Booz Allen Hamilton VP John Jones and his colleagues endorse the following core principles of managing change: address the human side systematically; start at the top, because all eyes will turn to the CEO and the leadership team for strength, support, and direction; involve every organizational layer and push responsibility for design and implementation down, so that change cascades through the organization; make the formal case for change, to assure all members of the organization that change is really needed and that the company is headed in the right direction; create “ownership” of the change getting leaders willing to accept responsibility for making change happen in all areas they influence or control; communicate the message (and don’t make the mistake of thinking the entire organization sees the new direction as clearly as the change manager does!); develop a baseline and define an explicit end-state of the desired culture of the future; prepare for the unexpected, and be ready to conduct continual readjustment to the plan for change; and “speak to the individual”—because people really do matter, and because they’ll really help make the change-effort succeed provided they are treated honestly and given half a chance.

Strategy + Business May 2004