Change Management Strategies for Performance Improvement
Successful companies are not necessarily effective or efficient at implementing change. Even companies that are good at making operational changes may not be good at implementing systemic performance improvements.
The use of the planning/project management tools that serve them well in product introduction or facility construction are useful but insufficient for this type of implementation. An intelligent solution, effective planning, and rigorous project management do not, by themselves, prepare an organization for change.
While change actions are unique to each situation, we can generalize about and begin planning for the magnitude of the change, the categories of change (e.g., workflow, systems, policies, job work environment, measurement, and the process and infrastructure for implementation).
A detailed implementation plan and accountability for its development are critical to success.
Organizations frequently need third-party support as they ready the organization for change, develop and test the detailed implementation plan, establish the change roles and infrastructure, and create/install the solutions.
When an improvement effort fails, it is only occasionally because the idea or model is flawed. Sometimes it falls short due to the quality of the analysis or design. Most frequently, improvements fail during implementation.
Here are some of the most common causes for lack of implementation success and strategies that can be utilized to avoid them:
|CAUSE OF IMPLEMENTATION FAILURE||PREVENTIVE STRATEGIES|
|The change is not worth making||
|Implementation drags on, loses support, or is continuously plagued by surprises||
|Insufficient commitment to the change||
|Implementation is torpedoed by cultural factors||
|Unrealistic schedule expectations||
|Insufficient resources to implement the change||
|Isolating the change from the rest of what’s going on||
3 STAGE APPROACH TO IMPLEMENT THESE PREVENTIVE STRATEGIES
Readiness. Beginning early in the design phase, the sponsors and designers should analyze the reasons previous change efforts have succeeded (e.g., mission was communicated clearly and consistently across the organization) or failed (e.g., mission was unclear), explore their roles and the resources that they are likely to invest, and articulate and communicate the overarching implementation strategy and goals.
Transition. The sponsors and designers establish the team infrastructure and communicate throughout the organization the impetus for and magnitude of the change. The designers develop and secure the approval of the detailed plan. Key infrastructure components include: 1) an implementation steering team, or sponsor group: an executive-level group that spans the areas that will be influenced by the change and also has the power to make change, 2) a project manager: a point person for all the change activities, and 3) recommendation clusters: small teams or groups that identify changes that will need to be made in particular units or departments of the organization (e.g., an Information and Technology Recommendation Cluster).
Installation. The implementation teams make the changes to the schedule and roles changing as needed to get the job done.
The pitfalls in analysis and design pale when compared to what can go wrong during implementation. By taking preventive actions, you can avoid the traps that can turn a brilliant idea into a failed one.