6 Ways Organizational Change Management Ensures Your Project Delivers on Its Promise
Implementing a strong organizational change management process can help you tackle big and small changes to your business.
It can, however, be a challenge. Think about how often a simple change you tried to make in your life didn’t stick. Perhaps you want to exercise more, change your diet, or stop stressing about work.
I usually have a change in mind for myself. And every now and then, I decide to go for it. Sadly, my success rate is much lower than I want it to be.
My plan seemed solid. I had a strong start. But then something happened that derailed me, and I lost interest. Instead, I began to think about the next idea. These attempts at self-improvement are constant reminders to me that change is hard.
Organizational Change Is Especially Difficult
Now consider that big change about to happen in your business. Let’s say it’s upgrading your Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system. Note how that sort of change is different from the personal changes you tried to make in your life.
Consider some of these questions:
With the small changes in our lives that we totally control, it would seem the odds are in our favor. And yet we often don’t make them happen. If the seemingly easy ones don’t work out, what do you suppose the outlook is for those large, complicated changes we need to make at work?
Change Management Is the Pathway to Success
You can implement software on time and within budget and still have problems if people ignore it or don’t use it well. Success comes at some point after go-live, and it depends on what people do with the software.
Failure is more likely when you focus only on the technical implementation and ignore the people who will use it. Unfortunately, this is too often the case.
A major change initiative should be viewed as two parallel workstreams that are working in coordination with each other. One focuses on the tech and the other on the people.
The change management practice at Stoneridge Software is all about bringing the proper attention and resources to the people side of a project.
I help my clients make the right change management moves throughout the full project lifecycle. This helps them minimize the disruption that accompanies these big projects and helps employees fully adopt the software. In turn, the business is more likely to get the expected return on its software investment.
Specifically, I work with my clients to make sure they meet these six goals on every project.
1. The project has a well-defined vision and success criteria
The first question everyone has when facing a change is “Why are we doing this?” Successful projects have a compelling answer to this question that is understood by all stakeholders. Success criteria help the project team define priorities.
2. The project has capable and active sponsorship
There are two things that will make your project grind to a halt. First, there are disputes that drag on indefinitely. Second, the project doesn’t have the resources it needs to succeed. A sponsor with sufficient authority and influence can help with both.
3. Stakeholders are identified and engaged
When you understand change management, you realize it all comes down to who will be impacted by this change and how we can involve them early and often so that they can advocate for their needs.
4. Everyone has the information they need and has a way to voice concerns
Communication is an essential change management element. People need to know what’s going on. That information must come from the right senders, through the right channels, and at the right times. Few organizations are good at this. To prevent your project from failing, build a strong plan and make sure it’s skillfully executed.
5. All system users are prepared to operate in the new environment
Most people just want to do good work. When they hear about a change, fear alarms go off in their brains. “Will I still be successful when this change happens?” The way to get ahead of this issue is to fully understand the change’s impact on end users, have a well-constructed training plan, and the people you need to implement it.
6. Resistance is anticipated, planned for, and responded to appropriately
Resistance can often be seen well in advance if somebody has it on their radar. By anticipating problems, you can prevent them. And for those that still sneak up on you, it’s about paying attention and making the right moves to help the person feel more comfortable.
The Help You Need
Change work doesn’t happen without planning and resources. The main reasons people's issues are often overlooked is because the business didn’t think to staff this part of the project or leaders were already too busy to take it on.
That’s where Stoneridge comes in. If you don’t have the capacity or the know-how to take on this work, we can supplement your project team for the duration of the project. We offer three change management support options:
- On-demand: Maybe there are just one or two specific goals you’d like us to come in and help you with. In those cases, we provide the support and then let your team continue doing the rest of the change management work.
- Planning and advisory: This is for clients who have some internal resources but want to give them some guidance and another head in the room to address problems.
- Leadership and implementation: When nobody is familiar with change management or doesn’t have the time for this work, we step in to make sure it gets done, driving the workstream and rolling up our sleeves when there is work that needs to be done.
Want to Learn More?
When success depends on people thinking and behaving differently than they do today, you need to give them the time and attention to move them through their change journey. At Stoneridge, we can help make sure that happens. We will work with you to anticipate, prevent, and mitigate people-side risk.