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Change Management & Transformation – Why Centres Of Excellence Are On The Rise

Date: 24 June 2015

One of the hottest topics of the moment is the emergence (or rise in popularity) of Centres of Excellence within organisations.

This isn’t only something our specialists have noticed – in a recent blog article from the multinational management consulting firm McKinsey & Company, it is noted that organisational redesign and transformation initiatives are an almost permanent state of being for a number of businesses. According to a piece of research from the McKinsey group, 60% of respondents said they had experienced organisational redesign within the last 24 months.

This is a striking figure, as in the past such changes would have been much rarer, with professionals experiencing only a few organisational redesigns over the entire course of their career. But despite such widespread developments taking place across a number of industries, it was found that fewer than 25% of respondents were successful in their redesign efforts, and 33% failed to meet change objectives.

What can businesses do to help employees and professionals make the most of change initiatives?

This is where Centres of Excellence come in. These are particular teams or facilities that are known for providing expert advice and producing best practice guidelines; with this in mind and the rise in change management initiatives in the news, it’s no wonder that Centres of Excellence are hitting the headlines. Not only this, but in-house consultancies are also becoming more popular as businesses hope to utilise the knowledge and skills of top-tier management professionals to help maximise the impact of business redesign.

There are examples of big-name companies opening Centres of Excellence within their organisations; Bacardi, the drinks conglomerate, has set up two Centres of Excellence in recent months – one in Bermuda and one in London. There are also examples of industrial supply chain specialists investing huge amounts into Centres of Excellence – a Teeside steel firm in the north of England is one example; but also in the energy sector, where a regional Centre of Excellence is being developed in the Pacific Islands to boost the use of renewable energy in the region.

Considering the impact of change

Both Centres of Excellence and in-house consultancies need to consider the psychological impact of change initiatives. In research from the Corporate Executive Board (CEB), it was found that the anticipation of change can be more off-putting than the change itself. Centres of Excellence need to be strategically set-up before the change initiative even begins, to help staff understand the process and come to terms with what needs to be done.

HR departments have a critical role here, ensuring that change management delivers the business objective, as well as having a positive impact on the workforce. Preparing the workforce for such change initiative and desired end results is a vital part of that process and having HR professionals involved in planning and implementation will ensure that key company values are adhered to.

This further evidences the trend that HR leaders are not only acting as strategic business drivers, but are essential in the change management process. Their role should drive employee engagement, succession planning, staff retention, and the accurately assess the impact on growth plans.


With this in mind, having the right team in place to manage a change management process is critical. Contact us for more insight into how Centres of Excellence are changing the business world, as well as for finding talent or opportunities within this space. 




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