Change Management Case Studies

Change Management Case Studies: Below is a small sample of client successes in the area of change management, coaching, Mission and Vision Development, knowledge management and performance improvement.

  • Culture Change and Superior Performance
  • Learning Needs Assessment
  • Transition Strategy
  • Organizational Knowledge Management
  • Corporate Mission and Vision Development
  • Current and Future Organization Assessment
  • Training and Coaching Strategy


1. Change Management Case Studies: Culture Change and Superior Performance


The challenge from the client: Due to a more intensely competitive environment and industry the client is experiencing a mismatch between the way the organisation needs to operate and the culture that exists within to support this way of working. There was therefore a need to look carefully at elements of the culture that should be retained and built upon and those which needed to be influenced and changed over time.


We found that change is most effective when organizations understand their current and desired culture states. Our change model is based on practices of HROs (highly reliable organizations) in sectors with complex operations such as healthcare and nuclear energy. These organizations follow proven methodologies because human errors can have potentially catastrophic consequences. The comprehensive approach integrates process and human dimensions of change.


Generally the new culture needed to support:

  • A strategy that was more connected with the market place and reflective of consumer needs and desires
  • A greater degree of engagement from the staff towards this strategy
  • Clear performance standards and the organisations ability to meet them consistently
  • A greater degree of team orientation and integration between the various functions of the organisation


The approach we took


A model of culture that correlates strongly with organisational performance was used and the whole organisation benchmarked against it. The results were then used to identify the gaps in culture overall, but also where sub-cultures existed, whether for good or for bad.


The results were then fed back to all staff in small functionally based focus groups and senior management group who then drew up a clear process for moving the overall culture forward, but also establishing local action plans within the various functions of the organisation. Action plans were then built and are to this day currently being delivered on with some very clear measurement and performance criteria to evaluate.


The results delivered

Tangible and identifiable shifts in behaviours and attitudes are being seen which align towards a more focused, pragmatic and performance orientated approach with the organisation agenda dominating political ones which is a big step forward for the client a re-survey using the culture model is now planned to check progress.


2. Learning Needs Assessment

Objective: To educate staff and management on change and to assess their ability to adapt to a new environment including a major increase in workload, increased use of technology, use of teleworking and organizational change and to find solutions and evaluate possible organizational and learning models.



Meet with management to confirm objectives and leadership strategy and to discover the reasons driving the timing of this exercise. To facilitate a retreat to meet these objectives and advise management on implementation strategies.



During the retreat we devised a number of solutions to pressing learning processes, operational problems and uncovered a number of serious knowledge gaps and structural issues for which we found possible solutions. More importantly our process allowed staff to be involved in the learning needs assessment, problem solving process and created much greater buy-in for the solutions for knowledge development and action.


3. Transition Strategy


Objective: To develop and implement a transition strategy for the Client to assume a much wider mandate and a tripling of their Human Resources and to coach the Management team.


Recommended strategy

A multi-step facilitated process which allowed Directors and employees to discover their own reactions, emotional and otherwise to the change, to realize its advantages and disadvantages personally and professionally and to express their concerns and aspirations. Directors then developed their collective vision of the future organization and statement of its implications in terms of priorities for action in the following format:

Plans. A strategic direction for Communication planning and operational plans to put this in place.

Processes. Articulate work processes, particularly those which involve several divisions and undertake process reviews to gain efficiencies and to decide to provide or procure the service or product.

People. Investments to enhance the skills and knowledge of employees and where and on what basis reductions will be carried out.   Clarify and communicate employees’ roles with respect to processes.  Establish good rapport with clients at all levels.

Principles. Build an atmosphere of trust and respect based on a number of principles.



Following several Divisional and Branch facilitated meetings the Directors implemented the strategy and set up a series of transition measures to review progress as well as a transition management team and an overall communication mechanism.  This process is still ongoing.


4. Organizational Knowledge Management

Background: The organization had a skills trade and knowledge networks project linked to the Technical and Manufacturing Skills Learning Program. The organization needed to manage the human change associated with this learning initiative to mitigate risks in terms of stakeholder engagement, adoption and performance sustainability.


Insight: The industry is undergoing severe aging of its work force and imminent mass retirement. As a result, a lack of formal skills transfer process from aging workforce is aggravating the problem. There are gaps in knowledge and skills training and perception barriers exist to education attainment. Moreover, learning is currently intermittent and does not provide for an informal learning setting. The organization required full engagement of its executives in the developing the skills and knowledge development programs and change management process to make the project a success.


Analysis: We learned that 20% of knowledge is acquired in formal (instructor to people) settings, while 80% of knowledge is acquired in informal (people to people) settings. To this end, market research was conducted with stakeholders, board members, employees, HR managers and the work force in one-on-one interviews and focus groups. Existing professional development, competencies and certification systems were studiedl. It was noted that recognized universities do not offer a formal degree in teh related industry.  In addition, an analysis was conducted to evaluate options for a value proposition, brand and communication strategy. Arcus focused on development of a sector model and a framework to engage the workforce of over 100 member companies and developed a change management strategy that will result in short term benefits for the project and long term benefits for the organization at large.


Deliverables produced: The strategy included a design to help the organization excel at managing change; providing a common learning framework that will engage employees at every level, complimented by comprehensive support materials and consultancy support. The approach was refreshingly practical and pragmatic without being overly prescriptive and without the bureaucracy that haunts many methodologies. The strategy includes incentives for certification attainment and alliances with universities for credits for courses completed.

The engagement strengthened on ongoing communication and a change management plan for ROI implementation. Additional input was provided for a web-based learning and knowledge networks, infrastructure development, project management and solution implementation services.


5. Corporate Mission and Vision Development

Objective: To develop a vision for the future of this division and an action plan to achieve this vision.

Recommendations and actions: Initial meeting with management staff to develop a strategy to meet this objective, to determine an efficient communication strategy within the division and to manage employee expectations. Facilitation of an all staff meeting to develop the vision and the plan.

Results: In the process of developing a vision and an action plan, we uncovered a series of critical issues which had to be resolved in order to make the vision possible. Given the nature of these issues which were beyond the authority of the division, they were raised to senior management for resolution which in turn precipitated a rethinking of the nature and mandate of this division and subsequently its vision for the future.


6. Current and Future Organization Assessment


  • to understand the current and future business environment
  • to describe the preferred future and to develop learning plans to get there
  • to solve current operational problems.

Recommendations and actions

  • Initial meetings with management to understand the context and timing of the requirement.
  • Use of a short survey to determine employee attitudes and to ascertain their learning concerns.
  • Development of a communications plan for the intervention and a process for a 2 day retreat.
  • Facilitation of the retreat and advice to management on follow-up strategies.


We resolved a number of operational problems and developed a vision and an action plan based on the study of the salient factors in the environment. Moreover, we succeeded in creating a strong employees buy-on and a high level of energy and motivation. Management followed-up on action items and I am facilitating the next retreat in a month’s time which will deal with major changes in the environment and the branch’s response to these.


7. Training and Coaching Strategy

This is a fairly new division in a Department which was recently created by bringing together sectors from other departments.  It has a very high public profile.  As a result there has been vast process and organizational change and a very heavy communication workload.  In order to relieve the management burden a new level of intermediate communications managers was created.

Objective: To develop and implement a training and coaching strategy for the new communications managers in order for them to understand their role, develop synergy between each other, acquire the knowledge skills and abilities to be successful and deal with the pressures of the environment.

Recommended strategy: A mix of courses and feedback sessions over a period of approximately 6 to 8 months providing knowledge and dealing with the skill sets required and allowing the new managers to build a team which has its vision, its terms of reference and its code of behaviour.  The strategy was aimed at equipping the managers with the tools necessary for their role and also to encourage them to build structures and relationships which would be useful to them and which would add value to the Directorate as a whole.   It was also important to build an atmosphere of trust and respect amongst them.

Results:  The program has now moved to the feedback and coaching session stage. Participants have developed their collective vision for their management team and have distilled this into terms of reference which they have presented to senior management.  The program will then move to the feedback and coaching phase which while require several more months of experience which can then be shared in several facilitated sessions aimed at identifying lessons learned collectively and individually.