Tim Morton, founder of Prompta tells us about strategic change management.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Tim Morton: I’d be lying if I said it’s been easy. It’s really been a roller-coaster for us. Like so many other families, we have had our ups and downs, but we’re finding creative ways to manage and support one another. We count our blessing that even during a pandemic, we still have the comforts of home. We are separated from family and friends, and that’s hard, but we realize that it’s been much tougher and more trying for others across the globe.
Tell us about you, your career, and how you founded Prompta.
Tim Morton: What a great question! I founded Prompta (which means readiness in Latin) in order to create a different type of consulting company, one squarely focused on values and character first, where diversity, acceptance, inclusion, equity and respect guide everything we do. Before starting Prompta, in my role as a global change management leader, I would support Executives to lead courageously, and I felt like a hypocrite when I asked them to get out of their comfort zone; however, depending on the client and on where they were located, I didn’t feel safe to bring my whole self to work. It was important for me to lead a company where everyone could be genuine and authentic, without fear, hesitation, or worry, and our clients would know that we would respect their people and business culture as well. I couldn’t be prouder of what Prompta has become. In 2016, we were certified as Canada’s First Diverse Management Consulting Firm by the Canadian LGBT+ Chamber of Commerce (CGLCC). In 2017 we were globally certified with the NGLCC, and proudly in 2018, we were named the LGBT+ Canadian Business Enterprise of the Year.
How does Prompta innovate?
Tim Morton: As a change management consulting company, we had seen change managers around the world still relying on decades-old approaches for managing change with antiquated templates and tick-the-box methods that in many cases didn’t properly prepare business readiness, user adoption, and employee engagement. To innovate, we developed Prompta AI, which we call “Change Management for the digital world,” which is an innovative enabler, which is greatly improving business transformation success rates. It leverages NLP, Machine Learning, Topic Modeling, and Sentiment Analysis to improve employee engagement and change readiness. It allows change managers to uncover deep insights and provides for timely, data-driven, and measurement-based change management. The knowledge gained from Prompta AI insights is leveraged by project managers, change managers, business leaders, and steering committees to inform action plans and enable business adoption. It’s been a real game-changer for our business, our clients, and change management globally.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
Tim Morton: Our business initially got clobbered because of the pandemic, and revenue plummeted, so often change management consulting is often one of the first things that businesses cut back on during hard times. Like many other businesses, we had to get creative and become more resilient, pivot our offerings, find new partners and adopt new ways to support our client base. We had found that we weren’t getting traction on many of our traditional streams of change management work, such as IT, ERP, and CRM programs, and Merger & Acquisition (M&A) / Divestiture Business Integration. Thankfully with our investment in Prompta AI, we have been able to provide more change management support on Digital Transformations, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Culture Changes (DEI Audits), and most recently, change management focused on Return to the Workforce (RTW), which is proving to be an incredibly tricky change for leaders to manage.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Tim Morton: Sadly, we did have to make some very difficult decisions. It was extremely tough, and never the conversations you want to have. Since our beginning, we took pride in living our values and principles. It’s been so difficult to see that the tough decisions we are making are impacting someone we so deeply care about and their loved ones. We have tried to limit the impact as much as possible, and the support from the Canadian Government has helped to minimize the impact. The biggest lesson for me is to not try to sugarcoat how bad things are. When revenue plummeted early in the pandemic, it would have been better to share that stark reality with the wider team. The other big lesson for me is that no one wants to get bad news, but if you are honest, transparent, and upfront, they may not like what they are hearing, but they will better understand and trust.
What specific tools, software, and management skills are you using to navigate this crisis?
Tim Morton: Well, I’m trying to be kinder to myself and more empathetic to others. I also realized early on that I needed to put my mask on first before helping others as my energy was really getting depleted by all the ad hoc requests for support conversations. I also now begin each day without jumping on my phone and count our blessings, and acknowledging things I’m grateful for each morning. I’m also practicing a little more mindfulness and meditation. For our clients, Prompta AI has been a game-changer. It has provided a way to understand the voice of the employee and target change management spend to real issues, not perceived problems.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Tim Morton: We have a very broad array of competitors, which includes large global and regional consulting firms as well as boutique change and transformation consultancies. Our competitor is really any organization that provides change management services on business, IT, or culture transformations, M&A integrations, or organizations focused on improving performance, productivity, culture and diversity, and inclusion. We’re going to stay in the game by focusing our efforts on helping companies on their D&I journey, on their Return to the Workplace, and in Digital Transformations, and we will continue to innovate our Prompta AI platform as a key differentiator.
Your final thoughts?
Tim Morton: We are nearly a year into this pandemic, and someday it will end. One of the things we will be judged on after this is how did we treat our employees, our customers, our partners, and clients. It’s more important than ever to act with courage, with integrity and stick to our values and treat one another with dignity, respect, honesty, and openness.