Articles - Coaching

Becoming a Change Agent

After a successful C-level career in global banking, Eamon Mulligan took the leap to become a 'change agent.’ As a transformation leader, he advises companies and academic organizations on transformation, technology and operations, and financial services. Eamon shares some of the key lessons he has learned throughout his career and during his time at HEC Paris.

 

WHAT ARE THE KEY CHANGE MANAGEMENT CHALLENGES FACING COMPANIES?

 

In change management, companies are faced with the challenge of a morphing industry. They need to acknowledge that 1) numbers are not enough for credibility – people need visualization in the form of compelling narratives as well, and 2) there’s a move from classic and scientific management theories and measures to capabilities that create community-oriented experiences that in turn generate new economic opportunities and business models.

Legacy organizational principles created specialist yet siloed, uncooperative structures. Embracing a more multi-discipline approach has been a critical factor in the success of disruptive phenomena such as FinTech and RegTech. Specifically, these models are not driven by internal worldviews and legacy productivity constraints.

 

DIGITAL DATA IS AT THE HEART OF THE NEW ECOSYSTEM

 

“We’re at a pivotal point,” says Eamon, “where we’ve gone from relying on a small subset of sparkling, trusted, defined data, to going back to the real world, which is not clean and well-defined but complex and emergent.” Google Flu used an innovative big data correlation approach to predict the spread of a U.S. flu epidemic more accurately than the traditional cause and effect analysis of clean ‘analogue’ data.

The production and consumption of digital data is now at the heart of everything we do. 90% of the world’s data was collected in the last two years, and 80% of that data is unstructured (social media, email, etc.) Eamon’s takeaway from this new data paradigm: “We can observe reality as it happens, in its unaltered state, and provide an alternative lens to expert opinion.”

 

BUSINESS MODELS, SHARING ECONOMY AND UNDERUTILIZED RESOURCES

 

Users of “digital-on-the-go” can be connected to global communities, anywhere, and anytime. Eamon gives the example of VizEat, a digital platform used in 110 countries that allows you to a book a meal at somebody’s home. Much like Airbnb, VizEat leverages underutilized resources, yet in addition to the culinary dimension creates a unique cultural experience. “There are now many new innovative business models such as the sharing economy which combine a wide range of technologies, and most importantly leverage the paradox of the old with the new”.

 

CHANGE TOOLKIT

 

Eamon emphasizes that corporate change is not just about the technology but co-creating new outcomes by visualizing situations through different lenses and leveraging wider technical and adaptive tools. He sees fundamental new roles appearing such as the ‘innovation coach’ and ‘systems thinker’. For Eamon, the Consulting and Coaching for Change program at HEC Paris is an extremely rich source of relevant tools and practical insights. The key for transformation leaders is to apply and leverage these tools, concepts and research in real world interventions.

 

DISCOVERING YOUR 'INNER GRAIL'

 

Eamon credits the collaborative efforts of professional psychoanalysts, method drama, and situational activities that helped bring his strengths and passions to the surface. One mantra from the course “If you can’t change yourself, then you can’t change other people and wider organizations,” particularly resonated with Eamon. Participants were encouraged to find their 'inner grail,' which, once discovered, often inspires them to go in a new direction.

He believes we are at a significant organizational tipping point. Driven by creative combinations of technology such as digital, big data, block chain, and the internet of things, new functional journeys and wider community-based operating models are viable. This new interconnectedness is also creating contradictory dis-intermediation in many industries.

Eamon plans to capitalize on his accumulated lessons in this age of profound organizational, economical and societal change.

“My goal is to turn this knowledge into a practical organizational maturity model and roadmap. By combining both the technical and adaptive dimensions, we can ensure organizations embrace digital disruption and emergent complexity, and are ready to grow.”