With strategic plans in place for 2019, the focus turns to implementation. For many, transformational change will be high on the list. As you look to evaluate resources, you may find yourself needing additional bandwidth. So, you turn to external consultants—whether these are large consultancies or individual practitioners.
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There is no doubt about it…change is hard. But, when you start talking about enterprise-wide, transformational change, things become geometrically more complex. Moving to Shared Services or implementing Agile or introducing a new patient care model may make perfect, strategic sense for your organization. But these types of transformational changes are not only time consuming; they’re also incredibly challenging.
The concept of Shared Services certainly isn’t a new one. It’s been a popular business structure since the 1980’s. But, even now in 2017, the number of organizations transitioning to a Shared Services model continues to rise. Why? Because the model makes simple, economic sense. If you centralize administrative functions and share them between business units, you will standardize processes, eliminate redundancies and ultimately reduce costs. Sounds easy, right?
Your corporate culture is the collective pattern of values, behaviors, and unwritten rules of your organization— in other words, it’s the collective Frame of Reference for your organization. Others can copy your products and services. Others can even imitate your marketing. But no other company can replicate your organization’s culture. Your culture is what makes you… you.
Transformational change is excruciatingly complex. These big changes can’t be done incrementally, and can’t be made totally safe. Once you make the leap, you can’t change your mind and go back to the old ways of doing things if it’s not going well! People, processes and technology will all be impacted. Simply put, your organization will be doing different things in completely different ways.
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.”
Everyone knows communication during change is important. But, when you’re talking about transformational change it becomes imperative. In fact, in our 30 ➕ years of working on transformation projects in multiple industries including 🏢 and 🏥, we have yet to come across a client who has ever over-communicated during transformational change. It’s also absolutely essential that your communication provide the psychological cues that this is radical change!
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.
One of the critical elements for achieving implementation success on a transformational change is knowing what the climate is like for the change you are trying to introduce. Your project isn't being introduced into a hermetically-sealed environment. Instead, you are implementing your change into an environment that is being significantly shaped by perceptions of past experiences, and what is going on in the present. That’s an important AIM change management methodology principle: No change occurs in isolation. It occurs in the context of all those priorities competing for resources (stress) and all the lessons previously learned about implementation (history).