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BPI Awaken Phase – Case for Change

Blog: Biz-Performance, David Brown

BPI Awaken Phase – Case for Change

Case for Change.png   


  • A highly-compelling justification (from the client perspective) of why the organization must change. The Case for Change creates a common understanding amongst key     decision-makers as to the broad challenges that need to be grasped and the importance for addressing them quickly.        
  • In awakening to the immediate/longer-term actions required to confront the new reality, one or more possible “levers for change” (factors over which management has direct influence) will emerge as critical to future business success:
    • Strategy/business positioning
    • Product/service offering
    • Business processes
    • Technological     leadership
    • People and social systems
    • Structure
    • Environment/regulations.


  • Establishing a strong Case for Change fosters a deep understanding and ownership on the part of key     decision-makers of the problems at hand. It engages all senior executives, and ultimately all employees, in facing the challenges of the future. The leadership team’s “buy-in” to the Case for Change enables senior management to present a united, credible front to the organization.
  • Unless there is full management (and, ultimately, employee) support for the need     for change, the subsequent BPI exercise will have a weak foundation     and become easily derailed (or its implementation will become     unnecessarily drawn out).    


The Case for Change is the critical Awakening phase deliverable that provides the impetus for completing the activities of the Envision phase. (In many an organizations, it is necessary to begin work on the Internal Organizational Overview, Business Position and Holistic Business Model as tactics to help establish a compelling Case for Change.) A Case for Change is developed by describing the company’s current situation, and placing it in the context of the new business realities it now faces. This constructive confrontation of the current business “paradigm” with the emerging threats/opportunities for survival serves to “awaken” the leadership team and generate a climate of urgency. (Strategic Analysis Framework)
  1. Meet with Chief Executive Officer (or equivalent) and other senior executives to discuss business issues.
  2. Review existing analytical information on the company’s competitive position and key business problems.
    1. Identify sources of benchmark data that highlight the current and future business challenges. (Benchmarking)
    2. Map any historical trends on revenue, profitability, market share, morale, industrial controversies etc. (Company Baselining)
  3. Obtain agreement on who needs to be involved in the process.
  4. Design a workshop to facilitate the development, by the leadership team, of a compelling case for change.
  5. Pre-interview a representative sample (at least) of the leadership team.
  6. Conduct the workshop.
  7. Debrief the leadership team.
  8. Formalize the agreed-upon Case for Change and the process for communicating it more widely within the organization.



  • The role of the Chief Executive Officer (or equivalent) is sometimes contentious. Advise that he/she adopt the role of “participating equal”. Coach him/her on how to handle likely conflicts that may emerge from the adoption of such a role.

Tactics/Helpful Hints

  • Identify ground rules that will facilitate candor, creativity and focus. Provide open access to all information gathered and analysed prior to the workshop.
  • Focus on external drivers and opportunities. Encourage “constructive dissent” about the meaning of the data and the relevance of drivers and opportunities.
  • Use a     technique such as Five Shared Basic Concepts to facilitate open discussion of the alternate views within the leadership team about the purpose and future of the organisation, and the degree of urgency for change.
  • Design a workshop format that allows for maximum involvement of participants. Keep lectures and formal presentations to a minimum.


  • Facilitators should adopt a non-expert role and should concentrate instead on group dynamics and     on encouraging openness between participants.
  • These     interviews and workshops are potentially sensitive and require careful positioning and experienced facilitation. The preparatory phases leading up to a workshop are critical. More than one workshop may also be required.
  • As the Case for Change is made known across all levels of the organizations, similar tactics will need to be adopted (at later stages of the BPI initiative) to bring other managers and employees on-side. These     efforts are identified as part of the Communications Plan.

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