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Big bank’s tech division invests in change management at the executive level


Our big-four banking client’s financial technology division is at the forefront of innovation: it’s an industry leader in creating new capabilities and methods in cyber security, artificial intelligence, cloud storage and banking. Technological developments and regulatory changes demand that the division is exceptionally good at thriving in and ensuring long-lasting change… but the change delivery for its tech solutions was inconsistent and inefficient. Despite investing over $9.5m in specialist change resources each year, as well as almost $1bn in overall technology, spend, with 3,500 full-time employees and more than 6,000 contractors and consultants, its change delivery lacked the quality to drive support for the capabilities in which the bank invested. Blue Seed was asked to complete a change maturity diagnostic, using our Seven CQ Elements Change Maturity Model, and to provide recommendations to radically boost the overall organisational change maturity and offer improved consistency, quality and overall return-on-investment of their huge portfolio of change programs.


We identified two main areas where the bank was falling short. Firstly, the technology business lacked a well-defined change management operating model that would deliver high-quality, predictable and efficient change processes and outcomes on every program. There was a strong consensus that improvement was needed – many executives admitted “change management is important but we do it poorly” – and we also noticed that change management was not well understood. The change function had become limited to ‘training and comms’, lacking the strategic elements that drive true awareness, understanding and support, such as designing effective narratives, conducting leadership alignment activities, and budgeting adequate time and resources for change managers to drive, track and measure user adoption and support. This transactional approach was largely due to there not being an executive accountable for change management and no defined operating model for change management that could mandate the strategic approaches to be taken. To solve this issue, Blue Seed recommended centralising the change management function and appointing a single executive tasked with:

  1. Accountability for end-to-end talent management of all change managers, especially focused on attracting, rewarding and retaining the best change talent in the market
  2. Accountability for driving consistent quality and efficiency across programs (by removing siloes, allowing knowledge-sharing and community support)
  3. Being a ‘change evangelist’ and driving divisional leaders and middle managers to play their part in leading change
  4. Driving Blue Seed’s recommendations in a two-year Change Management Improvement Strategy

Secondly, the firm had a problem with under-performing change capabilities, meaning its change management policies, methods and culture did not support best practice. The diagram below summarises the change capability issues rated against Blue Seed’s Seven CQ Elements Change Maturity Model: detailed recommendations were provided to address the issues rated medium (amber) and high (red):


This major bank’s operating model for delivering change faced an overhaul after Blue Seed’s recommendations were endorsed by the group technology leadership team. This included centralising the change management function and appointing a senior executive with full accountability for managing change; implementing a change adoption and support measurement approach; and enhancing program governance practices, leadership and culture that placed higher emphasis on users and employee experience of technology changes. Other recommendations were to enhance talent management practices for change managers, including remuneration, to attract and retain the highest performing talent in the market, and to develop executive and middle-manager change leadership capabilities. The new centralised model will drive consistent quality and efficiency in the next two years but it has been agreed with the client that, as with any operating model, it will be reassessed annually to measure its effectiveness, overall improvement and fitness for the future. Read our report on the true ROI of change management here.