation of the changes had to be planned with precision to keep things on track, to retain support of their talented employees and to minimise disruption to customer service.
Blue Seed Consulting was engaged to complete a Change Diagnostic to turbo-charge the client’s change program, establishing clear direction, structure and certainty in just four weeks. Within this period Blue Seed consulted business leaders, subject matter experts and the program team to devise a change strategy and recommendations to propel the change process.
One of the key challenges was how to inspire and engage employees in a program primarily aimed at cost-reduction. In our experience, the term ‘cost-reduction’ alone can create fear and disdain for management. While the sponsor and program manager told us, cost-cutting was the main driver, Blue Seed dug deeper to reframe the change, simply by asking: “What will cost reduction help you achieve?”
The answers were more compelling and likely to motivate employees to act or at least empathise with the exec team’s strategy:
- “Reducing costs will enable us to deliver better value to our customers”
- “We need to do this to stay in business and remain competitive”
- “Cutting edge companies use cutting edge technology and efficient processes and services. This change will reposition us as Australia’s cutting-edge media company.”
As part of the Change Diagnostic Blue Seed also developed a comprehensive program change strategy and assessed the organisation and the change program against our Nine Critical Change Success Factors.
Blue Seed aligned all business and program leaders to the key messages to ensure they delivered a consistent understanding of the reason for the change across the workforce. As a result, many employees responded with excitement about the prospect of re-inventing the organisation and advancing it to a respected market leadership position as a top Aussie brand. A big shift from the fear-inducing cost-reduction message.
In addition, because Blue Seed consulted and aligned all leaders to program change needs and messaging, the leadership group felt a sense of confidence and certainty about the success of the program. They were equipped with the understanding and tools they needed to lead change in their business units.
With an aligned leadership team, a clear change strategy and a supportive workforce, the risks of failure were mitigated. The likelihood of realising the cost-savings and competitive advantage of the program were now very high.