Change management graduates to the boardroom: From afterthought to prerequisite

Published: June 17, 2008

Executive summary

Change management has come of age, according to a new survey of more than 350 senior executives who have led major transformation initiatives at large organizations, both private and public, all over the world (see “The Change Management Survey”). Executives now understand the need for clear, credible, and carefully integrated people initiatives in business transformation programs and prioritize these people initiatives more highly than they have in the past. Change management now ranks as a boardroom agenda item.

That said, those tasked with leading change programs at large global organizations see room for further improvement. There is broad consensus among these senior executives that, in hindsight, they could have executed change better, specifically by pulling all of the key people levers earlier and more fully.

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The Strategy& change management survey

In January–February 2008, Strategy& conducted a global Web-based survey of change management leaders at organizations of more than 5,000 employees. These individuals were accountable for broad transformation programs that encompassed changes to systems, structures, and capabilities and had a significant impact on people, affecting 500 or more people. The 353 individuals who participated in the online survey served in one or more of the following roles:

  • Member of a program management team (n=161)
  • Member of a program leadership team (n=123)
  • Member of an organization’s leadership team (n=133)
  • Workstream lead (n=84)

All qualifying respondents were individuals whose transformation programs were sufficiently complete to allow them to evaluate the key components that influenced their programs.

Overall, 78 percent of respondents were from the private sector and 22 percent were from the public sector.

Regions affected by transformation programs (multiple selections allowed):

North America n=246

Europe n=130

Asia n=83

Latin America n=55

Middle East/Africa n=40

The top three objectives of the transformation program (multiple selections allowed):

Performance improvement 79 percent

Cost cutting 62 percent

Improved customer service 51 percent

Product or service innovation 35 percent

Merger/divestment 26 percent


Change management graduates to the boardroom: From afterthought to prerequisite

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