Tell me if this sounds familiar. Your organization is getting ready for a major change. The “go-live” date is drawing near, and someone says, “Oh wait! We need to do change management!” Someone else says, “Don’t worry, we’ve got that covered. A mass email is going out next week, the website will go live right after that and there will be several social media posts as well.” Excellent. They definitely have that covered. I’m sure this change will be very successful (insert eye roll here).
“Let’s start at the very beginning. A very good place to start.” While the well-known song lyric is about teaching a group of children to sing, the sage advice also applies to implementing strategic business or clinical initiatives.
On a recent new technology implementation for a major, global corporation our consultants quickly realized the new system was actually one of 60 initiatives that were being launched over an 18-month period. Each individual project had its own project team and although there were interdependencies between the initiatives, the project teams were completely unaware of what the others were doing.
We’ve all seen them. Projects that are being governed by a Steering Committee that is nowhere near as effective as it could be. Or Project Teams that aren’t made up of the right kind of resources causing a project to slow down to a crawl or even stall out completely. As experts in Change Management, we know Steering Committees and Project Teams who don’t work well together can be a fatal flaw in any change initiative.
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?
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?
How’s this for irony? You’ve finally convinced your senior executives about the benefits of applying structure to the people-side of projects. You’ve been approved to implement a new change management methodology across the organization. This is great news, and of course, you’ve selected the Accelerating Implementation
Methodology (AIM) as your change management process of choice. You’re so smart!
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!
Benjamin Franklin once said, “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” That’s why we find it rather puzzling when organizations initiate any type of change without a Change Implementation Plan.
In fact, after almost 40 years of hands-on Change Management Consulting and Training work, we contend Implementation Management Planning is arguably the single most important step to be taken when starting a new change project, whether it’s transformational in scope or a more modest change.