It’s late summer 2022; a recession is clearly looming; the seismic decision we took six years ago to abandon relations with our neighbours & biggest market will reverberate for decades; industrial confidence is volatile; and I have time on my hands to think. Here is an occasional series of observations and conclusions on change and transformation in the real world.

  • This is MY take on practical change. Treat these posts as a prompt for your own thoughts and if you disagree, free to ‘switch off’. Alternatively feel free to rip into these words with the usual social media gusto which might spread the message wider 🙂 
  • This is not an academic paper with claims to rigour; so I have not re-examined the texts on change & transformation from my own MBA two decades ago to see what they say; but then it doesn’t need to be. All books on change are by their nature a reflective – observing it, being involved with it or being subject to it. 
  • Rather it comes of 40 years of critical thinking: beginning as an 18 year old engineering undergrad; carrying on to a career spanning a multiplicity of sectors, processes, companies & roles; being the result of 20 years as an outright trouble shooter/change agent; culminating as a  trouble shooting MD.
  • My thoughts come as much from those times that went badly as from those that went well  and if anyone reading this thinks “ah it didn’t work here when I knew you” then either I failed and learned from it, or the environment/senior leader in place meant it never had a chance. I know of no place where the lessons I draw COULDN’T have worked. 
  • Very rarely do you get a free hand to put everything you’ve learned into practice. I was lucky. In an immensely varied career I had the chance to do just that with a great set of people, a superb set of owners and a wonderful management team at the Probat Gmbh owned MacIntyre Chocolate Systems, at Arbroath. Liberated, ‘they are now flying’. 
  • What the team and I achieved there applies to any organisation: manufacturing company/group, hospital, church, utility monopoly, service organisation. You just have to ‘get it’ and then be prepared to ‘see it through’. 
  • This is an attempt to distil the essence of making change happen. Too often we ‘kick ass’, sack people, waste time & energy reorganising and avoid doing the ‘hard yards’ of fundamental change. It usually fails.
Categories: Change