Hi, I am Chinenye Ikwuemesi, a transformation specialist, strategist and writer, with a focus on Business Transition, how brands are built and stay relevant through the growth and opportunities afforded by properly managed change, which necessarily includes project transition and change adoption.
I have built, write and edit for the website chinenye.co.uk to explore change management and the importance of business project transition and change adoption and its criticality to successful projects.
I live in London, love travel, family, and like most people, I have a range of interests including books and writing, as well as the outdoors and cooking amongst many other things. I love seeing a big idea take shape and go right and that’s why I love being a change management practitioner, as a strategist, a project/program manager, business transition specialist or coach. I also am a co-founder of Iconify Consulting which works on transformation projects from brand to business and purpose to process. I cherish the process and journey as much as I strive to attain the right outcome because ‘doing’ the process right assures the outcome better than any factor.
I love reading about a wide range of non-fiction topics but fiction is my first love. I am re-reading Orwell’s 1984 for obvious reasons at the moment. I also love cooking, baking and creating and making cocktails and recipes. The latter is the safest expression of my adventurous side as being as adventurous with baking has yielded some frankly ruinous results. I use cakes and cocktails analogies and use their images rather than boring office ones where possible, because who doesn’t like cake or cocktails or both?!
My name, Chinenye, appears to challenge some and many people end up saying what you see above. Also Chinye, Chanel, Sinead, Shinara – I’ve been rechristened every day of my life so I have no issues about how it’s pronounced but since people frequently ask, I will say it’s easier if you go silent on the second ‘n’!
The Change Approaches I Proritise
The focus on successful business transformation is too often procedural or stuck on strategy but the truth is that the defining patterns of success in projects is to do with people and how well and completely they can be equipped for the transformation of the business and their ways of working, This is my passion, this is where there is still so much scope for improvement and integration, for making truly great strides in the completeness and sustainability of change.
Why Business Transition?
Business Transition is crucial for engaging stakeholders, planning and assuring cutover and ensuring there is a risk management process and a readiness framework in place to ‘land’ your project’s benefits delivery. This is essentially how you ensure your project is successful on the metrics that matter the most, although it is much overlooked or tacked on as an afterthought.
Business Transition Evangelist
The purpose of business transition is the envisioning of what the post-project landscape should look like for people and the integration between people, new systems and processes put in place to support change adoption. It puts the necessary focus at an early stage on how change adoption is enabled and people equipped for it. During the change, I am the bulldog you need. I do not give up easily, I find ways around problems. Post the change, you’ll love what I put in place to ensure your brand new structures and processes achieve their full potential and that the benefits delivered are truly embedded, fully adopted and sustainable. I work hard and collaboratively to ensure toxic environments don’t arise – they throttle honesty, self-esteem and willingness to try new things for fear of blame; they throttle innovation.
As a transformation specialist, I believe it’s important to keep what makes the brand unique in focus or build the capacity and support to sustain the brand into the benefits delivery. That’s why the confluence of people and the operating model matter so much to me. This is extremely useful because of the emphasis it places on the user experience of the transformed systems and operations and on the customer’s experience of the transformation outcomes. Sustainability comes from this and Brand power is assured by it.
Change Management and your Brand
True business transformation, involves innovation and the systems that foster it and I am perennially interested in what makes that happen. During the change but also after. So interested in fact, that I wrote my MBA Research Project on it!
The press is awash with failed projects that have led to reputational damage through overruns, bad implementations and terrible feedback from project resources as well as stakeholders. That’s bad project management and change management practitioners should be concerned with the variables that can reduce the risk of this happening. A focus on your precious brand reputation means cognisance of overall brand strategy. The change management process should be concerned with how impacted the brand is by change activities and how to create opportunities for strengthening the brand through aligning transformation strategies with business purpose and objectives. I have worked at a product, project, program and assurance level and have explored the change journey from a range of perspectives.
Implementation considerations for successful transformations must center on methods for persisting the changes made and ensuring they are fitted to foster collaboration, empower growth and even innovation.
Project Transition and Change Adoption
My main and enduring interests are to understand how to design change and implementation frameworks for business transformation programmes to maximise the value that delivery teams can build and contribute. I have worked to understand, through experience, reading widely and research and testing, what it takes to facilitate and empower them to make and sustain improvements and innovation. By exploring the patterns and practices of excellent programme management and governance especially with regard to powerful stakeholder engagement, motivation and management, I have learned it’s critical to institute processes that support effective people-driven change and change adoption. This means the perception of the community of users and all impacted staff must be empathetically, sensitively and rigorously managed to assure their committed and timely participation. The success of the change management exercise can best be assured through an intentional and wide-ranging business transition strategy.
Agility beyond Agile
Like many change management practitioners, I have worked on Waterfall, Agile and hybrid methodologies. While I am a natural proponent of the Agile methodology given my background in software development and testing, (I am an unstinting advocate of Agile for dev teams for the wider program), I understand that the extent to which methodologies can be adopted is dependent on the capability maturity of the business- more on that here. As a result, I embrace pragmatism in the application of methodologies focusing on what works best in the shortest possible and most economic and sustainable way for the client.
- I take risks but also anticipate and plan for the most critical risks regardless of likelihood and implement a risk and readiness framework.
- I like to keep my word so I am honest and pragmatic about what can be achieved and I only vary this if the evidence on assumptions and issues change.
My purpose is to find ways to generate additional value or recover value that may otherwise be lost by considering how projects could be run better run, save more money and better increase user and customer experience. I know from experience that Business Transition is critical to this. My aim is to add an enriched view of existing practices and perspectives by overlaying them with suggestions and practices backed by my proven experience. This means you can deliver change management projects that are holistically successes with sustainable benefits delivery.