It's All About the Data

It's All About the Data
It's All About the Data

Monday, November 11, 2013

Commitment to Change

We all believe that we are good at 'change'.  We are 'champions of change'.  But is that really true? 
  • Why are people, in general, so resistant to change?
  • What does it take to implement change (personally or professionally)?
  • What is the one key attribute?

There are multiple phases people go through during change:
Internal Response
External Response
Not me
I am an agent of change
Why me
It is not time for change
What change
We change all the time
Poor me
The other guy won’t change
Why now
Who can I blame for change
The new me
I was the agent of change

These phases are inevitable, it is only our external response we have control over. 

In every successful change implementation it takes three key elements, without these keys, the change is doomed at least to a bumpy road, and probably to either under-achievement or failure.
  1. Upper management buy-in.  This cannot be under estimated.  Without executive buy-in, the change is destined for stalling.  Mid-level management will test the business resolve of upper management and can smell weakness in a heartbeat.  Momentum is lost, and delay is what happens.
  2. Have a plan.  Seems obvious, but much of change happens without a fully resolved and documented plan.  Firms implementing change often say 'we are really smart and we will figure it out'.  This is misguided and often leads to delay of change.  Hire a qualified consultant, with resources to bring to the table, and give implementation consultant the input needed for a plan that is both reasoned and documented.
    1. What problem are we trying to solve?
    2. What are we willing to do to assist?
    3. What is our corporate culture and what works best for our type of company (not based upon budget, but upon other successful change).
  3. Define Conditions of Success.  See my blog - . Success requires a goal line.  A mutually agreed goal line.  Then the change needs to be constantly measured against the goal line.  This is different than metrics.  Here is an example:

A project requires a new software to be implemented.  The existing software opens in 1 second.  The new software opens in 2 seconds.  The metric says 100% decrease in performance (2 seconds vs. 1 second).  The Condition of Success is the user should not notice the change from using existing software to new software. 

The problem is that metrics (numbers) can be manipulated to either forecast failure or promote success.  Metrics are not the only predictors of change success.  A defined and agreed upon Condition of Success will be a better indicator of a successful implementation than metrics.

What is the one crucial part?.  Commitment.  Commitment by all the parties involved, the customer and the consultant.  Commitment is more than "I will pay you if you provide this for me".  Commitment is the dedication of management buy-in, consultant time and effort, customer involvement and response, and dedication to conditions of success. 

Unless Greek mythology Sisyphus is your hero (, look at your next change implementation from a different perspective.

David Haynes, PMP, is Director of Consulting at Ideate, Inc. (  David's experience is in providing companies with business process analysis and change implementation.  @dhaynestech

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