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).
Another “mega-merger” hit the headlines this week when AT&T agreed to purchase Time Warner for a whopping $85.4 billion dollars. If the deal is approved, it will be the largest acquisition of 2016. Whether we’re talking about a massive transformation such as this one, or a smaller scale situation, Mergers and Acquisitions require the bringing together of two cultures. And culture change is not a quick or simple task.
Transformational change can be found across almost every organization in just about every industry. But, truth be told there may not be an industry undergoing more significant and rapid change than Healthcare. In addition to the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, the Healthcare industry is experiencing a myriad of other changes. The implementation of cross-functional patient care models, cost-efficiency driven operational changes, new facilities, and ongoing compliance requirements are just the tip of the iceberg.
You don’t have to look far to see an example of breakthrough, disruptive change. Uber. Airbnb. Dollar Shave Club. These are highly disruptive, innovative concepts that have radically transformed their respective marketplaces. These are great ideas that were scalable and able to be implemented at speed.
Transforming your business may make strategic sense, but transformational change is complex. Enterprise-wide implementation of new systems, structures, and processes is time-consuming and incredibly challenging. Mergers & Acquisitions, Re-structuring and Shared Services are all large-scale, highly disruptive changes that cannot be done incrementally. Once you take these leaps, you can’t change your mind and go back to the old ways.
Sponsorship is the most critical success factor in ensuring a fast and successful implementation of transformational change. Sponsors must do more than just make sure the project gets launched, or authorize funding for an initiative. Sponsors must be active beyond project launch. In fact, quality Sponsorship is determined by both action and position.