Before becoming the bootstrapping startup founder of The Change Shop, Robert Smith worked as a management consultant helping large enterprises like PepsiCo, Polo Ralph Lauren, the U.S. Department Health and Human Services and UBS Bank transform their operations. The goal was to help these behemoth organizations become faster and more efficient by getting people involved and committed. Many times, his clients operated in silos or had gone through merger after merger without any real operational or people-focused integration. As a consultant for most of his career at the world’s largest management consulting firm, Accenture, he had access to some of the best change management tools and toys but as often happens when you have too many smart people working on complex problems, he found those tools actually made it harder (not easier) to get people to change their attitudes and behaviors. Not only did he have to do his day job as a change leader advising executives, he found himself having to learn complex change tools and methodologies that didn’t always line-up with his client’s needs or concerns. Smith says, ”Frankly, it was difficult to juggle learning and compiling change management data and stakeholder inputs while also managing client interactions, meetings, project financials, onboarding new team members, etc. If this was a struggle for me and I was doing this every day, this has to be challenging for leaders who have to manage change as well as their regular day jobs.” Most companies cannot afford expensive consultants to help them manage complex changes so they get by without having the change management support they need and just skip it altogether. The most commonly cited statistics by change management researchers is anywhere between 60-70% of organizational change initiatives fail.
He figured there must be a better way of helping organizations transform themselves so he pulled together a team of developers and set out create what he calls, “the most usable workplace change management platform on the planet”. Combining his systems integration (SI) experience, his doctoral thesis on workers’ commitment and resistance to organizational change, and his experience as a change management consultant, Robert launched The Change Shop™ to tackle these challenges head-on. “The platform was designed to contain everything the average change leader needs to collect team members’ feedback about organizational changes taking place and use those insights make decisions about what can be done to make the change process better,” says Smith.
Robert has a forthcoming book about his experience working as a change consultant and his research on highly engaged commitment to change, titled, Selling Change: How Successful Change Leaders Use Impact, Influence, and Consistency to Transform Their Organizations. In it, he outlines his dissertation research findings. He also introduces the commitment model that serves as the basis for the platform. The Change Shop isn’t just for ‘leaders of change’ anyone can take the free personal assessment to see how they fall on the commitment vs resistance scale. Organizational change is hard work, Smith is working to make the tools for managing it easy.