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Delivering complex hybrid transformation

As we continue with our transition to returning to the office and improving our hybrid working options the Marlowe leadership team have been debating what this means for programme teams delivering complex change and the impact on people who may still be working remotely.

Think back to just over two years ago and that moment when you were charged with addressing a problem or solving a challenge.

You’d gather your team in a newly commandeered room in the office. You’d probably order in a swathe of post it notes and A1 paper to draw out what needed to happen by when and by who. You’d identify all the people directly impacted by the change and those indirectly impacted who would need different messages. Maybe you’d all come together into that room each day and share progress, identify issues, address the unexpected and report to the leadership team accordingly.

But we’re not two years ago. We’re in a world of hybrid working that is looking likely to stay for the foreseeable future and as the people who lead change, we must adapt our practices. Transformation – be it cultural, technological, or organisational – has become even more challenging than it was pre-pandemic.

It was hard enough to deliver change when everyone was in the office but at least then we could organise engagement meetings and town halls, often sending our leadership teams out to deliver messages and address questions head-on whilst also being available immediately after for questions, floor-walking and 1:1 meetings. We’d have the SMEs on hand to run workshops, lunch and learns and in the case of organisational design the HR teams would all be sat ready to undertake a 1:1 meeting when required.

Today we need to consider how to inform and engage office-based and remote workers, which is particularly challenging if a message needs to be delivered simultaneously to all.

What has remained true is that it is the role of the programme leadership team to deliver change successfully – from setting the vision to establishing goals and milestones and then supporting people with difficult changes.

The two key challenges we see are:

Firstly, how to keep your programme team engaged and informed and ensure the transformation is run to plan; and secondly, how to ensure that the people impacted by the change are receiving the news equally and have the opportunity to feed back.

We believe there are five key elements that programme managers need to consider when delivering complex hybrid transformation.

1) Have a clear narrative

Consistent use of messaging is even more vital when the programme team is not together. Make sure you’re being clear and consistent on the why, how and what of the change.

2) Have a multi-channel strategy

Make sure you’re thinking about how you’re running your team together. Some may be in the office, some may not – how are you ensuring that all inputs are being collated?

3) Consider the tools you use

Think about using digital tools such as Mural or Miro. They’re a digital alternative to the war room and allow for interactive use and updates amongst your project team.

4) Leadership effectiveness

Make sure you have change leaders who can deliver the often-complex messages and understand how to engage and support their teams through change. Consider giving change leadership training to your leaders and managers.

5) Feedback loops

When it comes to delivering change to employees remember that as well as a communications plan you need a listening plan for when you can’t see people face to face and gauge their reactions.

We work with multiple clients in the public and private sector who have all faced the challenge of ‘going hybrid’. With over 30 years of business change experience, we are adept at adapting! Please do speak to us if you would like to know more about how to adapt as a programme team in this new world.

About Marlowe

Marlowe Consulting specialises in business change and change communications to support organisations who are undergoing transformational, technological, and cultural change.

Please contact us to see how we can support you with your change requirements.

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