How to Eliminate Underperformance in Your Engineering Organisation Faster

By Heather Campbell

Do you want to see changes in your organisation, fast?

We all know the popular saying about how Rome wasn’t built in a day, and it’s true that real, sustainable change doesn’t just happen overnight. However, there are ways that we can work together to implement behavioural and environmental change within your organisation in a reasonable timeframe.

I’m going to discuss some of these below, and also address some of the concerns you may have about making changes in your organisation.

How long does change take?

Firstly, that’s like asking me the length of a piece of string. The changes you want to see in your organisation could take anything from five months to five years, depending on two major things:

  • The size of your organisation
  • The depth of the changes you want to see

How quickly real change can be implemented across your workforce will also depend very much on the resources you can make available. When working with an external partner to eliminate underperformance, it is important to work closely together with them to set realistic goals and develop a programme that produces sustainable, measurable results in an agreed timeframe.

An example of this is when I helped a division of around 100 people within one organisation see significant, measurable change over a five-month period. Over that timeframe, my colleagues and I worked closely in partnership with that division, using a number of workshops, coaching sessions, consultancy discussions and online support to managers.

One critical element was that during that time, the senior leadership team worked closely with us and worked hard to apply all the tools and techniques we recommended, organisationally as well as individually.

Defining change

Another key factor is defining the change you really want to see. For instance, perhaps you want a more agile environment, or to provide a better service to your customers – but what does that really mean?

Before any tailored programme can be put in place, it’s important to work together to pinpoint exactly what those changes will be, as well as how quickly you’ll be able to see them. Once you have solid goals to work towards, it becomes much easier to implement the actions you’ll need to see positive changes in your organisation.

Sustainable change

One of the key things I want to point out here is that faster change doesn’t always mean sustainable change. Speed needs to be balanced with sustainability, and to see sustainable results, you need to work on changing deeply embedded habits – something which isn’t always possible overnight.

One of the reasons training programs alone do not achieve sustainable change is that the organisational environment does not change in a way that allows people to apply new, more effective behaviours.

Sustained, significant change means putting time and energy into achieving it, just like any strategic or major operational change within your organisation.

Remember that change in behaviour – not just change in knowledge – takes time, and speed isn’t always the biggest thing to consider when measuring results in your organisation.


The good news is that yes, you can see faster results in your organisation, provided you have the resources, realistic goals and a clear plan.   Short-term wins at the expense of long-term sustainable change are not advisable.

Putting in a bit of extra time and effort now will be worth it at the end of the day.

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