Howick Associates


Change Management (please click here to open)

According to a Conference Board survey, 82% of the respondents identified change management as a priority for their company. This is in no doubt at least partially driven by Deloitte and Touche's finding that 66% of change/improvement initiatives fail or, worse, create a new set of problems.

Research suggests the greatest obstacles to effectively executing a change are:

  • Employee resistance
  • Middle-management resistance
  • Poor executive sponsorship
  • Limited time, budget and resources
  • Corporate inertia and politics

Source: Best Practices in Change Management; Prosci Benchmarking Report (2003)

We believe our approach eliminates these obstacles. A successful change initiative must include:

  • A guiding coalition with a sense of urgency around the change
  • A project plan for the change with defined scope statements, clear task identification and realistic timeframes
  • Leaders who are skilled in working closely with people on a change
  • Engaging key stakeholders early in planning and decision-making
  • Is supported by a consensus among leaders that this is a strategic priority

Our services includes:

Consulting on Change

Our consulting services include 2 areas:

  • Work with organizational leadership teams We help leadership teams talk about the implications of various change initiatives on the organization and to deal effectively with the inherent conflict and prioritization opportunities that arise as a result of employee needs, competitive pressures, mandated changes, strategic changes, process improvement activities, etc. Executing a change in a closed system requires an appreciation for all the other changes occurring in that system and their impact on people’s time, individual attention spans, resources, skill levels and available energy.
  • Work with individuals responsible for leading a change

    We work directly to coach those responsible for leading a change, their teams and key stakeholder groups necessary for change success. Heavy emphasis in on planning, building the guiding coalition, facilitation methods to increase stakeholder involvement, project monitoring, problem solving and project team dynamics.


We offer a variety of learning experiences based on the specific objectives of the organization. As a result of our training efforts, participants will be able to:

  • Understand the importance of leadership as a project sponsor in managing specific changes
  • Understand how leaders need to coach, mentor and inspire people
  • Understand how project management tools create a proactive framework for engagement
  • Apply John Kotter’s model for Leading Change as a framework for planning and executing change initiatives.
  • Apply the Pyramid of Engagement as a framework for analyzing engagement and communications opportunities in change initiatives.
  • Understand the role project team leaders play in helping organizational leaders manage the organizations appetite for change.
  • apply fundamental elements of project management and identify opportunities to engage the project team in their individual project work and understand why these elements are necessary for project success.

We believe project management acumen creates a powerful planning approach which is proactive by design and places heavy emphasis on communications, attention to detail and wise use of resources. Above all project management is a team sport! It also provides a wonderful platform to actively engage employees and other stakeholders in a series of conversations not only necessary for project success but building lasting commitment and a lowering of resistance to the project. It can put people back in control vs. feeling the change in being “don to them”.

Fundamental elements include the following:

Project Initiation: Defining project objectives, success criteria, project roles and responsibilities, initial estimating, identifying key stakeholders, conducting a Project Initiation Workshop and creating a communication plan.

Project Planning: Creating a work breakdown structure, defining roles and responsibilities, facilitating realistic estimates, creating consensus on project schedules and conducting a risk analysis.

Project Execution and Control: Interacting successfully with key stakeholders throughout the project lifecycle, scheduling activities, identifying the critical path, performing project monitoring and reporting and managing requests for change.

Project Closure: Gaining final approvals, conducting lessons learned analysis and evaluating the project.

Performance Management (please click here to open)

High Engagement Performance Management

An effective performance management process ensures results by developing a partnership between manager and employee(s). The process serves as a framework for defining expectations, providing feedback and reinforcement, and developing competence, confidence, and commitment.

Virtually every organization struggles at some point with the process and mechanism that aligns employee goals and performance with organizational strategy and results. Surveys show that neither employees nor their managers look forward to the annual performance and feedback discussion that typically occurs in most organizations.

Howick Associates brings our expertise in leadership and performance management along with our tools in employee engagement and change management to help you create a process that everyone in your organization will appreciate and use to drive better results and more satisfying performance.

Performance Management Redesign

At the heart of many ineffective Performance Management Systems is a lack of buy-in and commitment from managers and employees. Participation is typically mandated by the organization (most times through HR) with the goal of a merit increase. Unfortunately, this often results in a process that is viewed within the organization as burdensome, bureaucratic and lacking value.

Our redesign of Performance Management Systems involves building both manager and employee commitment by engaging key stakeholders in the redesign process. This involves working with senior leaders to develop a clear project charter, gather feedback and input from all employees and facilitate an internal design team to create a new system. During the redesign process we leverage our experience in facilitation and change management to ultimately help you create a Performance Management System that supports your organization's strategic goals and is perceived by managers and employees as personally valuable.

Performance Management Consulting and Training

An effective performance management process develops strategic partnerships, serves as a framework for defining expectations, provides feedback and reinforcement and develops competence, confidence, and commitment.

Often we find that an organization's dissatisfaction with the outcomes from their performance management system isn't a result of the wrong processes but an inability to effectively execute. Therefore, we provide training and facilitation support in the following areas to help your managers and employees to be more effective within your current system.

Increasing Employee Engagement (please click here to open)

There are many variables that contribute to an engaged employee, ranging from clarity of expectations, having the right equipment, quality of supervision, relationships with co-workers, and contribution to the workplace. We believe that in order for employees to be committed to, energized by, and proud of their work they must be involved in issues that matter to them.

We believe that effective change management requires leaders who are willing and effective in engaging employees through real involvement in the changes important to the organization. Real input and involvement generates strong commitment to the result. Strong commitment by employees reduces resistance and risk and increase implementation success.

Our approach to supporting organizations in this effort involves:

  1. providing leaders with the skills and tools to bring employees together in meaningful and productive conversations,
  2. helping organizations develop the capacity to support leaders in initiatives requiring employee commitment and accountability,
  3. providing direct support to large change efforts within organizations through high engagement methods.

One of the key resources we draw on in these efforts is our Employee Engagement Toolkit. This toolkit is based on our Employee Engagement Model and provides leaders with a menu of activities to effectively engage key stakeholders in change initiatives. These activities are laid out with step by step facilitation instructions providing leaders with the confidence to try new engagement approaches and successfully execute them.

Succession Planning (please click here to open)

Through our work with leading organizations, we have seen the tremendous challenges that lie ahead in finding and developing the leadership talent that will support our clients as they strive for profitable futures.

Just as the number of potential, experienced leaders is decreasing due to demographic changes, the demand for them is increasing. And, the complexity and competitiveness of today’s business environment is also increasing, giving even experienced leaders more challenge when it comes to maintaining or growing their businesses.

Succession planning is all the more critical in this environment, yet many organizations still fail to adequately address this pressing business threat.

Working within the Leadership Development and Results (LDR®) Framework, we provide a variety of services that help organizations create and implement succession processes that help meet their business needs.

These services include:

  • Assessment Design, Methods, and Tools: helping your organization to collect data for decision making on succession and leadership development. Our clients have found that this data can be used to:
    • Drive organizational and senior leader commitment to succession planning,
    • Determine high potential status and readiness for promotion,
    • Determine a high potential candidate's focus for development,
    • Clarify the quality and gaps in the organization's leadership bench strength.
  • Senior Leader Alignment on Succession: We design and facilitate conversations, frameworks, and agreement among leadership teams about criteria, development processes, readiness and selection of leaders.
  • Design and Integration of Succession Management Systems: Using the LDR® framework as a starting point, we assist organizations in designing and implementing approaches that are effective and link to other aspects of their leader development system.
  • Communication Planning and Support: We provide support in creating and implementing communication plans that engage appropriate employee groups at all levels in the succession development process.
  • Change Management Strategies & Tools: Adopting or modifying succession processes has implications through out all levels of the organization. We provide strategies, tools, and methods that ensure acceptance and use of your organization’s vision for succession.
  • Individual Development Plans (IDP’s) and Coaching: Individuals within the succession process may require external support to create and execute development plans. We provide executive coaching services to assist in their success.

Leadership Development Program Design (please click here to open)

Our approach to developing leadership programs is guided by our systems model for leadership LDR model. This model provides us with several key assumptions we make in partnering to design leadership programs:

  • The most effective leadership approaches are not contained in a box - they are defined by the unique business strategy of the organization. As a result, effective leadership varies from organization to organization.
  • Leadership is a process that can be described and systematically improved to enhance business results.
  • Effective leadership means engaging in a series of specific behaviors to produce desired results.
  • Leadership behaviors can be described and systematically learned.
  • New leadership behaviors must be practiced and reinforced if they are to be learned.
  • Feedback is a key component of an effective leadership development process.
  • The environment of the organization will influence the extent to which leaders will be able to incorporate these behaviors into their leadership style.

While each project is different and requires a unique approach and design we typically provide support through the following phases:

Phase One - A compelling vision, clear mission and values. The starting point of any leadership development initiative is the existence of a compelling vision of the organization's future, a clear mission, and the organizational values necessary to support them. We support organizations in developing vision, mission and values through:

  • Conducting an assessment on current organizational alignment
  • Designing and facilitating large group planning to create vision, mission and values
  • Facilitating a variety of methods to collect and integrate employee, customer and managerial perspectives
  • Assisting in the identification and articulation of key organizational values
  • Designing and facilitating senior management planning processes
  • Providing guidance and training to support effective communication of the vision, mission and values throughout the organization.

Phase Two - Defining the future culture within the context of mission, vision and values.

When the mission, vision and values are clear, the next step is to define the desired culture. This is accomplished by asking leaders the question, “how will our world be different when we have realized our vision?” Desired culture is the way work will get done in the future, the way employees will treat customers and each other, the image the organization will project. We assist organizations in defining the future culture by:

  • Designing and facilitating large group planning to define the future culture
  • Conducting an assessment of the current culture
  • Designing and facilitating a benchmarking process to learn from other successful organizations with similar values
  • Designing and facilitating discussions among senior managers to define the future culture

Phase Three - Identifying the desired leadership practices (Leader Competencies)

Vision, mission and values are designed to be comprehensive and encompass all that the organization believes about the way it operates. In order for them to be comprehensive they are usually expressed in general terms.

In many organizations there is no clear link between these strategic objectives and how leaders should behave. The creation of a clear set of leadership practices enables leaders at all levels of the organization to understand the key behaviors they need to exhibit in order to ensure the accomplishment of the key business results. Our approach is outlined under Competency Development.


Phase Four - Linking leadership practices to performance management and succession planning.

The performance management and succession planning processes are seen as key components of the leadership development system. As such, it is vital that the leadership practices which link organizational strategy to daily performance are highlighted, emphasized, and measured in these processes.


Phase Five - Feedback on individual leadership practices.

This is accomplished by the use of customized multi-rater feedback. Once the organization defines leadership practices, individual leaders receive multi-rater feedback on their leadership practices.

This process enables individuals to determine the degree of alignment between their own leadership practices and organizational strategy. It provides an opportunity for leaders to have in-depth discussions with their colleagues and customers about the effectiveness of their leadership practices.

This dialogue is the beginning of a process to determine what the individual leader is doing to ensure alignment and what they are doing which may prevent it. It is also a method for benchmarking the current leadership practices in the organization.


Phase Six - Applied Learning Process

While traditional leadership training should play a key role in an organization’s overall leader development efforts it is important to recognize the opportunity and value both stretch assignments and learning from others bring to an individual development plan. The key components of this phase are:

  • To help participants understand specific leadership practices in need of improvement,
  • To help them design a strategy to collect additional data about those practices,
  • To develop an action plan for improvement that incorporates stretch assignments, learning from others and training experiences.

Competency Development (please click here to open)

We believe an organization’s leadership competencies should define the “vital few” leader behaviors necessary to support the strategic direction of the organization. These competencies should be the “thread” which connects key leadership development processes such as performance management, succession planning and leadership training. Steps in developing leadership competencies include:

  • Senior Leader Alignment on Competencies: Senior leader support of the competency development process is critical and there is no better way to gain commitment than to involve them from the beginning. We design and facilitate sessions with senior leaders to
    1. orient them to the importance and the process of competency development and the role they need to play;
    2. identify “exemplar” leaders in the organization to involve in the process; and
    3. identify the leader behaviors they believe need to be emphasized.
  • Competency Identification: To identify the key leader behaviors we engage “exemplar”leaders across the organization. These are leaders who have consistently demonstrated their ability to successfully lead others and get results. We collect this information in a focus group and/or interview process, analyze and summarize our findings and bring back to the organization a draft set of leader competencies for edit and approval.
  • Integration with Existing Leadership Processes: Once the leader competencies are identified we work with you to integrate them into your key leadership processes - i.e. succession planning, performance management, leader training. This ensures that these critical competencies receive the focus and support they deserve and provides the “thread” so often missing between these key processes

Building High Performance Teams (please click here to open)

Building and maintaining effective teams is an on-going challenge in most organizations. This, coupled with the increasing need for high performing teams due to increasing business complexity and competitive pressures, creates a potentially significant performance gap.

We believe that for effective and lasting change to occur in any team, the team members must be engaged in each step of the teambuilding process. This means designing and facilitating a process that allows the team to:

  1. clearly articulate their team charter and expectations of each other
  2. assess their past performance and identify gaps
  3. identify and commit to specific actions and behavior changes that will improve the performance of the team.

Ultimately, we see our role as helping to “jump start” the changes necessary for the team to perform at a high level and then equip team members with the ability to monitor the team's effectiveness on an on-going basis and make necessary corrections along the way.

When you're ready for change, we're ready to help.

Care to Learn More?

Send an email to Drew Howick at drew@howickassociates.comm to request more information or to discuss the best solution for your situation.

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4906 Wakanda Drive   â€˘   Waunakee, WI 53597
Phone: 608-284-8416