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What is change management?
Under the deal 7-Eleven Australia were to take over the retail outlets as well as the 105 ‘above store’ staff (i.e. corporate and management) and 1750 store employees. 7-Eleven Australia also had to anticipate the impact of the changes on its operations including finance, HR, marketing, merchandising and supply chain and other management, administration and operational functions. Essentially it had to manage the merger of two similar but separate corporate entities, without alienating key stakeholders, whilst still operating within the highly competitive retail convenience market.
In its simplest form a change management process can assist an organisation to move from a ‘current state’ to a ‘desired state’. There are many different change management processes with slightly different steps; however these processes usually include three main phases.
A change management process allows an organisation to develop a consistent planning and implementation framework that sets down clear objectives for relevant stakeholders. The development of this action plan unites stakeholders in the pursuit of common goals and supports communication and transparency.
Throughout its preparation phase, 7-Eleven Australia undertook extensive planning and consultation. This included confidential legal, financial and operational planning at executive and senior management level, as well as planning related to the acquisition itself. Activities associated with this planning phase included broader goal-setting, the development of key timelines and the establishment of key working parties and committees to drive the integration of the two entities.
Once the acquisition was announced on May 27th, 2010, the company moved into its integration phase. Key planning decisions were delegated and became shorter-term and more tactical so as to drive and support the logistics of the integration. 7-Eleven Australia established three discreet timelines to manage the change:
A platform of seven key objectives were developed (below) and communicated to all relevant stakeholders as integration priorities.
One of the most effective tools that can be used as part of a change management process is a SWOT diagram. A SWOT diagram allows an organisation to analyse its internal strengths and weaknesses and major external opportunities and threats that it might face. As an example, 7-Eleven Australia could be said to have been facing the following strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats leading up to the acquisition.