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Starting change in the right place

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If you want to be more successful at change initiatives, focus attention on the employees who have the most influence over the daily work that needs to be modified, rather than trying in a scattershot approach to get everyone on board initially, three consultants suggest in the McKinsey Quarterly.

Marco Gardini, Giovanni Giuliani, and Marco Marricchi of McKinsey & Co. point to a national bank in Europe that developed a new organizational model but failed to implement it, because it used the traditional approach of mass communications to staff and a series of executive road shows.

Realizing behaviour hadn't changed, the consultants shifted focus to employees who could implement the changes most quickly. They looked for people who had a direct, substantial impact on the desired results; those connected to a large number of subgroups in the bank; and those whose could actually decide how people get things done.

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They worked first with branch managers and then built out to others to get the changes going. In utility plants, the consultants note, maintenance supervisors are the people to focus on; in retail apparel, it's the store manager.

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Special to The Globe and Mail

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About the Author
Management columnist

Harvey Schachter is a Kingston, Ont.-based writer specializing in management issues. He writes Monday Morning Manager and management book reviews for the print edition of Report on Business and an online column, Power Points. More

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