In our 35+ years of change management consulting, we have never once come across an organization who told us they have way too many resources with too little to do. Who are we kidding? We’ve never even met a client who had the right amount of resources for their current portfolio of initiatives!
The truth of the matter is, you will never have the full complement of resources needed to implement a business change. There are just too many other projects out there chasing the same limited resources you are. This means, you will most likely have less time, fewer people and/or insufficient financial support for what you are being asked to get done.
That’s why Don Harrison, developer of the AIM Change Management Methodology has spent so much time recently talking about the need to target the scarce resources you do have to maximize benefit in the shortest amount of time. Sounds simple, no? Don’t worry, we can help.
Invest in Next Generation Change Management
When it comes to using your limited resources for change management, you have a choice. You can “do” a full change management process in a step-by-step fashion or you can employ Next Generation Change Management, like the Accelerating Implementation Methodology (AIM) to guide you on what to do based on the day-to-day realities of the project.
AIM is a flexible process based on what is occurring at the moment, rather than what is next on the to do list. It was designed to guide Change Agents to be focused on both planned and unplanned, high-impact interventions at the time they are occurring.
The AIM process is based around 10 core principles that are meant to be the central cog in your project management protocol no matter if you are working in a Waterfall or Agile environment. These 10 principles provide directional guidance to Change Agents on what they should be doing to have the most amount of impact on the implementation. And, with the rate of change at an all time high how can anyone afford not to have every action make a direct impact on the bottom line?
How to Make the Most Out of Your Limited Resources
Rather than falling into the quagmire of being very, very busy without making an actual impact on an implementation, Change Agents need to be focused on the core principles from AIM including:
- Building a Cascade of Sponsorship - Whenever you are in a situation with limited resources, your first priority should be to ensure you are building the cascade of Sponsorship you need. When you have Sponsors at each level of the organization that express, model and reinforce their commitment to the business change, you get acceleration. Since active Sponsorship represents a factor of 50% or more of the likelihood of implementation success, you should always make certain that you are asking for what you need from your Sponsors by using a well-planned Sponsor contracting process as the framework for your conversations.
- Defining the Change in Terms of the Behaviors You Seek to See - The end goal is adoption and behavior change, not the technical installation of the change. That’s why the starting point for every change, whether it is transformational in scope or a minor procedural one, has to be a clear and compelling change definition that includes identification of the human behavioral changes in the future state.
- Building Readiness Early to Reduce the Costs of Managing Resistance Later - If you spend some of your resource energy early in the project life cycle on building readiness (and this requires more than top-down communications through email, a website, or similar common communication plan elements that have no feedback loop) you’ll spend less time and need fewer resources dealing with resistance later.
- Developing a Reinforcement Strategy - Reinforcement is the power lever to motivate behavioral changes. If you don’t change the reinforcement, you won’t get the change. Period. Change Agents need to focus on working with their Sponsors to implement appropriate reinforcements (both positive rewards and negative consequences) with the Sponsors’ direct reports. But remember, reinforcement management is more about the daily interaction between the Sponsor and their direct report and less about their formal compensation.
The more quickly and efficiently an organization can implement change, the more resources it has available for other strategic initiatives. Given the scarcity of resources in organizations today, using those limited resources to greater efficiency just makes good business sense. While many organizations think change management is just a “nice to have” process if there is time, we know better. Applying process, rigor and discipline to the people side of a change will allow you to use your limited resources for the most amount of impact…fast.