If your organization is implementing a change, whether it is transformational in scope or a minor procedural adjustment, you will face resistance. It’s inevitable...someone, somewhere is going to let it be known they don’t like what’s happening.
It sounds so obvious when we say, “The end goal of every transformational change should be full benefit realization.” Duh! Of course. But in our change management consulting work we see so many organizations who get to the “go-live” or the cut-over date of a project, declare it complete, and thus… successful. But the fact is that go live has nothing to do with getting to full implementation! Your transformation is not “done.”
One of the most significant questions organizations face in implementing a change is how many resources will we need to implement? And following this, where will we need them? The Who’s Who of a change implementation can be complicated. Who are the Sponsors and who are the Targets? Are the Sponsors Authorizing Sponsors or Reinforcing Sponsors? Are they all located in one department or are they scattered throughout the organization?
A few weeks ago, the CEO of Ford Motor Company was fired. The reason: the company was not moving fast enough to compete in the upcoming automated car market. It’s a real world example why speed isn’t just a nice to have… it’s a business necessity. The need to do a better job of delivering faster, better change has never been greater. Quite simply, organizations who are able to implement faster are one step ahead of their competition, ultimately meaning they are more successful.
Have you ever walked away from a discussion with a Sponsor feeling like you didn’t get exactly what you had hoped for? Have you had a Sponsor gladly offer “support” but then that very same Sponsor is unwilling to commit personal time for the project when it’s really needed? It’s a common Change Agent challenge!
Your organization’s culture is arguably your greatest strategic asset. Your competitors can potentially match your product or service by creating a marketing strategy as equally as powerful as yours. But, no other organization has your culture. It’s what makes you successful in what you do. So, what happens when your culture and another organization’s culture are supposed to merge into one?
We’ve all experienced it. The quiet whispers in the break room; the angry outbursts in a team meeting; the under the breath mutterings in the hallways. Phrases like, “This is never going to work.” Or, “I’m not changing the way I’ve done my job for the last umpteen years.” Or one of our all-time favorites, “We tried this years ago, and it didn’t work.” Change Agents and Sponsors face these and many other forms of resistance on a daily basis.
One of the greatest challenges of implementing large-scale, complex change is that very often you will be confronted with multiple Sponsors. They all bring their own visions, political agendas, and "Frames of Reference" to the change. Some are stronger than others. How many of these scenarios sound familiar?