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Middle management: a critical link for transformation

Studies show that the success of business transformation projects depends primarily on employee commitment. However, the traditional approach to change management, which nevertheless leads to the failure of nearly 75 percent of projects, consists in placing middle managers at the heart of the transformation process. While middle managers may be the driving force behind their team’s acceptance of changes in the field, should they be the only proponents of change? The Inside Success Lab, the first think tank dedicated to business transformation, met last May to discuss the following questions:

  • What is middle management’s role in the transformation cycle?
  • What direction and assistance should middle managers receive so that they are able to meet their responsibility to support transformation?
  • What KPIs should be implemented in order to measure middle management’s commitment to and impact on transformation?

Roles and responsibilities of middle management

What is the role of a middle manager?

Middle managers appoint team leaders or department managers within a company. Generally speaking, middle managers are found at all levels of management. In terms of transformation projects, some companies confide in their managers, explaining the impetus for change. This allows managers to fully support upcoming changes. In any event, middle managers are tasked with taking ownership of these changes as well as implementing them. 

While the role of the transformation director is to embody the transformation,