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Houston Chronicle Interview: Mark Hordes


"My Job is to Help Companies Ease the Pain of Change"

Whether it's retooling a manufacturing process to cut downtime or getting employees to take personal responsibility for company safety practices, change is a constant in corporate life.


Mark Hordes' job is to help companies and their employees get on the same page about these changes. The senior vice president and principal of organizational excellence and change management at MHMC, LLC, a consulting firm in Houston, Texas, has been helping companies manage the process for more than 25 years.


Hordes recently shared some observations with The Houston Chronicle about the human side of business.


Q: What types of client projects are you brought in on?


A: It's a shift in anything in the business strategy. It can be for both manufacturing or services companies. It cuts across most market segments. It's really about the people side versus the technical side.


Q: Who comes up with the idea to make a change?


A: It typically comes from the top. Senior leadership decisions based on feedback from the marketplace, from their own staff about what they are hearing from customers. It could be from the CFO who says we're not making enough money.


Q: How often is change management successful?


A: Most companies have not been very succe


A: It's a shift in anything in the business strategy. It can be for both manufacturing or services companies. It cuts across most market segments. It's really about the people side versus the technical side.


Q: Who comes up with the idea to make a change?


A: It typically comes from the top. Senior leadership decisions based on feedback from the marketplace, from their own staff about what they are hearing from customers. It could be from the CFO who says we're not making enough money.


Q: How often is change management successful?


A: Most companies have not been very successful with this. Only 55 percent of change management initiatives met initial objectives. Only 25 percent of those were actually sustainable over time. That's pretty sad.


Q: Why do people resist change?


A: They don't understand the business case for the change. They don't see it as necessary. They can't identify what's in it for them. They feel threatened by it. They don't see the support that is there. Or the company is doing so many changes that their absorption level is completely exhausted. We have something called the rule of three, which basically means you will have difficulty successfully implementing more than three major transformations at one time.

Q: What can organizations or companies do to get people on board?


A: Prioritize the biggest necessity at any given point in time. Once that prioritization is established, they need to spend a fair amount of time getting the organization ready for the change, and that involves a lot of communication with the workforce, their manager, their colleagues and their partners in the business.


Q: What do you do when you encounter someone who just refuses to change?


A: What you've got to put into place here is someone who leads the change management effort who has universal respect in the organization. When they put the wrong person in there, you could have all the right reasons for the change - if, at the end of the day, they don't like you, it's immaterial to them. They just don't support it.


Q: What if a change leader is asked to implement something he or she doesn't agree with?A: There is a responsibility to feel that they have a right to challenge constructively. It's important to show the pros and cons of it. Sometime a boss says: Do it anyway. I don't care. You try to do it a little different where you think you can get the greatest amount of support.Q: What industries do you consult for?


A: I work a lot in the energy and in the manufacturing space. That's my core. I have mostly focused on the human side of projects versus the product side. I'm out at the plant on the floors with different shifts.


Q: How much does it cost to make these change efforts?


A: You could have anywhere from 12 to 15 percent of your budget for the initiative just for change management support. Those companies that try to do it on the cheap? You know the old saying. You get what you pay for.


Need Help with your Change Management Projects?


I can help.


Contact me @ 713 416 1781

mark@hordesconsulting.com

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