Stories of Change

Technology triggered organizational transformation

Where?  A large Indian metal manufacturer

Why ?

Very large changes in global technology and the competitive landscape meant that the organization’s survival depended on being able to successfully execute a transformation that would leave no corner of the organization untouched. The new technology needed just one third of their current manpower (for similar volumes) and required a different organizational design, and people skills. It also required a large cultural transformation to become agile and customer responsive.

How ?

In what was to be one of the largest organizational transformation exercises in the country, the process began with board approval. The articulation of the change vision itself was done by inviting people across the organization to articulate their hopes for the organization. A professional agency handled an intense internal communication campaign that used catchy slogans, videos, posters, and story telling to generate confidence.

The MD addressed multiple forums to share why this was a time to transform or perish. Professors from a nearby and respected business school were appointed as advisors. They regularly collected feedback from different stakeholders—particularly at the grassroots to help sensitize the leadership.

A parallel change organization was created to manage the entire change process. The strategy was one of step by step, humanistic change. Change agents received preparation in leading change.

A grass-roots ideation process was launched that involved every person in the organization. People contributed ideas and suggestions that were visible to them based on their particular role. No suggestion was too “minor” to be recorded.

Large scale separations did take place. They were managed however in a very humane way with large financial payouts and re-skilling for those impacted. The organization received no negative press at a national level despite this.

After a sustained focus for about five years, the organization achieved its financial targets, it had acquired a global cost leadership position and had completely transformed the organization through very skillful management of the change process.