Managing Change in a Growing Organization

By Amanda Zinke, MBA, MSOD, PCC.

Recently a company I have the privilege of working with was tackling a huge change project. They have grown in the last several years and are more complex, adding more people, systems, and processes. What used to work in managing a change was no longer effective. And they had run into unexpected consequences and challenges in the last year when rolling out smaller changes.

I could understand this, because in the past they had simply been able to come together organically: people would understand what was going on and staff would volunteer to do different parts of the project. The firm had a CEO who chose a more directive leadership style and people would go do what was asked of them.

Now the story was different. The CEO had empowered his team to lead their own functions. He was inviting them into major decisions and expected them to work together. However, the organization, though now a more diversified, empowered company still had some challenges as the structure and processes, the team and organization needed were not yet in place.  

They are now a more siloed organization — split by function. The executive team and next level of management don’t have regular times to meet to discuss what opportunities, challenges and changes each of them are facing. They don’t have one clear way of regularly communicating, or clearly defined boundaries and processes.  Because of this their previously free-flowing change management style was not working.

The DACI Change Model

Given the need to quickly manage this change, I introduced this team to the concept of DACI. DACI is a model (which is a further iteration of RACI) which can help us define what roles individuals should play in managing change. 

The Model identifies who: 

Drives (leads) — this is the person who is the conductor. They are identifying dependencies, key milestones, ensuring the groups are all in harmony, sharing obstacles and presenting solutions.

Approves (final say) — just as it sounds, this person or these people get the final say in what, when, how and who. The Driver should know how the approver feels ahead of time and manage to their needs and wants. The approver should be informed of any obstacles and share proposed solutions with these folks after having been vetted by the greater group. 

Contributes (as decision maker in certain parts or as advisor) — these people are often in update meetings, and may own functions or other pieces of the project. They may need to advise around issues or obstacles they see, or respond with votes on how to address issues that are cropping up.

Informed (people who get information about the change) — these folks can be informed of all or certain parts of the change process (or even regular workflows).    The informed can be inside or outside of the system (vendors, clients, partners, or whole groups). They may not be taking an active role, but they are regularly kept up to date so they know about the change ahead of time, and then accept and maintain the change during and after completion. 

These roles might be iterative, or different for different parts of the project or change.  However, just sitting down to talk through who the right person is, and getting them to agree to take on this role can be enormously beneficial to companies struggling to manage change — which I often see as companies grow to around 60 people, and again at just about 120 to 150 employees.

Of course, many more tools are needed to manage change. Effective meetings, clear decision-making, a strong foundation of trust, and a Change Communications Strategy which addresses all levels and functions of the organization are also incredibly important. However, DACI can help you manage change much better with clearly defined roles, than without it!

To learn more about managing change and evolving your leadership skills, contact Amanda for a consultation.