Helping you navigate your way through change
We have three core areas of expertise: Leadership & Culture, Sustainability, and Marketing & Communications. Many of our projects span all three.
Our projects range from large scale organisational change that benefits the entire organisation to strategic, operational or performance improvements in specific areas. Some projects are externally focused, helping clients to change the way they engage with customers, partners, influencers or other stakeholders. Others are more internal, helping to change the way that different parts of the business operate and interact.
But change never happens in a vacuum and the real issues or opportunities are rarely apparent at the outset. We help clients to navigate their way through change by looking not just at the problem but also the bigger picture.
We overcome organisational silos by having none of our own, together with a flexible, collaborative culture. This gives us a more imaginative perspective on narrow or short-term challenges and a broader, more considered view when tackling complex issues.
Leadership & Culture
Leadership and culture set the tone for your business and impact how decisions get made. They can be powerful tools in driving change, provided you recognise the strengths and weaknesses of where you are now, as well as what needs to change to get you where you want to be.
We have a deep understanding of the relationship between corporate values, principles, behaviour and culture. We draw on this to help leadership and project teams to anticipate and address all the key bridges and barriers to change.
More specifically, we work with clients to define new values, operating principles and desired behaviours and to embed them within the daily life and processes of the organisation.
We advise, coach and mentor leaders through change, helping them to re-think the nature of personal and collective leadership within their organisations and to lead more effectively.
We also use original research to challenge leaders’ assumptions and to help them to make better decisions. We provide a compelling platform for other views and ideas from inside and outside the business, and use our facilitation and mediation skills to re-frame the issues and build consensus.
Some examples of our work
Numerous studies from firms including McKinsey and IBM indicate that 70-80% of culture change programmes fail, largely due to a failure to engage the client’s own people or to tailor the work sufficiently to the client’s own business. We have worked successfully with fast-growing SMEs, established UK groups and big multinationals.
Barclays: Creating a new set of core values and behaviours in the wake of reputational crisis, fusing ‘bottom up’ insights and ideas from across the organisation with ‘top down’ thinking from the top 125 global leaders.
Connect Group: Working with multiple divisions and acquired businesses, employing 6,000 people, to create a new set of group-wide core values and behaviours and to embed them in the fabric of HR, from competency frameworks to performance management.
MasterCard: Developing a bespoke model for peak sales performance – from personal competencies and development needs, to sales processes and resources, to leadership style and wider corporate culture.
Sainsbury’s: A change management initiative to embed the company’s biggest ever IT investment and to revolutionise working practices across 30 operating units – moving from a range of legacy systems to a more seamless, integrated way of working.
Stora Enso: A multi-year project to create, develop and promote a cultural change programme for a newly merged business of 28,000 employees working in 35 countries. We also brokered a ground-breaking 5-year partnership with Unicef as a platform for employee engagement and volunteering in support of the company’s sustainability strategy.
Case history: Connect Group plc
Marketing & Communication
Communication is critical to the success of any organisation, and never more so than during a period of change. Yet many companies are still too reliant on top-down cascade communication and poor at aligning all the communications resources and channels at their disposal.
We can advise you how to make better use of communication to drive business outcomes, and how best to engage any or all of your stakeholder groups in the process of change. We also work with corporate and internal communications teams to strengthen their capability and effectiveness.
Our marketing excellence work helps companies to become genuinely more customer-centric or marketing-led. Often this is less about upgrading the capability of the marketing function per se and more about improving the way that marketing works with other parts of the business.
We will uncover the key factors which drive or hinder sales or marketing excellence, whether human, structural, procedural or cultural. We then develop practical, affordable action plans to drive necessary change and enhance performance with a focus on smarter use of your existing resources.
Some examples of our work
Many companies aspire to ‘world class’ marketing or communications, or to be truly ‘customer-driven’. At Change Agency, we take a ‘whole system’ approach, examining a wide range of forces that may inhibit or enable better performance and proposing alternative ideas and pragmatic solutions, many at low/no cost. Here are some examples.
3M: A 9 month programme to develop a ‘highest common denominator’ blueprint for marketing excellence across 36 operating businesses in 6 clusters – including an overhaul of the career ladder, changes to performance appraisal, new learning and development initiatives and community building.
Xerox: Working to raise performance while reducing costs and headcount across Xerox’s European sales and marketing operations, with the emphasis on low cost solutions which could be driven or delivered in-house, with minimal reliance on external consultants or suppliers (ourselves included).
Diageo: Facilitating a root-and-branch review of how the company’s marketers worked with their suppliers across marketing disciplines, brands and markets worldwide – based on annual marketing agency fees of over £100m and a marketing spend of over £1bn.
Quintiles: Driving greater customer-centricity at the world’s leading pharmeutical consulting organization, with over 23,000 employees worldwide – based on redefining the operating model for marketing and re-negotiating working relationships with business lines and markets.
Jonathan Obermeister on marketing excellence
Tim Johns on communication challenges for leaders
Our work as consultants and directors provides ample evidence that economic, social and environmental sustainability is best achieved through effective partnerships and cross-sector co-operation.
Our strategic planning work with some of the world’s leading non-profit organisations and multi-stakeholder initiatives has enabled us to develop a wide range of consultancy services ranging from long range planning and effective governance to business modelling and income generation.
Our expertise equips us to work with government agencies, foundations and the corporate sector as well as with multi-sector initiatives to drive lasting improvements though supply chains. Clients use Change Agency to gather impartial stakeholder opinion, quantify objectives, identify opportunities, develop operational plans and form effective partnerships. We also initiated original research into MSI financial performance which provides a unique insight into what is achievable in this sector.
Our methodologies also make our work in sustainability valuable for donors and governments in identifying strong partners, assuring effective collaboration and evaluating performance.
In the private sector, we combine our skills in sustainability and culture change to advise companies and governments on policy and practice, employee engagement, stakeholder accountability and impact assessment.
Some examples of our work
Change Agency has helped a wide range of sustainability initiatives and other non-profits address major challenges and opportunities and achieve successful outcomes by applying a mix of appreciative inquiry, research and analysis, strategic planning and mediation skills. Here are a few examples. We would be happy to tell you more about any of them.
Better Cotton Initiative: Global strategic plan 2012 – 2015 and country plans for priority countries for this exceptionally successful initiative to improve the social, environmental and economic impacts of the world’s most widely grown crop.
ISEAL Alliance: Strategic Plan and business model for the global membership organisation for sustainability standards, funded by the Packard Foundation.
4C Coffee Association: Delivery and operational plans for the global multi-stakeholder association which is building a sustainable coffee sector and provides the collaboration platform to address critical sustainability issues affecting coffee growing communities.
Alliance for Water Stewardship: Strategic plan, funded by German government agency GIZ, for the global organisation responsible for the global standard which outlines the expectations of responsible water stewardship.
C&A Foundation: Strategic planning and business modelling for two initiatives supported by the foundation: the Organic Cotton Accelerator and the Water Footprint Network.
Barry Clarke on governance vs management
Simon Cooper on working with people in sustainability