Tuesday, July 16th, 2024

Fast-Track Change Process

What Is It?

The Fast Track Change Process is a fast, focused, highly participative methodology that produces strong commitment to organizational change among employees at all levels. Clients have used this process with great success for the design and implementation of two broad types of organizational change:

  • Strategy Implementation: Implementing strategy or solving strategically important business problems requiring changes in structures, processes, and/or systems
  • Process Redesign: Redesigning strategically important cross-functional business processes

See descriptions of actual Fast-Track projects and their results.

How Does It Work?

One of the features of Fast Track that accounts for its rapid pace and strong track record is the fact that each project has clear, strong executive sponsorship. Project Sponsors have three key roles:

  • Clarifying all major project parameters up-front
  • Making yes-or-no decisions about the redesign team’s recommendations at the end of the 4-day redesign event that constitutes the center-piece of the methodology
  • Providing strong leadership during the (usually) 90-day implementation phase

The right people were involved with the planning and redesign, and the decision-makers were immediately available to provide commitment for follow-through and implementation. This allowed objectives to be accomplished in an expedited fashion, especially in areas that need immediate improvement.

— Participant evaluation

The Fast-Track Change Process is structured into three phases:

Phase 1: Scoping and Planning

(~6 weeks)

Executive Sponsors participate in a few meetings to clarify a focal issue of high strategic import. With the help of the Lead Consultants, they “scope” the project in writing. They make very clear to everyone who will be working on the project what the objectives are, what the “givens” are and what is “off-limits.” The Sponsors also select a Planning Team that has the job of designing an intensive event (usually about three-and-a-half days), where needed changes in organizational structures or processes will be designed.

The Planning Team, with the help of the Lead Consultants, fine-tunes the project scope, decides how many redesign teams will be needed (usually 3-5), recruits the team members, and puts together the background information people will need to read before the come to the event.

I learned that rapid change processes are actually possible! The pre-work to specify the scope, desired outcomes, and challenges really focused the effort. Also, the decision-making coaching for the Sponsors. We should use this tool frequently.

— Evaluation by Executive Sponsor

The corporate commitment was evident and gave the process force. The use of external consultants helped in building Sr. Management teamwork and gaining their collective buy-in.

— Participant evaluation

Phase 2. The Redesign Meeting

(~3.5 days)

At the center of the Fast-Track is a intensive event called the Redesign Meeting, usually attended by 35-50 people who know the process and have a strong stake in its improvement. After a general orientation where they receive a charge from project Sponsors, participants break into teams and work very intensively with specially-trained Team Consultants. The Redesign Meeting includes a number of mechanisms that ensure integration and alignment among all participating teams.

The teams prepare a coordinated set of recommendations to present to Sponsors on the last half-day of the Redesign Meeting. At that time, the Sponsors make yes-or-no decisions about these recommendations. The Redesign Meeting ends with clear decisions for implementation, commitment of the necessary resources, and great deal of enthusiasm among people at all levels.

The speed with which things got done was great. The Redesign Meeting is great for compressing a huge amount of work into a short time-frame.

— Evaluation by Executive Sponsor

Other [change efforts I’ve been involved in] were no way as effective. This was swift, accurate, taken seriously, and highly prioritized. At the Redesign Meeting, we got literally one year of work done in 4 days, with immediate feedback and buy-in.

— Participant evaluation

Phase 3. The Implementation Phase

(~90 days)

Fast-Track also includes a fast-paced, well-monitored Implementation Phase. Each redesign team in the Redesign Meeting has a Team Champion. Immediately after this meeting, these Champions come together with the Project Champion to form the Implementation Team. This team translates all the approved action items into a project plan.

During this phase, with on-going leadership and support from the project Sponsors, the people who participated in the Redesign Meeting make sure all approved recommendations are implemented within the targeted time-frame. Status review meetings are held at 30, 60, and 90 days, attended by project Sponsors and the Implementation Team. The final meeting is a celebratory event, where all who participated are recognized for the part they played in the success of the project.

The keys to success were: Clear planning up-front, action plans with details and timelines, the yes/no decision-making model, and senior level commitment.

— Evaluation by Executive Sponsor

The time-frame was intense but productive. It usually takes years. Clear deliverables and excellent planning resulted in a successful outcome.

— Participant evaluation

See descriptions of actual Fast-Track projects and their results.

If you’d like to learn more about the Fast-Track Change Process, please contact us.