Category Management:  Building an Internal Change Management/Consulting COE

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We were approached by a very forward-thinking CPO of a very large global company (Hi CB! 😊) who had totally embraced the concept of Strategic competencies being critical for her organization.  In fact, she challenged us to help her develop a COE (Center of Excellence) in her organization that would deliver Change Management and Consulting services globally for the Sourcing and Supply Chain group.  At one point we even discussed the possibility of her COE offering those services to other parts of the company.  She knew we had done exactly that when we launched a similar group at Chase.  Unfortunately for us (and fortunately for her), she ended up being promoted to head up a business unit before she could execute her plan.  That engagement is still on my bucket list – are there any likeminded forward-thinking CPO’s like her out there?

I thought you might be interested in some of the thoughts we shared with her.  These were some of the overall competencies we laid out for this COE:

Mobilize commitment of people to a change initiative:  This is a fairly obvious one because unless you can create a “pull” for the initiative from those getting impacted, life is very hard for the change agent/consultant.

Transfer change /consulting skills to leaders and employees:  Clients of ours will quickly recognize this as our constant mantra on every engagement.  We look at this as simply something that we owe to every client and therefore, so should the internal COE.

Create processes to generate and sustain change throughout an organization:  Again, a very obvious competency for a COE.

Evolve the culture to reflect the change in organizational values and behaviors:  This one caught her by surprise, but she eventually came around to accepting the fact that her COE was going to have an impact on the culture, and she should embrace that as a feature.

She realized that the combination of Change leadership and consulting from this COE would lead to significant increase in benefit realization AND she wanted to reduce the dependency on external help.

One of the next discussions we had was identifying what were going to be the critical competencies and behaviors that would be required for the people in the COE.  Since we had already built a similar and very successful COE, we had some lessons learned to draw from and here is what we ended up with after she made some critical additions to it.

  • Facilitating effectively
  • Thinking analytically
  • Thinking creatively
  • Managing conflict
  • Providing feedback
  • Delivering effective presentations
  • Working collaboratively; creating networks; teaming
  • Leveraging power and influence
  • Using human relations or interpersonal skills
  • Developing plans and managing projects


Would your list be similar?  What would you add to it?  Would the culture of your organization influence this list? How would you go about helping your people acquire these competencies?  Should your people have some of these even though you may not want to set up a COE – would it help them be more effective in their roles?

And here are some additional considerations that I offer without commentary due to blog length etiquette.

  • Apply change leadership knowledge and skills to realize the benefits
  • Manage and permeate the boundaries between the organizations’ ongoing operations and the deployment of the initiative
  • Develop a consulting style with flexibility to meet a variety of influence situations
  • Design and use processes, models, strategies, and tools to engage effectively with people and organizations dealing with change– helping people through their natural reactions to changes and the organization’s ability to sustain change
  • Create a Consulting/Change Management consulting certification to ensure skill acquisition
  • Build a knowledge management system around Consulting/Change Management

Developing these competencies by your people can and has been done.  These are also critical for your organization’s success.  And if you help your people gain these competencies,  they will be thankful to you for the rest of their professional lives (I can vouch for that from personal experience 😊).

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The Mpower Group is in the business of Mpowering our clients to accelerate superior business outcomes by unleashing the full potential of their Strategic Sourcing / Supply Chain organizations. We are a global consulting firm dedicated to serving the needs of Fortune 500 Strategic Sourcing & Supply Chain organizations.

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