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ET-013: Leaders, you can facilitate successful change

With Henrik Horn Andersen

ET-013: Leaders, you can facilitate successful change

and your host Wayne Brown on September 20, 2022

Episode notes: A conversation with Henrik Horn Andersen

Anyone that has participated in one of my leadership programs will most likely know how I feel about the need for leaders to champion and be the Change catalyst. They may also be aware of my similar thoughts and feelings about the need to master facilitation.

So, when the opportunity presented itself recently to have a guest on the show that is an expert in both fields of Change and Facilitation, I was somewhat excited, to say the least.

As you will hear I have the pleasure of conversing with Mr. Henrik Horn Andersen, a consultant based in Copenhagen, Denmark. And as you may expect it doesn’t take us long before we get into these two topics. This may also be a reason why the episode runs almost a full hour instead of my targeted 30 minutes.

Among many topics, we unpack five interesting findings about how you can successfully handle Change as a leader. These five are critical for all of our Executive Talent audience to hear and internalize.

To leverage a quote from Leadership guru Mr. John Maxwell

“Leadership deals with people and their dynamics, which are continually changing. The challenge of leadership is to create change and facilitate growth”  


In our episode today we travel through cyberspace to Copenhagen and speak with a senior partner and board member of the Implement Consulting Group, Mr. Henrik Horn Andersen. During our conversation, we touch on a couple of my favorite topics in leaders trying to deal with and successfully facilitate constant change.

Mr. Andersen has more than 20 years of experience as a management consultant and primarily engages in large change projects in private and public organizations. As mentioned, Henrik has extensive experience with the management of change projects and the facilitation of workshops.

He’s the co-author of several books including, Virtual Facilitations Create More Engagement and Impact, and Facilitation Create Results Through Involvement. In the past few years, Henrik has particularly focused on strategy implementation, leadership development, and change management skills.

He’s the practice leader for 85 consultants and heads the internal consulting training. In addition, Henrik is the chairman of the board of the Danish management consulting industry

♦ Implement Consulting Group

♦ Henrik Horn Andersen | LinkedIn

Henrik Horn Andersen’s book – Virtual Facilitation:

This is a critical skill for all leaders in our world of virtual leadership. I would encourage everyone to read, digest, and apply the lessons. The following link takes you to the Amazon book site where you can read more about the content of the book.

♦ Virtual Facilitation; create more engagement and impact

What You’ll Learn

From our discussion on Change, you will learn about the five straightforward principles that Henrik and his team at Implement Consultancy discovered after interviewing more than 100 leaders of successful Change initiatives.

The five leadership Change principles for success are:

  1. At the core of a Change program needs to be an authentic leader.
  2. We need to focus on the impact of the initiative
  3. We need to ensure that the change is important
  4. Bring the right people into the project
  5. Manage the energy and the mood around the project 

Final words of wisdom from Henrik:  

“I would hope that they bear to be a little bit more courageous. Courageous in designing their meetings and workshops. Courageous in trying out maybe art, and crazy things on their change projects. I would promise them that they will get back more than they’d hoped for on that.

So, courage and curiosity would be my two main hopes.

Truly being curious about the people they involve, because involving, without curiosity is solo involvement and it leads to less engagement. So being curious, daring, and courageous, would be curious and courageous. I think that that would be the two words to leave you with.”

0:00:02.3 Wayne Brown: Hello, I’m Wayne Brown and welcome to the ET Project. We’re delighted to be delivering this podcast for executive talent all over the world whom we’re affectionately referring to as team ET. In our episode today we travel through cyberspace to Copenhagen and speak with a senior partner and board member of the Implement Consulting Group, Mr. Henrik Horn Andersen. During our conversation, we touch on a couple of my favorite topics in leaders trying to deal with and successfully facilitate constant change. Mr. Andersen has more than 20 years experience as a management consultant and primarily engages in large change projects in private and public organizations. As mentioned, Henrik has extensive experience with management of change projects and facilitation of workshops.


0:00:57.7 WB: He’s the co-author of two books, Virtual Facilitations Create More Engagement and Impact, and Facilitation Create Results Through Involvement. In the past few years, Henrik has particularly focused on strategy implementation, leadership development and change management skills. He’s the practice leader for 85 consultants and heads the internal consulting training. In addition, Henrik is the chairman of the board of the Danish management consulting industry. So with that and in preparation for our 30 plus minute episode, please ready yourself to capture the lessons and the learnings from the conversation with Mr. Henrik Horn Andersen and the episode titled: Leaders, you can facilitate successful change.

0:01:43.3 Speaker 2: Welcome to the ET Project, a podcast for those executive talents determined to release their true potential and create an impact. Join our veteran coach and mentor Wayne Brown as we unpack an exciting future together.

0:02:00.6 WB: So team ET, welcome to another episode. Today we have a very special guest coming all the way from Copenhagen, Mr. Henrik Horn Andersen. So, here to talk primarily on the topic of change. So I know this is a very important topic for all of us. So Henrik welcome to the ET Project.

0:02:25.3 Henrik Horn Andersen: Thanks for having me, Wayne.

0:02:27.9 WB: That’s great. Great to have you here. I know you have a very busy schedule, so let’s jump straight into some questions if that’s okay.

0:02:37.3 HA: Mm-hmm.

0:02:37.4 WB: Any fun facts that you’ve had going on in your busy life at the moment?

0:02:42.1 HA: Fun fact, in the moment… I know… I just came out of a talk with my CEO during lunch and I said to him we have this art set up in terms of leadership that you choose your own leader. And I love that, 11 month a year and not in August because this is when we have to decide on the salary part, which makes it super complex with 300 leaders to lead 1100 people. But normally it’s really nice to have a flat hierarchy and not have a big structure set up. So maybe I don’t know whether it’s a fun fact, but we are trying to make a different type of organization and which is super nice 11 out of 12 month a year, but not here in August.

0:03:29.5 WB: I can well imagine, but now that you’ve raised that topic I need to explore that a little bit further. So can you share a little bit more about the organization structure? How does it work?

0:03:40.0 HA: Yeah, so it works like this. So our year goes from summer holiday to summer holiday because that works for our kind of setup with clients and the likes. So on the 1st of July, I send out a mail to the 80 people that I lead in the leadership and change part of our business and writing that now they’re free to spend the entire summer holiday to think about who they want as leaders next year, who can help them on their journey to become even better, unfold their talents and also choose which department they wanna be in next year. And so when they come back after summer holiday, they’ve thought about who can help me the best because leadership is a service and what service do I want and who can help me on my journey to become the… Get the best out of my talent.

0:04:27.7 HA: And so we try to figure it all the way around. And I think it’s super, super interesting and it works perfect in a consulting company, because then when people ask me if I wanna be their leader, I can ask them why they… Did you actually have that crazy idea to choose me as your leader? And then we can interact in that conversation of expectations. And I… They can tell me why they think that I… Why I can help them and what journey they are on. And then we can talk about what leadership style do I have and do they match what they expect instead of the normal setup where it just appointed someone that you don’t really like and it doesn’t really work. And so in this case where they actually actively chose me, when I give them advice they listen to it much more because they asked for it themselves instead of me just barging in, coming with all my clever advices. And yeah, so it’s a two-way street you see in our business and I think that is actually quite nice.

0:05:32.4 WB: We can spend the entire episode just going deeper around that topic, but we won’t, but that’s really fascinating. I’ve heard of companies that have operated like this and they primarily reside in Europe, but I’ve never spoken to anyone that actually uses this structure. So very interesting, I definitely will follow up on that. [laughter]

0:05:55.5 HA: That’s good.


0:05:57.9 WB: Anything out there in the world at the moment that’s exciting you or worrying you?

0:06:03.3 HA: I think we are, like most of us these days, are schizophrenic. Where’s the world actually going? Is it pointed toward a recession on one hand and on the other hand, most of the countries that we are in, there’s a super high employment rate, there’s… On lots of the economic numbers, clients are busy doing really, really well. So for us as a company, should we hire or should we wait? And which services will the client ask for? I think it’s super hard to say. And it’s not just like, 5, 10, 15 years ago where you can have an idea of where the world is going. Suddenly you have situations in Ukraine or in Taiwan that it’s kind of like really big things happening, that is hard to see where things are going. So I think that’s one of the things that worries me and yeah, hard to predict and we just need to stay in the moment and see where it goes and then do what we can to push leaders all over the place to do the right things. And I think one positive thing out of this, I think has been to see how CEOs and top management teams have stepped up on a political agenda the last year or so, or especially after February and in Ukraine and have a political stand.

0:07:26.0 WB: In relation to Ukraine and Russia.

0:07:28.4 HA: In relation to Ukraine and Russia, but also similar things during Corona and the likes. I think we’ve seen also on the environmental agenda over the last couple of years, I think we’ve seen that top management is stepping up on these ESG or CSR type agendas, and I think that’s really, really positive, because I think we need companies to change the world. It seems that the politicians have a harder time doing that. But it’s… I have a background as a political science student, so maybe that’s also why that’s on my radar these days.


0:08:07.1 WB: I would agree in the sense that, I believe leaders today need to be much more agile and versatile with their approach. And as you said, we need to be more in the moment. It’s very difficult to polish the crystal ball and really see the future that’s ahead, right? And that by itself forces us to be more agile.

0:08:32.2 HA: Yeah.

0:08:33.5 WB: You have a very diverse background and a rather long career, particularly in management consultancy. I’m wondering… Our listener base, predominantly is executive talents. I’m wondering if there’s anything within your career that stands out, whether it’s a highlight or a challenge that stands out that you think would be of interest.

0:08:58.5 HA: There’s probably a lot of failures and a lot of successes that are dear to me, but not relevant to others, but one thing that just pops up when you ask me that question is a situation or a client episode that happened early 2015 and has led to a continuous collaboration since. So, it was in the spring of 2015, or maybe actually in the fall of 2014. I trained a lot of strategy consultants, internal strategy consultants in an energy company in Denmark on how to facilitate, because as many leaders and people working in internal organizations, they need to engage more with the organization and involve people and discuss how do we actually get the strategy to work, which I think is a key leadership trait, but also a strategy consultants kind of tool. So I trained them in that, in the fall of 2014. In the spring of 2015, they came to me, some of them and said, “Now, we made the new strategy. It’s 178 PowerPoint slides full of numbers, and we figured it out where we want go and we made it with a professor from… ” I don’t know, not gonna mention where, but a cool business school and they were ready to kind of launch it.

0:10:21.0 HA: And they have invited the 120 leaders in the top of that organization to get the message out of these 178 slides of well documented strategy work. But they realized, after having had discussions with me that they probably needed to not just do a full day PowerPoint show on that. And so we designed a super way of condensing that strategy into three words, “compete to win.” That was kind of the essence of the strategy. And then we designed a super high engaging day where they did crazy stuff, that they still talk about this day today. And they keep inviting me and the team back, the 8th year in a row. It’s the 3rd strategy after that one, and it’s the second CEO, but they still kind of come back to that idea of engaging the organization to understand the strategy, not from a rational perspective, but also from an emotional perspective. And I think in many organizations that idea of connecting strategy, not only to the head, but also to the heart is so important. And many leaders, it’s the same, whether you have it as a corporate strategy, or you have it for your own team, how do we convey the strategy in a way that you can feel it and you can actually kind of sense that we need to take this direction, especially in organizations that are doing well already.

0:11:54.3 WB: And this sounds like it’ll almost go the heart of the whole change topic as well.

0:12:00.1 HA: Yeah. So that, I think for me, it’s also why I think about that, because it combines maybe two of the passions that I have. It’s the facilitation and designing large scale interactive workshops and that passion for creating change, changing cultures and implementing strategies. So maybe that’s kind of my all time favorite project.

0:12:20.1 WB: Very, very nice. So the learning that comes out of that for you is around being able to tell your story in a engaging way that’s more emotive rather than just rational. Is that my take away from it?

0:12:36.8 HA: Yeah, and daring to convince the strategy so much that you can boil it down to, what is it all about? Sometimes the strategy process becomes a long list of nice to haves, and you also wanna fix x, y, z. A long list of things with five must-win battles, with five sub to each of them, and all kinds of big, big portfolios, and it’s nice to have that. But what is it that we can remember? That’s three things or it’s a one headliner that kind of embraces the direction that we are on.

0:13:12.5 WB: Very nice, commit to win. Did I remember that right? Compete to win.

0:13:17.8 HA: Compete to win because they were used to just winning these offshore wind farms. And because there was no competition, and they could see that all the oil majors were coming into the field of doing offshore wind. Back in the days it was called DONGC which didn’t work on English, but back then, it was Danish Oil and Natural Gas Company. But now it’s on the top 10 list of biggest transformations when you ask HBR, so it’s actually cool part of it, yeah.

0:13:52.9 WB: Great. So you mentioned about facilitation and you’ve written a couple of books. So you’ve co-authored with a couple of books. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I think the most recent was Virtual Facilitation, Create More Engagement and Impact, which I guess, is essentially what you’re talking about, in that reliving that story? I 100% agree with you, in the sense that for me, leaders need to find a way to engage. And in today’s world where we’re communicating more and more virtually, this has created a whole set of new challenges for many leaders. I’m guessing, I haven’t had the opportunity to read your book. So first, [laughter] confession on my part that I’m guessing the title gives a lot of clarity here, Virtual Facilitation. So what was your driver behind the book? So what was the impetus that got you underway with this book?

0:15:00.3 HA: First of all, the idea was helping, it was making a practical book that could help people that was sitting at home in lockdown. We wrote it during the first lockdown in the Corona year. And because we trained so many people in facilitation, and people suddenly sitting at home, and they had no idea of how to involve, interact, use these virtual medias in a good way. And so we really wanted to help and come up with not a theoretical book, but hands on, practical, how to guide on how to design, plan and conduct more engaging, more impactful, virtual meetings. So that was the idea.

0:15:48.4 WB: And without giving too much away about the ending, what are the key takeaways from the book for the listeners?

0:15:57.0 HA: So, no problem giving away, it’s actually on our webpage most of it and it’s a nice article and all the tools and stuff, so feel free. But I think one of my all time key takeaways on that is, focus more on what’s the purpose of the meeting, spend much more time on what’s actually the purpose, and what’s the one thing in that purpose, that’s the most important. Spend more time on preparation than you would do on a normal meeting, because it’s much harder to change as you go along in a virtual meeting. And you need to take much more things into account, of plans, more small interactions and voting, and polling and all those things.

0:16:39.7 HA: So more time in preparation that leads you to spend less time when you’re there in the meeting. And then design much more for virtual. I think many people just kind of conducted the same meetings, just open to… Put the camera on and did the same type of meeting and didn’t really take into account all the benefits there are by being in virtual format, where you can document stuff, you can easily connect, crowdsource ideas and the likes. And so if you design it like a physical meeting that we’ll just put a camera on, it’s gonna be a terrible meeting with low energy and low impact. So that was just some of the takeaways, I think.

0:17:20.6 WB: Very nice.

0:17:21.2 HA: Maybe just one point maybe to add more. I think in these days, we’re having a lot of hybrid meetings where a team of people sitting at the office and a few people are working out of home, and I think there’s some small takeaways. And there’s also an article on our webpage on this, on how to make that more inclusive. I think that’s the next level that we need to take in our various meetings, because we found out ways of doing the true or the small virtual meetings. But those hybrid meetings, where it’s so easy to feel left out, if you’re sitting at home, and the others are sitting around a meeting table. I think that’s the next step we need to take on our agenda here.

0:18:00.8 WB: There’s a whole raft of dynamics that come out of that type of meeting, particularly for those in the remote, the virtual sense of, like you said, feeling left out, feeling like when we switch the camera off, the rest of the people are still in the meeting room, conversing, and I’m now locked away in my little isolated room, wherever that might be. What happens to me? Do I get forgotten about? Etcetera. And, yeah… Very interesting. So, if I understood correctly, a lot of the facilitation you do is around the change topic.

0:18:40.3 HA: Yes.

0:18:41.4 WB: Is that correct? And changes is a topic of passion for me, but I know it’s also a topic that triggers fear of untold proportions to many leaders.

0:18:57.8 HA: Yeah.

0:19:00.6 WB: And over the years, I’ve heard this statistic about 70, 30, how 70% of change initiatives fail. I don’t know how true that is but I’ve heard it many times. So do you have a insight on that?

0:19:20.3 HA: Yeah, I think yeah. Maybe back to the first point before I get to that. I think that idea of that change triggers fear I totally agree. And I think for me, at least that’s one of my big drivers and ambition is to how can we make that less fearful or more positive to talk about change in the organization and create more impact. So thanks for reminding me about that. I think that 70% is coming out of actually quite a number of different studies and has been doing so at least the last 20, 25 years and the number hasn’t changed that much.

0:20:00.4 WB: Yes.

0:20:00.5 HA: And you can discuss, you know, is it 70% that fails, fails? But in many of the studies, it’s not getting as much impact as planned or getting the change where it’s not that you don’t get any change, but you don’t get what you had hoped for in the same scale or maybe in a different part. But I think it’s still interesting that there’s such a big opportunity on one hand, or it’s a big, big waste that we have in organizations. And I think that there’s a link here to a lot of people feeling not fully engaged at work. It’s not that motivating to see that a lot of things that you’re doing is not making a big impact. And I think that’s, it’s something that we need to find out. How can we succeed more with change and at the same time, create more engage people in the work field?

0:21:00.1 WB: And given our hybrid environment at the moment, I’m just wondering with the remote work, I would imagine that the challenges are even more significant when it comes to change initiatives.

0:21:12.3 HA: Yeah. Of course we do, but I think on one hand, it’s not that different. And then again, I think recent studies also show that the ideation phase of a change project or any project is struggling a lot on the virtual or hybrid setup, but in some of the later phases where you are getting in to the details, you’re getting to the training part, you’re… The execution phase, then it’s less problematic to be hybrid or virtual, but it’s in that ideation phase or ramping up, creating the energy, finding the solution phase, where you wanna have more people involved and get the best ideas on the table. And that’s where it’s really hard to do that virtually and create the trust and followership to the ideas. And I think that’s where we need to find ways of how do we engage, how we connect built creative solutions because we are more creative when we are physically together without Post-It. You can do a lot on a Miro board or Padlet, but it’s not the same dynamic. It’s not the same energy. It’s not the same feeling of, “Yeah, let’s conquer the world.” You’re sitting at home typing in Miro.


0:22:35.8 HA: Yeah. It can be good. And of course that’s what try to aim for with the book on virtual presentation, but still more magic happens when you’re physically together on that phase.

0:22:48.6 WB: For sure. When we spoke the first time you discussed five specific principles that you believe can assist leaders through the change process. And I’d like to go a little bit deeper on those five if we could, for most of the remainder of our discussion together. So, would it be okay if you lead off with the first principle and…

0:23:12.5 HA: Super. Maybe just kind of do the flying and then the overview, and then we deep dive into it.

0:23:18.0 WB: Absolutely.

0:23:18.7 HA: One at a time, because maybe for some of the people that wanna have the big picture before we dive into to just… So in essence, I come from a company called Implement and since we’re called Implement, we’ve been that for 25 years or so. We wanted, at some point, to find out what is implementation all about or change all about. And so we gathered all people and tried to distill all our knowledge in one day into that topic, but we realized we didn’t get it. And we didn’t agree on anything on that. So we spent actually a full year of interviewing hundred clients, companies that had done successful change projects. So John Potter did study failures of change and out of that, he came up with his steps of…

0:24:15.6 WB: Next steps.

0:24:17.1 HA: Exactly. And we wanted to kind of have a more appreciative approach and look at what worked. And so we found hundred organizations that has said, “We are in that successful corner where we actually had something that did go as planned.” And so we did interviews with them. Some had used consultants, others not, and we’ve tried out of that to distill what are kind of the patterns that we see. And out of that came five things that we think all leaders whether high or low in the organization. But if you’re running change projects, there are five things that you should ask yourself on a constant basis. Where are we on these?

0:24:58.7 HA: And it’s kind of like a circle with a core and four things surrounding that core. In the core, it was obvious from all the interview that if the one fronting the change is not authentic, if he or she leading the change is not something… It’s not a person that we can trust, it’s not creating followership as actually authentic in terms of showing that direction that we are going, then we would not make it. So as a leader, that’s an important question to ask, am I the right person to lead this change? So that’s one thing. And then the four things that you need to do, one is have a focus on impact. Planning towards impact. We can dive more into that. There’s a topic on importance and actions. So if it’s not important, you don’t get people to act.

0:26:02.2 WB: Right.

0:26:02.8 HA: Potter would talk about the burning platform. That there is one way of creating importance. There might also be a big vision that is so compelling that we need to act upon that one, but we can also dive into that. Then there’s something about bringing the right people on the project. Again, we can double click on that. And then last and maybe the most new, compared to many of the other books on changes, how do we actually manage the energy and the mood around the project? It’s actually something we can control and influence deliberately. And I think that was a super interesting takeaway, that mood is not just a result of what we do and this organizational mood, but we can actually influence that on our workshops, on our project work, on an ongoing basis to create at the base of the reflection or whatever’s needed around the project, to…

0:27:00.9 WB: So it becomes an evolving process throughout the whole project. So it’s not a static. Yeah.

0:27:07.2 HA: Yeah. And we are not a victim to the mood, but the mood is actually something that we can influence in the organization. And I think that was interesting, to be more aware of what can we actually do and how can we do that? And again, I can kinda unfold that with examples from projects, if you want.

0:27:26.9 WB: All right. Well, let’s go back to the core that you mentioned then, about being authentic, and you made an interesting comment just then that am I the right person to be leading this initiative?

0:27:38.6 HA: Yeah.

0:27:41.6 WB: That sounds like a fairly tough question to… If I’m the, let’s say the CEO of the company and I want to drive this change, I all of a sudden have to think about handing the baton over to somebody else to run the initiative.

0:27:57.3 HA: Yeah. But imagine how powerful it would be for the CEO to go on stage and say, “You all know that I’m not Mr. Digital, and I’m gonna do my best to become more digital, but you all know that it’s my good friend Leena or whatever she’s called, from the executive team, that that’s the one that should drive this, because she’s already living this way, that that will be the future of the company or the likes. But it could also just… It could also be going on stage and talking about the symbolic changes that he would do that actually just addresses the point, that I might not be the right in your eyes right now, but I will commit to change and I will… If I can do these kind of changes from my paper calendar to actually using outlook, like the rest of you guys, that would be my kind of sign of pushing us in this direction, and I will… I’ll need help and you need to support me on this. But I think that of… There’s a lot of cool articles on authenticity and the likes.

0:29:08.1 WB: Yes.

0:29:08.3 HA: And followership. And I think there’s something here about being truly honest, but in a way that is not undermining your position. Yeah, there’s something there that I think is powerful, but it’s also a nice reflection to have with yourself. Might also be that, if I’ve come at ease with myself, that I am actually the right one to take this. Also, if I ask people that I trust in the organization, do you think that I could do this? How would they react if I said XYZ. Maybe I didn’t go on stage with much more backing and power than I would have if I didn’t have that reflection. And maybe also a more kind of direct story that maybe also addresses some of the feelings and not just the rational… This is why we wanna be more digital as a company, or have a focus on our supply chain or whatever it is that we are talking on, right?

0:30:09.1 WB: As a coach, I’m just thinking through a conversation with a particular person that I’m visualizing as we’re talking about this, and I’m thinking that there could be a number of scenarios and that could play out multiple ways. So I would imagine they would need to be fairly clear about how they’re going to present that topic to the team, because it could be seen that they have the idea but they’re pushing it off to other people and they’re stepping away from it, not taking the responsibility. So I think there’s a risk there that they need to be very conscious of and speak to. But on the other hand, as you’ve said, it could also be extremely powerful and very, very insightful. Yeah. Sorry.

0:30:58.5 HA: And I think that’s an important part here, that it takes a lot of self-awareness. And I think that’s what we are trying to address here, that that self-awareness, self-interests and just kind of trying to find out, what are the things that are pushing me in this direction? But of course if you’re involving others, you also need to have a trustful relation with them on… And have good storyline. But especially just that simple idea of checking with this couple of people… Am I the right one to address this? And sometimes you’re not, it might be that you have the title, but maybe you are… It’ll be more powerful that it was somebody else.

0:31:44.7 WB: Could be.

0:31:45.2 HA: Or they’re parts of… I do the big vision, but then there’s the how to do it, that’s a different person. Then we’ll take the project manager on stage and do that because they know that I’m gonna spend my time as a CEO on something else, but I can create that burning idea of where we are going and then say, “I’ve given all my powers to Wayne, to run this cool project. And Wayne, take us through the big steps and the big idea here.”

0:32:19.9 WB: I guess it would be key for the CEO, or whoever this head figure… The figurehead is, to remain the project sponsor or the change initiative sponsor, right?

0:32:30.3 HA: Yeah.

0:32:30.3 WB: Yeah.

0:32:30.3 HA: Agreed.

0:32:36.0 WB: The next point you mentioned was about impact.

0:32:39.0 HA: So early days of Implement, when I joined, when we were 50 people, and now, we have 1200 or so. So we were training a lot of product managers on doing milestone planning and classical product management tools, that most leaders and product managers are trained in. And so of course, we came out of a tradition of, let’s plan the change slightly, John Carter is… In that sense. But we realised that it was not the agreed deliverables that was the important part of a changed project. What was actually most important was, do we get the impact at the end? Have we changed the KPIs? Have we changed the behavior? The business KPIs, what is it actually that we are trying not to change?

0:33:29.5 HA: If you’re running a LEAD Project, you wanna increase efficiency with 30%, or reduce the downtime on manufacturing machines or whatever, by X percent, or the likes. So if that’s the KPI that we are running for, might be that we, during the project need to change the deliverables, but we need to have our eyes fixed on that impact, instead of the plan. We would rather change the plan as we go along. But the key thing here was, taking out of the interviews and findings, and a lot of my learnings from meeting a lot of projects and leaders out there is often, when we get a project scope or project plan, the list of project impacts KPIs, benefits, call it what you want, is so long. So now that we are running this project, we wanna fix these 10 things.

0:34:29.6 WB: Right.

0:34:31.5 HA: And so if you ask the leadership team, one leader would have number one and three as his most important, and another would have two and seven. And it’s not prioritized and it’s not focused. So we really often do that exercise of saying, so if this project we’re only to deliver one impact, what’s the most important impact? We know that’ll be collateral impact on the side of this, but what is the most important thing? And then, how do we get there? How do we measure early states? What are the leading indicators that we are on the right way to get this impact? And then, as we become clear and clear, maybe we need not to do what we thought first.

0:35:14.9 HA: Often, we are called in for instance, in a sales organization, and they have an idea that we need to train all the sales people to do something different, because they’re not selling it the right way. We need to sell solutions and not products, or ethical kind of setup. And then with this idea… So if the impact is, more sales out there might be when we start digging into it, that it’s not the training, that’s the right deliverable. Maybe it’s changing the KPI structure, maybe it’s developing new solutions that the clients actually want. And so that idea of being much more focused razor-sharp on the impact and the KPIs. What’s the business KPIs? What’s the behavioral KPIs that we are driving towards? Of course, having a plan, but adjusting the plan, according whether we are on track or not.

0:36:17.0 WB: Okay. Great. You also mentioned about the importance of people…

0:36:21.9 HA: Yes.

0:36:22.1 WB: Within the whole project.

0:36:25.9 HA: Yes. So that was the impact part. Then the importance part was… Maybe where you also got into to your thinking before with Carter and the burning platform. The key notion here is, we are so busy in organizations, all the talents that you have on your show, they’re really, really busy. And they have so many things they should do, and they have been pulled left, right and center from other projects on things that they should help implement, get to work, IT systems, procurement initiatives, whatever. Development talk templates from HR, and it’s coming left, right and center. And our point here is, if it’s not important enough, then you don’t get people to change their behavior.

0:37:14.7 HA: Of course, sometimes changing behavior makes an importance, but that idea of that’s a connection between importance and actions. And it’s not whether it’s important for the business, it’s important for me in my job. And coming back to the LEAD, sometimes when we do LEAD, we do a blitz, improvement in one part of the shop floor, and then other parts of the shop floor see the results of that and think, “Okay, they’re coming and improving ours soon.” So that action over here actually makes something important for me. But I think the key thing here is, as a leader to be aware of right now in the organization, is the change project seen as important or not? And if it’s not seen as important in the organization, should we stop it?

0:38:07.0 WB: Yeah.

0:38:08.0 HA: Or should we turn up the importance? And if we should stop it, and we should turn up the importance, how do we do that? And that could be creating a more compelling vision, to either do the burn platform part. But we need constantly to have that idea of, is it important enough for them to actually spend their time on it? And one of my hobby horses these days is that many organizations are driving too many projects at the same time.

0:38:40.7 WB: Yes.

0:38:41.1 HA: It’s long thin projects that are running for a long time, and we have 28 must-win battles that are running in parallel, and why don’t we stop 10 of them, and celebrate that we stopped them? And then have fewer that we pay full attention to and implement all the way. And then, we take the next five, and then go on.

0:39:03.8 WB: And quite often the dynamic interchange between many of the projects becomes very hard to communicate continuously about what each group is doing. And it becomes just a… Speaking from firsthand experience here. [laughter] It becomes a nightmare.

0:39:22.9 HA: Exactly.

0:39:24.8 WB: Which ones haven’t we covered yet?

0:39:26.6 HA: Yeah, so we haven’t covered the one with the right people, and I think that there’s two takeaways on that. I think most product managers, most leaders know that if you wanna have change project succeed, we need to have the right people together. But I think there was two interesting takeaways on our finding. One was, you need to involve much more people more early than you would normally do. And of course, I have got met by many leaders saying, we cannot tell them about changes before we have the solution or… And yes and no, of course there are types of changes, matches or things that are dealt with big secrecy, we cannot share that, but in most cases we can actually share a little bit of the change early, because it does a big difference to people. And if we know that many people are gonna change behavior at the end, why don’t we involve them more early, so that they can be on that? The typical change project looks like this, top management spent three months of discussing this strategy. Then the next level have three weeks to be part of the discussion. Middle managers will have three days to figure out who’s on the team or the new organizational setup. And then me as an employee I have three minutes to find myself on that org chart of what’s my new job. Right?

0:40:51.3 WB: Right.

0:40:52.1 HA: And so that’s the setup, but the impact is so much bigger at the employee level, compared to the CEO level. They don’t need to change that much.

0:41:02.7 WB: Yes.

0:41:03.0 HA: No matter what strategy and direction will we have, but it has a huge impact on me sitting all the way down in the organization. And I’ve something there that simply doesn’t work. So that’s one part. One picture that you have an eight year old and so do I, and from your daily change management task of getting your eight year old to bed, that’s the same story that is happening in the organization. And it’s not that organization are like eight year old. But the idea… So my eight year old girl often plays with dolls just before bedtime, and I can do two strategies. I can just grab her by the arm and say, “Now, it’s time to bed,” and then drag her into her room. I don’t know with you, but in my day life that doesn’t work.

0:41:50.9 WB: It doesn’t work so well, yeah.

0:41:51.0 HA: That ends up with resistance and problems. And I can do the other approach, is to say, “So Sophia, in five minutes it’s time to put dolls away because it’s time to go to bed.” It’s not that it always work, but the likelihood of it working it’s much higher, at least in my house.

0:42:13.1 WB: Right.

0:42:13.5 HA: And so in organizations, we do the first most often. We grab them by the arm and say, now it’s time for you to be in this department, or now it’s time for you to sell differently with our customers. And it’s kind like, of course, they’re going to resistance. They didn’t see it coming.

0:42:31.3 WB: Sure.

0:42:31.4 HA: It just came like that out of the blue. So there’s something there that we need to do differently. And then that… So that was one thing, involve more people, more early, be more diligent about how you do that so that you get them with you on that journey. The other one was, we see a lot of projects where there’s a lot of… The people that are involved in the project team are only there, 10, 20, 30% of their time. So you have a lot of people allocating a little bit of their time, instead of being much more dedicated to this one, or maybe two projects that they are then heavily involved in. And so some spending much more time on the three piece we talk about… Do we have productivity? Do we have the skills, competencies and time to actually do it? Do they have different preferences? So we mirror the organization. And do we have power? Informal and formal power in the team. So power, preference, productivity, that’s a good kind of thing to have in mind when you set that change team. Because then they can do cool stuff.

0:43:41.9 WB: Very nice.

0:43:43.1 HA: And then we like the last one, which is about energy.

0:43:45.9 WB: Yes.

0:43:47.8 HA: And that was that simple idea of… Many of these change projects take six, 12 month time, sometimes even longer. And we need to create a buzz sometime about, “This is a cool stuff and we’ve come up with a solution,” or now it’s time to actually have time for reflection or trying it out and the likes. And so that idea of constantly being, pushing, influencing the energy with different things is actually so interesting. I think many of us have been at a go live, where the IT department have made a new IT setup or trying to implement SAP or what it is. And we think, wow, cool, it’s gonna be really nice with this new IT setup. And then nobody have thought about the energy in that conference room or the mood. And it becomes a really, really long boring presentation of this new IT that in essence actually was really, really cool, but the desire to use it afterwards is not that high because it was just… It was thought of as a technical implementation and not something that should create energy and desire to use it. And that’s the simple idea.

0:45:12.0 HA: And if you have time for a story then let me tell you one story about, where I really saw this play out. I was helping a global pharmaceutical company, they were outsourcing all their IT support from Europe to India or Denmark, then there’s only two or three companies that you can choose from. So they were taking all the IT support, moving that from Denmark to India, and so you had these 50 people sitting in an IT support, knowing that in three, four months time, all I know is now given to somebody else and they’re taking my job. On an energy scale, it’s not super, super high on that. Luckily, we have have been told that they were not gonna get fired, they could move on to other jobs in the organization. So we had these… They were actually 80 guys from India flying to Copenhagen for a couple of months, and learning all the things that the Danish IT guys could, so that they had mapped all the processes and transfered all the knowledge. And so what would… If we hadn’t thought about this energy principle, I would just have been sitting there for X amount of weeks and training you because you were my new counterpart, and that was not that super energetic.

0:46:46.1 HA: So I got this idea that I’ve figured out that it was 251 processes that needed to be documented and transfered. So I printed a big, big world map and made a flight plan from Denmark with Stavros and Berlin and Vienna and Ankara and the likes all the way to India. And every time they met 25 of these processes, we landed in new city, but if I just documented one, I could move the plane a little bit and when it gotten to 25, we landed in Berlin and in Vienna. And when it came to Vienna, the plane, there was different cookies and change the lights and Turkish tea and just different smells sometimes. When they came in the office in the morning, it might smell or be different in essence that we… And that made a collective buzz around, “Let’s get this plane moving,” and they did it together, and when they went all the way to India, the plane, of course, we ended with a big Indian feast with food that was from their region and they could take off and there was… It created actually quite a good energy compared to just sitting on your own and teaching it, that was just one idea of taking that principle and doing something with it.

0:48:12.9 WB: That’s a great story. It’s so powerful. I think we’re all guilty probably of getting so caught up in the tasks that we forget about some of the other aspects, and energy is definitely one that I haven’t thought of myself, so I like that very much.

0:48:33.5 HA: And can I just add one thing? Because I think that the point about why this is important with the energy, is that a lot of these change projects that your listeners are running or being exposed to, are changes that are happening on top of your daily work. And so I have a limited capacity of engaging in these change projects.

0:48:56.5 WB: Right.

0:48:56.8 HA: And which change projects do I wanna spend my spare time on, so to speak? Where do I wanna help out? Is it the one that has a good energy and where there’s a buzz on it? Or they’re doing something slightly different or where I sense that I can learn something, or is it just the technical IT project? Maybe I direct my energy towards where there’s something cool happening. And I think that’s the idea that we need to tap into that spare time of leaders on top of what they normally would do as their daily tasks.

0:49:36.2 WB: Great, so could you just summarize the five again, if you don’t mind.

0:49:41.1 HA: Yes. So it’s authenticity, it’s impact, importance, people and energy.

0:49:48.8 WB: Okay, excellent.

0:49:50.1 HA: To make it really, really short.

0:49:53.1 WB: [laughter] No, that’s great, that’s great, thank you. I’m sure there’s a lot of great insights and takeaways for the listeners. I’m also very conscious of the time, so.

0:50:02.1 HA: Sorry.

0:50:03.6 WB: No, it’s okay, I don’t wanna hold you up any longer. But as we head towards wrapping up, is there anything that you’re engaged in at the moment, or you’re working on that’s got you getting up early in the mornings, or going to sleep late?

0:50:20.7 HA: Yeah. I’m actually right now in a cybersecurity project that I thought I would never be engaged in, but it’s super interesting when I get into ISO 27000 type, and I don’t need to go into all those details, but the idea of… A lot of the cybersecurity is really IT nerdy, firewalls and patches and the likes, but there’s a big, big change part of it that is super interesting. And in many of the products organizations are making these days, it is super important to be aware of what is coming in. There is a lot of legislation being changed in Europe these days that is comparable to the GDPR thing that came on the personal data a couple of years ago, and I think… I’m working in the energy sector these days again, and energy and Ukraine and shortage of gas and the likes, makes cybersecurity be rather important in an energy company these days of making sure that we have reliable energy sources going on.

0:51:47.4 HA: So that’s actually super interesting and as I start digging into it, there’s a big, big leadership task for every leader because you cannot delegate that to IT. It’s a lot of behavior, it’s a lot of awareness and it has a big impact on your reputation, on your financials and if you are hit. And I think that’s actually quite interesting to find out how can we help get that more on the CEO agenda, or maybe it’s actually on the CEO agenda, but there’s a middle layer in an organization that is not being measured on cyber security and the likes and that are measured on other parts. And so there’s… How do we connect that IT department and the CEO that are both concerned about that, but there’s this frozen middle layer that is just occupied by delivering on their own bits and pieces of it, and I’m not taking that into account. And I think that’s actually super engaging in these days.

0:52:50.7 WB: Very interesting. It’s never a problem until it’s a problem.


0:52:54.3 HA: Yeah. But then… And actually that’s a good point. And on cybersecurity, compared to normal maintenance, in many organizations, you can do maintenance when it’s broken and then you can fix it and get it up and running again. You don’t wanna do that with cybersecurity.

0:53:08.4 WB: With cybersecurity. No, no, you’re right.

0:53:10.6 HA: You would rather take the insurance upfront and not get into that type of problem and there.

0:53:15.7 WB: Very much, very much. So Henrik, where will the listers find you, find your books, find about your company? Where will they go?

0:53:26.1 HA: So on the company, they will go to implementconsultinggroup.com. There’s a lot of articles, nice stuff on change and facilitation and all kinds of other aspects. So we are a full service management consultant company. So we… And we are really, really giving away a lot on ads for free, so go there, find inspiration. And for me, you can find me on LinkedIn, Henrik Horn Andersen. And my books is on Amazon or the likes.

0:53:58.2 WB: All right. Well, in the interest of time, I’m gonna ask you one final question [chuckle] before we wrap up.

0:54:06.9 HA: You may shoot.

0:54:08.6 WB: [chuckle] It’s okay. Final takeaway. Any words of wisdom for the listeners?

0:54:12.8 HA: I would hope that they bear to be a little bit more courageous. Courageous on designing their meetings and workshops. Courageous on trying out maybe art, crazy things on their change projects. I would promise them that they will get it back more than they’d hope for on that. So courage and curiosity, that would be my two main hopes. Truly being curious on the people they involve, because involving, without curiosity is solo involvement and it leads to less engagement. So being curious, daring, courageous, that would be curious and courageous. I think that that would be my two words to leave you with.

0:55:05.6 WB: Very, very nice. There’s so much we could discuss further, but we’re gonna have to call it a wrap. We probably have to have another discussion at some stage.

0:55:14.9 HA: Let’s do that. And if you come to Copenhagen, I’m all for a continuum over a beer at some point.

0:55:20.8 WB: Very good. Well, Henrik thank you very much. It’s been a great conversation. I’ve learned a lot. I’m sure, the listeners have learned a lot. Thank you for your time and enjoy what’s left of your day. And look forward very much to catching up again in the near future.

0:55:39.7 HA: Thank you for having me.

0:55:42.4 Speaker 2: Thank you for joining us on the ET Project, a show for executive talent development. Until next time. Check out our site for free videos, eBooks, webinars, and blogs at coaching4companies.com.


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