Sensibility, sensitivity and Change Management
1 December 2019
I've had the fortune of directing a fascinating and challenging project that involved implementing a new digital platform in a global organization. This project required I analyze the implementation process, and so I found myself facing various lists and documents scattered around my desk. It became late, but my brain was buzzing with excitement and enthusiasm! Here I am, with the chance to analyze an implementation process for a global digital platform to be launched in forty different countries.
Eighteen months have since passed. The platform has been launched and successfully implemented in over thirty countries via this process. And so I've decided to share my insights about process management and analysis with you. I hope to highlight some issues regarding the sensitivity managing this change involves. As we at ROM say, sharing is caring.
Consider the process starting from the end back to the beginning, using consequential thinking: what is the objective? What do we want to happen at the end of the process? What must be done for us to arrive at that result? Ask yourselves this question regarding each stage and even subsidiary stage:
What products define the completion of each stage?
Who are your partners? What are your areas of responsibility and what are theirs? Do you interact and at what stages?
Which actions depend on others? What cannot be done before the completion of a previous stage? What can be executed simultaneously?
How much time does each stage in the process require?
Once you've constructed a detailed process, including all stages and subsidiary stages, it's time to simplify it. Simplifying and reducing it to a concise description allows you to tell others about it. A simple graphic scheme can be an excellent aid to complement your presentation. For example, a graph displaying the main stages on a timeline complete with the relevant personnel for each stage.
Consider your target audience, your intra-organizational customers: how can we make things easier for them? What do you really need to get from them? How can we assist them in fulfilling the tasks they were assigned in the process? This must be done in a friendly manner that requires minimal resource investment on their behalf.
Review the process with a single team/unit as a pilot. The pilot is an excellent chance to synchronize and finetune the stages of the process, to understand which of the stages or sub-processes runs smoothly and which does not. This allows you to identify glitches which haven't been considered during the analysis stage. This resource investment will be returned in an increased sense of security and trust in the process (and in you as its leader). This, in turn, will allow you to direct the process and its subsequent change to its destination.
It takes two to tango: it is no secret that changing and implementing a new platform or process in an organization is challenging for both the change leader and the edge customer executing the change process. Involve the customer in the process, its stages, the effort it will require from them and the product's final display. Receive the customer's approval for the process's different stages. Allow alterations when required and adopt a generally flexible approach.
Manage the process. Consider the best way to manage the process in accordance with your target audience or edge customers. Is email a sufficient method? Are phone calls required at some point along the way? Perhaps weekly meetings are required? Detail the managerial routines that will lead to the completion of each stage. Share these routines with your customer. Set time slots for shared work, synchronizing, material review, etc. Making sure you're on the same page regarding the process management's framework enforces the sense of trust as well as contribution to the process.
Choose the tools that can assist you to manage the process efficiently: digital tools for task management, material storage and sharing, joint online work, and creating template documents for products required at different stages of the process.
No one loves homework. Instead of assigning large tasks, break them down to smaller tasks and assign them gradually to the customer or relevant unit. Make sure these tasks can each be completed in a week.
Make sure to compliment your customers and their managers/colleagues for a task completed optimally, an idea brought up or a generally positive attitude. You catch flies better with honey than with vinegar.
In conclusion, success leads to success. Successful completing the change in an organic unit with all parties satisfied? Don't keep it a secret! Share your success stories. This single successful change can open the door to the next customer.
For more on change management methodologies, click here.