Our Shared Challenge
Today's leader is foremost a leader of change.
Few leaders are hired to maintain the status quo and few organizations are safe ignoring the consequences of globalization, technological disruption, and workplace cultural forces.
Unfortunately, organizations by their nature are resistant to change and employees are often apprehensive.
NOBL was founded in 2014 to help ambitious and compassionate leaders make change. Our work is its most meaningful when our partners grow to their full potential, when they are freed to truly serve their customers and constituents, and when their impact on the world becomes powerful and profound.
Organizational Change 101
Organizational change is really individual behavior change on a mass scale. Change only succeeds when your people are capable, motivated, and provoked. Internal change should feel like a swelling social movement.
Organizations need to be prepared for both kinds of change: sudden and gradual. Sudden changes, like a new leader or acquisition, demand rapid-response capabilities in both action and communication. Gradual changes, like customer expectations or competitive trends, demand attitudes and behaviors that ensure your people sense and respond to subtle changes outside the company.
The capacity for change isn’t found in PowerPoint slides. Knowing what to do and knowing how to marshal human beings to do it are vastly different capabilities. Get out of slides and get closer to your customers and employees.
New org charts rarely solve the underlying problem. There are three big levers for change in any institution: people, process, and structure. Research has proven that structure is the least effective lever (80% of reorgs fail to deliver the intended value, 60% actually reduce productivity).
Organizational change is an iterative process. In a world of accelerating change, organizational change is a continuous activity. Organizations therefore need safe ways to continuously learn and adopt new ways of working.
Meaningful change takes time. We aim to accelerate change but there is no silver bullet (for all the reasons listed above).
How We Confront Change
- First, we work with your executives to develop and share the narrative for change. More than just why and why now, we help executives communicate the process, timeline, and expectations for change.
- For your mid-level leaders, we train new skills essential for the desired change. Our researchers are encyclopedias of new ways of working and they not only teach these skills to leaders, they ensure those leaders can train their teams.
- For your front-line teams, those closest to your customers, we collect critical raw intelligence on customer trends and internal barriers. With this information, we conduct experiments in new ways of working and serving customers. When an experiment fails, we stop it. When an experiment succeeds, we spread it to other teams.
- Rather than drawing new org charts, we obsess first over your people and their processes. In terms of people, we look for immediate improvements in how you attract, develop, and exit talent. In terms of process, we make how work is done clearer, simpler, and focused on constant improvement.
- During the change process, we strongly prefer to work on-site with you and your teams. Organizational change lives or dies based on cultural adoption and there's no better way to understand your culture than to live and breath it on a daily basis.
- We steal shamelessly to solve your challenges. Our work borrows from the Toyota Production System, Lean Startup, Lean Product Development, Sociocracy, Holacracy, Agile Software Development, Team of Teams, Google, Netflix, Facebook, Amazon, and a litany of other sources. Our goal isn’t to make you more like these companies (none are perfect, despite their PR), but to codify a way of working unique to your teams and suited for your market context.
- We price our teams for long-term support. We measure our work based on whether changes are adopted and whether changes produce the intended competitive and cultural effects. Therefore, we genuinely want to be your long-term partners even more than we want to produce short-term profits.
We didn’t invent change management consulting, we just made it smarter and more effective.
A traditional blue-chip consulting company will charge you millions of dollars for recycled research, retreaded strategies, and the benefit of their logo. They’ll deliver their work in a 100-page document and leave you to decipher their jargon and execute their five-year plan (one that will be obsolete in less than five months). This is the traditional approach and it simply doesn't work in a world of accelerating change.
To make organizational change succeed, while matching the speed of external change, we have to work differently. We prefer to work onsite, directly with your teams, in the thick of their work and all of its complication. We create immediate change by listening, watching, providing real-time feedback, trialing new ways to work, and ultimately by empowering your employees to become change agents for themselves. Our way, change isn't a separate process. Change is an active result of doing the work you already do more consciously.
NOBL teams are typically comprised of a Senior Advisor, two Organizational Designers, and an Organizational Researcher.
Our Senior Advisors have years of experience overseeing massive organizational changes. They’ve encountered scenarios of all kinds and are expert troubleshooters. Our Org Designers are practiced in organizational change and design, guide, and assess the overall change program. Our Org Researchers scour the world for leading-edge practices so our clients not only learn from the competition, but leapfrog them when possible.
When we need additional category expertise, we source from our network of experts around the globe (surpassing three-thousand members). With their help, we can tackle almost any challenge our clients throw us.