Implementing Change – Building From Our Own Experiences

By M. John Saad

As we began planning our #ImplementingChangethatLasts series, we identified some of the key actions of leaders and organizations who successfully implemented lasting changes. During these discussions, I thought of our own, recent, Guidehouse transformation. As a long time management consultant, I’ve advised hundreds of clients through organizational, process, technology, and cultural changes; as the leader of our National Security Segment, I used that knowledge and experience to lead our segment and our Firm through transition, in collaboration with our partners and our Guidehouse leadership team.

Formed from the merger of the PwC Public sector consulting practice and Navigant, a commercial consulting firm, Guidehouse now provides consulting services to clients in both the commercial and government sectors in healthcare, financial services, energy & sustainability, national security, and aerospace & defense globally. We had the benefit of building from the strengths of our predecessor entities, including accomplished consultant experts and capabilities, but also the freedom to reimagine areas that were ripe for improvement and expansion. Recognizing and embracing this duality – “start up” mindset paired with long-term consulting experience and structures – set the stage for the growth and success we’ve experienced to date. 

Several key areas stood out as contributing to a successful transition approach that worked for our Segment.  

First, engaging our leadership team in co-creating our approach to achieving the organizations strategy was critical to not only developing something that works for us, but also to ensure that we own the approach, as a team.  

Second, emphasizing frequent employee communications and tailored employee engagement efforts designed to emphasize how our employees and their personal interests – including why they chose to work in this field – would be supported and advanced through this transition built buy in among our workforce. It also allowed us to have candid conversations with our employees who weren’t looking for this type of change and support them in mutually parting ways for the benefit of their career development, our clients, and our Firm’s reputation as a ”Great Place to Work”.

Additionally, hiring change agents and catalysts enabled us to infuse credibility, energy and enthusiasm to foster growth in new capabilities and mission areas.  

Finally – and critically important – assessing our progress against the milestones in our transition plans, making adjustments and communicating those results and decisions allowed us to evaluate our activities and our overall approach. We understood change is iterative and we were not afraid to adjust tactics along the way to implement the approach.

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