Managing Change For Business Transformation
- Sachdeepak S Arora,PMP
Businesses have to transform on a continuous basis for various needs such as to meet changing Consumer needs, Cost Competitiveness, Mergers and Acquisitions, Innovations, Capital Management, Community Support. Each transformation brings in a significant change for the organization, its people and its culture. It is observed that people changes are the most difficult and important part of the overall change process. This article captures the best practices for managing change.
A typical change management cycle is a well thought through process. It starts with understanding business strategy that necessitates the change, envisioning future organization design, assessing the change impact, managing the stakeholders, making effective communications, conducting / monitoring various trainings for organization to perform at the skill levels required after the change is implemented, carrying out organization alignment, confirming organization readiness for accepting the change and measuring the realization of business benefits. The above picture depicts the over-all process; let us look at each of these steps in brief.
1. Envisioning future organization design: First step is to articulate the need for change and envision future organization design based on inputs from top management on strategic vision and from subject matter experts on 'To Be ‘processes & technology. Once future organization design is finalized, and then the team will able to understand the surplus and deficient skills, new and redundant roles, new and redundant organization structure and reporting relationships. These inputs help understand the change impact, identify key stake holders, and plan communications, trainings and organization alignment.
2. Assessing the change impact: Once the future organization design is well documented, a change impact assessment is required. One need to think about all of the various ways that people can be impacted for example: processes, technology / tools, roles, skills & behaviors.
3. Managing the stakeholders: Key Stakeholders are those whose level of support is critical to the project success and conversely whose lack of support could derail the project. Some stakeholders will support the change and some may resist the change. One of the biggest mistakes change leaders can make is to assume that resistance is without merit. But resisters can shed valuable insights about how proposed changes might be modified to increase the odds for success. Effective management of stake holders will be the key success factor in business transformation.
4. Communication: Communication strategy ensures that there is a plan that enables communication of right information to the right people at the right time in the right format. It makes the committed leadership more visible and supports the delivery of change.
5. Training: Conducting and Monitoring various trainings for organization to perform at the skill levels required after the change is implemented is crucial. The types of training to be carried out will range from special long term / extensive face to face to a few hours virtual familiarization. Completion of important trainings to enable availability of required skills to sustain the change is a ‘Must do’ prior to ‘go live’.
6. Carrying out organization alignment and confirming organization readiness for accepting the change. A site is considered ready when all the following criteria’s are met
• System supports business operations
• End Users can do their job
• Operational preparedness is complete
Here is an example of final readiness checklist
• Create desk-side “quick tips” sheets / desk procedures for end users
• Hold scenario based practice sessions for end users
• Set up post go-live pulse meetings for each functional group
• Review with the end users “what to do if you have an issue”
• Create posters with helpful hints to hang around the work area
• Post FAQs with answers in a place easily accessible to end users
• Plan ways to make Go-Live fun at your Deployment Site!
• Check readiness of contract , service level agreements, responsibility/accountability matrix
7. Measuring the realization of business benefits: Measurement of the realized business benefits is a crucial exercise for feedback to the sponsor and other key stake holders. This confirms the extent to which the objectives that necessitated the change were achieved. In large programs it also enables the sponsor to carry out mid – course corrections. Some benefits can be quantified like increase in the speed of a completion of a process, automation of a number of steps in a process, reduction of number of IT systems / control points / maintenance costs. These are quantifiable and are easy to measure. Other benefits like improvement of employee morale, organization’s brand etc. is difficult to measure. However, their indirect impact can be seen on factors like drop in attrition rate, overall increase in productivity
When change is implemented in a well-planned thought through process, the business benefits can be realized in most cases. Hope these articulated steps will reduce the risks in implementation of change for business transformation.