Client : An Asian Mining Company
The client was a multi-billion dollar mining company, with approximately 65,000 staff at the time of our engagement. Although the company’s core assets contained high quality ores, the cost of production was too high due to low productivity, combined with poor asset management and leakage of value. In addition, the organisation had a poor record for safety, which was becoming a significant issue with the involvement of western investors.
The company decided to embark on a major strategic change programme to improve productivity, reducing the unit cost of production, in parallel with a significant improvement in staff safety. The programme was expected to last several years. To limit the cost of the programme and to avoid cultural sensitivities, it was decided that the programme should be run predominantly with in-house staff. However, the board realised there were initially insufficient skills to do this.
We were engaged to mobilise the change programme and in parallel develop in-house capability to take over the running of the programme and to deliver the lasting business benefits set out in the original business case. The aim was to ensure a rapid start to the programme to achieve momentum, whilst developing the in-house change management capabilities to enable the client to proceed successfully on a self-sufficient basis.
Step 1: Due to the low levels of maturity in change management, the initial activity centred around developing a base level of skills within a small in-house team. This was achieved by developing and running a multi-day workshop with the core team members. The workshop developed critical skills in change management. It was run repeatedly to embed skills, with an ever wider group of participants to create a cascade of skills across the organisation.
Step 2: The core change management team, including a change management lead, were identified from the company’s high performing talent pool. Working with the change team, groups of experienced managers from the organisation’s operations, and a set of international mining subject matter experts, a series of rapid workshops were held to define the overall programme structure, identify work-streams, target timelines and goals. In parallel, a robust but lightweight and flexible set of governance, reporting and control mechanisms for the programme were devised and implemented.
Step 3: Following programme kick off, at first our experts ran change management, with members of the core internal team shadowing. After a few months the roles were reversed with the in-house staff taking primary accountability, and with our staff moving into advisory coaching roles. 6 months after programme kick off, our full time support was withdrawn. Periodic advisory and coaching support was made available from then on until a final hand over to the permanent in-house team a further 6 months later.
- A fully mobilised programme aligned to the strategic aims, with a clear approach, plan and resources.
- An established programme and change delivery capability, with embedded skills to deliver future projects.
- Reusable approaches and training materials tailored to the organisations context and levels of maturity.
- An internal group of coaches able to cascade change management skills across the organisation.
Delivery cost saving of : £8 million
A proposed external consulting team of 20 consultants for 2 years (blended day rate of £1,500 per day, 220 billable days per year), replaced by a team of 4 change capability consultants for 6 months + internal staff costs.
Quality of solution
In house staff will typically devise a better solution based on a deeper understanding of the details of operations, combined with sensitivity to the “givens” of an organisation. (Reduced risk of negative unintended consequences from change). Additionally, in house staff are more likely to be committed to the long term solution given they will actually live with the outcomes.
Staff motivation and alignment with organisation's values
Change programmes provide valuable opportunities for staff development. This has an intrinsic benefit, but additionally is motivational for high performing staff, and will align with any organisational values which stress the importance or value of the organisation’s own staff.
Improved internal capability
Faster and cheaper delivery of future initiatives. Greater organisational flexibility / agility. Improved future success rates in the delivery of complex change.