25 February 2020
Our two-day masterclass aimed at middle and senior managers in private, public, and non-profit organisations will take place at the University of Edinburgh Business School this November, led by John Amis, Professor of Strategic Management.
Over coffee, he explained why strategic change is a vital skill:
"Starbucks is a great example of how managers embraced a shift in direction. When the financial crisis hit in 2008, it was forced to close almost 1,000 shops, but by actively encouraging feedback from customers and staff it was able to focus on quality, and develop a community of like-minded baristas and coffee drinkers. This eventually put its growth back on track, and it now has 300,000 staff at 28,000 locations.
"Then there's Netflix. A household name today, but not that long ago it was a simple DVD rental service. Its decision to embrace online viewing was seen as a bold move at the time and it was a rough ride to start, but look at the influence it now enjoys.
"Strategic change can come about in different ways, from decisive action during a crisis to making a small but significant shift through words of advice and encouragement. Whether it's a rallying speech to a large audience, or a one-to-one chat over coffee, the most effective change-makers get results by relentlessly influencing the behaviour of those around them. It's about sending the right message at the right time in the best way using a variety of tools and approaches.
"It's also important to think of structures and systems, such as reporting arrangements, locations of activities, and how information is shared. Changing key parts of the organisation requires compelling communications. Messages must be timely and crafted in such a way as to connect with the interests of those affected.
"While we're not all aiming to become household names like Netflix or Starbucks, we can dramatically increase the chance of successful change in our organisations if we make the time to understand and prepare."
John Amis is Chair in Strategic Management & Organisation and Head of Strategy Group at the University of Edinburgh Business School.
The Leading Strategic Change Masterclass runs on 5 to 6 November 2020.