In my previous post I described why a large number of change leaders will be needed in the transformation to electromobility. Countries do not have enough power available to fuel all vehicles with electricity. It is as simple as that. Cars, batteries, and charging posts are not enough. A wider perspective needs to be taken on the change.
Many areas need to change, and it is not likely that all the organizations and people that need to participate will do everything necessary without a lot of people coordinating the process. There will also be a need for financing on a large scale and the technologies, products, and services that are on the market right now are not mature and competitive enough to grow rapidly without support.
In this post I will go into some of the areas where change management will be needed and explain how you can prepare to take a role in the development. Whether you are a student preparing to enter your vocational life or if you are already working you can build a career driving this change.
What Is Change Management?
Large companies like General Electric, IBM, and Ericsson have found that change does not happen because top management have told the organization to change or set a goal for a new development. In order to change, companies need to create an organization that drives change – a “change programme.” This is because most people prefer to continue with the present way of working and change as little as possible. Even if most people express support for a change, for example to launch offerings that open up a new market, there are always strong forces that counteract change. The most powerful is often the inadvertent tendency of people to work with things they know and are comfortable with and a reluctance to engage with new tasks. People need support to think and act in new ways and make decisions that put the status quo out of balance.
If change is difficult in departments of large companies, consider how much leadership will be needed to drive change in entire countries. There will be a need for change programmes, the “Apollo” type of effort that put two persons on the moon in 1969. But the Apolllo programme was different from changing transport systems to eletromobility. The goal was to put a man on the moon before the end of the decade. Now, the goal is to change hundreds of millions of vehicles to electric drive and make it possible to charge them all whenever they need to be charged, wherever they are at the moment.
You will be needed! If you understand people, want to learn new exciting skills, and help move society into new and uncharted territories, you may be just the right person to become a change leader.
Structuring Change Programmes
Change projects, like the Apollo programme, are run in a structured way, maximising the chances of success. In his book “Change Management Handbook” Peter F Gallagher presents the three focuses of the leadership of change with its subtopics:
- Programme Change Delivery:
- A Change Management Framework – a structured approach to achieve business change.
- Change Processes, Tools and Techniques- important concepts used to drive change.
- Employee Change Support:
- Change Adoption Support – employees need to be supported through the change process through the use of a “change adoption model.”
- Behavioural Change Support – employees need to develop new behaviours and should be given support through a model for this.
- Organizational Change Alignment
- Leadership – leaders need to lead the change and get support in doing this.
- Organizational Structure Alignment – the organizational structure needs to support the change and structural changes need to be made to achieve this.
The methods of change management are applied in organizations that need to change. Even with structured change management the risk of failure is high. Without change management it is highly probable that change will fail.
In the transformation to e-mobility, change management will have to be applied on many levels and in many places:
- Nationally by governments and government agencies.
- By industry organizations, political parties, and other organizations that influence high-level decision-making.
- Companies will have to align their strategies to change programmes in different countries and drive change in their organizations in line with national and regional programmes.
- Regionally by regional governments, utilities responsible for regional power grids, and regional industry organizations and other influencers.
- Locally by municipalities that need to make detailed plans of charging infrastructure, utilities that need to expand power grids in places with increasing demand, operators of charging infrastructure, parking companies, real estate companies, shops with parking spaces, and so on.
All of the above types of organizations will in different ways need employees who understand the change and that are able to take different roles in the process. If you start to learn about the change process now, you can apply for jobs or take on roles as opportunities emerge.
Why Will Change Management Be Necessary in the Transformation to Electromobility?
The change to e-mobility will be very complex and will over time in each country involve hundreds or thousands of companies and organizations with different goals and ways of working. The change process will affect all countries and all parts of society in one way or another.
Technologies and products for e-mobility are at an early stage in their development and they are more expensive compared to existing alternatives. People are not aware of how they are going to approach the change or what roles they can take.
The probability that the change will succeed is low without structured change programmes aimed at different parts of the value chains of the industries that will be involved.
You can drive the process forward by informing friends, family, and colleagues about the need to take part in the process. You can start to apply for jobs related to e-mobility, knowing that this will be a growing sector in the years to come and that the change will be absolutely crucial to the future of our society.
Why is This an Opportunity for You?
Your efforts and the efforts of hundreds or thousands of other change leaders organized in structured change programmes will be crucial for success.
Governments, local municipalities, utilities, and large companies will realise that there is more to e-mobility than cars, batteries, and charging infrastructure. There is no point subsidising the sales of cars and the building of chargers if there is not enough power available to charge more than 20 or 30 percent of cars and a small number of trucks and buses.
High-level decision makers will soon realise that change needs to be planned and coordinated using change management principles. Then they will start looking for change management professionals with knowledge about the different aspects of e-mobility and how the new systems need to be structured and built. Make sure that you are one of those experts. The change process will continue over decades and there will be plenty of work to do for those that will take the leading roles!
Who Will Need to Take Part?
People in many industries, sectors and walks of life will have to contribute and there will be a need for hundreds of change leaders in each country to lead the development in different areas. There will be plenty of room for you and you will not regret that you started to learn.
As citizens we will be involved in many ways and most people in their working lives and at home will need to learn about the change. The change to electromobility will change three entire industries and create needs to expand several more. The automotive, transport, and fuel industries will have to change completely. The entire point of the transformation is that they completely cease to produce and sell the products they produce and sell at present and either go out of business or convert to new products and services connected to electromobility.
Utilities will have to expand significantly through e-mobility and other developments that are run in parallel. Countries will need increasing amounts of power to fuel electric vehicle fleets, but many also plan to convert industrial processes to electricity to reduce emissions, use electricity to produce hydrogen as a fuel for industrial processes, start up large-scale battery production, and expand data centres for Facebook, Amazon, Microsoft and other Internet services. For example, to realise the electrification strategy of the Swedish government power production needs to more than double and the situation is similar in many other countries. Electricity is on the rise. Fossil fuels, combustion engines, filling stations for petrol and diesel, and many other things are on their way out. The change will be massive and we have barely seen the beginning!
Change leaders need to understand that electromobility is special among the developments that will drive the expanding demand for electricity. A battery plant may need large amounts of power, but they will need it in one location, requiring a large supply of electricity to their production plant. To convert vehicle fleets to electricity all vehicles need to be charged, regardless of location. Enough electricity will have to be available in all parts of countries.
Join the transformation! Change to electric drive and put your brain in gear! But do it with your eyes open and blinkers removed!