If your managers think they know everything about resistance to change… they might well need to think again. In our 30+ years of Change Management Project Work, we’ve seen many implementation projects where leaders say they understand resistance is a natural part of the change process, but are still taken by surprise when they actually start to experience it. Especially if the leaders view the change as an upgrade or improvement!
In the Accelerating Implementation Methodology (AIM) change management methodology, developer Don Harrison defines 4 crucial implementation roles as a CAST of Characters. Sponsors are defined as those who authorize, legitimize and/or demonstrate ownership for the change (Authorizing Sponsors) or reinforce the change at the local level (Reinforcing Sponsors).
Whether you call it a perspective, a paradigm, or just “the way I see it”, Frames of Reference (FOR) are not optional. Everyone has a Frame of Reference, and often they have multiple FORs. For example, in a healthcare environment, a nurse may have a personal FOR, a departmental or work function FOR, and a professional FOR. The ranking of these FORs in importance varies by individual.
Recognize this: if you are implementing an ERP, Lean/Six Sigma, Shared Services, a new Patient Care Model—you are under-taking transformational change that has a cultural change component. When you begin the transformational change journey, there are inevitable truths your leaders must come to grips with! This is not just a change for the project team, or the organization at large. It is a change for the leaders themselves, and their role can’t be overlooked or under-estimated.
Every change management methodology includes some type of toolkit. Our proprietary Accelerating Implementation Methodology (AIM) is no exception. It offers a multitude of tools including assessments, forecasts and templates, because there's no question… checklists, templates, and surveys all have a place, and each has value for change management practitioners. But some change management methodologies stop there. They are primarily driven by a set of checklists, templates and tools for Change Agents “to do”—in other words, they are activity based.
Walk into almost any large corporation and we bet you will find at least one (if not more) of these changes in their change portfolio: shared services, mergers or acquisitions, ERP/technology updates, customer-centric strategies, and other one company solutions. These enterprise-wide changes can all be significant strategic solutions to critical business problems or market opportunities. In fact, “one company” business models can markedly improve customer satisfaction, materially reduce operating margins, utilize resources more effectively, improve internal collaboration, and position the organization to respond quicker to changing market conditions. The ROI is staggering. But…so is the investment required!
In conversations with potential change management consulting clients about a troubled project, or about the need for a change management methodology in their organization, they will invariably mention past projects that have failed but have not been forgotten. There is the ERP implementation that was quietly withdrawn, or the acquisition that has never been fully integrated. There is the shared services implementation that hasn't delivered the intended value.
WHAT SHOULD CHANGE ABOUT CHANGE IN 2017
2016 has been a year of dramatic shifts across the world that signal significant changes and disruption in the political world. What this means for organizations is still not fully known.
What is predictable, though, is that the ability to change will be even more important. Those organizations that are adept at implementing new, and often radically different, strategies will thrive. Those that cling to the past and ignore the need for change capability (with sufficient resources attached) will face challenges that may even threaten survival.
Mercy Healthcare is the 5th largest Catholic Healthcare System in the United States. They have facilities in 4 states and employ over 40,000 people. Between the Affordable Healthcare Act, plus sweeping clinical and operational changes, Mercy is typical of the crazy, busy world of healthcare today. In fact, they are a complex, innovative and forward-thinking organization that considers “change” a constant part of their lives.