Organisational Change Management Volume 1

Framework 26 Performance Leadership

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(Woodside Energy Ltd's Framework for Organisational and Behavioural Change)


Woodside has grown from a single-project, operating facility to a multi-project, multi-product organisation across many locations in Australia and the world energy stage. This rapid growth has stretched the organisation.

In the past its culture has been driven by best practice systems and processes at the expense of a strong focus on the people and values. Recently the organisation has adopted "performance leadership". This involves being driven by performance and is focused on both the formal and informal - on the best practice add-on people; on documented structures, systems and processes; on the day-to-day ways of working.

The performance management process involves a set of core and leadership competencies that focus on how people achieve their work and what they do. The processes reflect and endorse the values and behaviours promoted throughout the organisation. More focused personal development plans and specific conversations between managers and employees are central to the people strategy.

During people reviews, the business unit and corporate management teams discuss the development and future capability of every employee in the area of responsibility, identifying future talent and ensuring development plans for each individual that are appropriate.

The organisation's work on the attitudes, mindsets, values and behaviours of its people are the driving force for the change project. The more people change, the more they recognise the need to change, the more accepting they are of change and the bolder encourage others around them to change. This creates a self-perpetuating cycle - a learning organisation

Woodside's purpose statement is

"...enhancing the quality of life by meeting society's energy needs in ways of which we are proud..."


Step 1 - Do Your Homework

This involves researching, assessing, testing and dismissing a number of performance, change and leadership frameworks. In selecting the appropriate framework and approach, careful analysis (including intuition) is used. The choice has to be highly effective for business and strongly endorsed by employees

Step 2 - Lead From The Top

Leadership needs to be highly visible and passionate. When working in the areas of values and behaviours, over-invest in the top team as role models

Step 3- Appoint A Skilled Team To Drive Change

Pull in people who know about change and who bring a different perspective and range of experience - whether consultants or a few new recruits. It is hard to drive change solely from within

Step 4 -Tell A Great Story

Frame major organisational change as a story of complete transformation, not just a program. Paint a picture of success. Link it tightly, providing examples that help people understand their part. Most employees want to know the context, understand the background and hear about the management models and theory

Step 5 - Build A Network Of Informal Leaders, Change Agents

At every opportunity such as business forums, etc act as focal points to drive formal and informal initiatives, and provide the core change team members with support and encouragement. Find these people, cultivate and invest in them, and endow them with knowledge, contacts and support

Step 6 - Use Emotional Intelligence To Obtain Energetic Shifts

Changing people's everyday behaviour requires mindset shifts. Need to go beyond visible behaviours to values, beliefs and needs, then embed those mindsets in work teams in day-to-day accepted behaviours and norms, supporting them with formal systems and processes

Step 7 - Manage Expectations Carefully

Expectations create excitement; expectations lead to action; action leads to change. But only build people's expectations if you can deliver. Disappointment can be a great disabler

Step 8 - Achieve Critical Mass Quickly

If you can touch a critical mass in the organisation over a short period of time, you have a far greater chance of success. You are more likely to achieve a shared vision and sense of expectations, a language for change, and a united ability to manage the inevitable critics, obstacles and cynics

Step 9 - Allow Your Cynics To Be

Critics and experts can derail any good idea, but only if you allow them. Work to hear, understand and address concerns of people resisting change if you can. Then, if you believe you are doing the right thing, move on without them. These people will either fall in line or fall off as your leadership, your network of change agents and you achieve critical mass

Step 10 - Take Time Out

This will provide you with critical insights. It will also ensure your resilience over a long haul. Change is exciting, challenging and dynamic. But those who work in it everyday understand that it can be very demanding at a personal level.

(source: Anne-Marie D'Arcy, 2002)


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