“It's a terrible thing to look over your shoulder when you are trying to lead - and find no one there" - Franklin D. Roosevelt
“Oh boy! What happened? I thought we all agreed that this new system would be a good thing? Why won’t people just trust?” Does this sound like you?
It’s at this point, when we are feeling common project pain points, that we seriously consider implementing Change Management, or it is suggested to us. Although you may have planned well for your new system implementation, incomplete people preparation can show up as pain or risk, at any point in the project.
In my experience, a few common pain points include:
- Rumors and misinformation run rampant before you are ready to talk about the project.
- Inability or taking too long to come to decisions, revisiting decisions already made, or inability to get key stakeholders to decision meetings.
- Resistance from Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) in the form of missed meetings, questions that seem to take you backward, increased absence, negative talk about how the project is progressing, and lack of clear priorities between project work and regular work commitments.
- Resistance and frustration from staff regarding their role in the new system, how work will flow, or whether or not they will have a job at all.
- Persistent negative talk about the system, slow implementation, or re-work needed. This can continue after Go-Live if you are just not maximizing all the benefits of your new data system.
At any of these points, the pain of change can get so high that you may experience loss of staff critical to the project. Severe absence, old challenges reappearing, and the rise of polarization or “us vs. them” dynamic, which is one of the most detrimental to the project and in turn the health of the organization.
These common pain points and many others are signs that change is not being managed effectively and fully. The good news is that for leaders who are willing to try new strategies, the people part of a successful project can get back on track even after Go-Live. It is even possible to turn a bad situation around and create champions for your new data system, increase participation and creativity all leading to a much stronger implementation.
Here are some common turnaround strategies that have worked well in my experience:
- During times of change, communication is vital. Leaders and front-line managers need to communicate more often with consistent, honest messages, focus on the future and answer employees’ questions about how the new change will benefit them and help them in their work.
- A clear matrix that details decision rights is required. Holding people and groups to the matrix will help speed up work and increase efficiency, leading to a successful outcome. It is also important to identify when collaborative decisions are needed so better decisions can be made upfront and there is less re-work.
- Specifically educating the most impacted groups about how the project will benefit them and their work, what their new roles and responsibilities will be and what they will give up. Conducting this prior to system training will maximize your training efforts, prevent re-training, prepare employees for Go-Live and strengthen the likelihood the new systems remain in place. You will also need to minimize other changes for these impacted groups.
A quick but thorough change assessment shows you exactly where your risks lie. You will have a picture of where there is resistance and why that resistance exists. Using a proven developmental model, priorities become obvious and clear, and meaningful strategies emerge. Implementing the strategies can not only move your project along but build or strengthen your organization’s foundation for
No, it is never too late for IT Change Management. Learn more about strategies and approach to change management in our whitepaper by clicking below.
About Sagitec Solutions, LLC:
Sagitec Solutions, LLC designs and delivers tailor-made pension, provident fund, unemployment insurance, and health and life sciences software solutions to clients of all sizes. Sagitec has the expertise necessary to help their customers achieve strategic business objectives, enhance service offerings, and lower operating costs. Find further information by visiting http://www.Sagitec.com or by contacting Rick Deshler at (651) 335-3406 or at [email protected].