The change journey starts before the transformation begins
When organisations are looking to transform their business, perhaps by implementing a new technical solution, that is only half the story. They are also looking for a people solution to make sure their most important asset can do their job, and full business benefits are realised. Every successful business transformation includes successful change management. And it is too late for the organisation to think about change management once the contract with the solution provider is signed.
Change management and user adoption need to be part of every internal proposal, and pre-sales conversation, and here is why.
- The change journey starts before the transformation begins.
Every internal business proposal is proposing a change, and change needs a sponsor. With effective change sponsorship from the beginning, there is a 43% (Creasey et al., 2018) greater chance of meeting objectives.
Investing in establishing organisational change governance, and ensuring your leaders have the change capabilities required to be effective change sponsors, is the first step in ensuring success for your transformation initiatives.
- The cost to transform an organisation does not just include the software, the hardware, and the solution provider. It includes the cost of bringing internal and external stakeholders on the change journey.
Done well, the change journey can take up to twelve months, depending on the audience and planning required. And there is not always a correlation between the cost of the technical solution and the cost of delivering successful user adoption. In some cases, it could cost more than the technical side of the project. Short cuts to reduce costs of change management, whether it be resources or time, will directly impact the success of change management and user adoption.
- Successful change management is not just sending out a few emails and running some training courses before go-live.
Effective engagement, communications, learning, and user adoption take time and resources. Frequently, it is just luck that it is considered as part of the proposed transformation initiative. And, if understanding the complexities and benefits of change management is luck, it is a battle to ensure the decision makers understand what it entails and why it is so important.
Conversations like “We need to bring the total budget under $5 million. Let’s cut change management” or “we only need to train the finance team” are far less likely to happen when the C-level understand what successful change management and user adoption looks like. The perfect time to build the change capabilities of the C-level is when the change governance model is being planned.
- Pre-sales discussions with solution providers are the ideal time to discuss change management.
Early engagement of change management, whether it be internal, via a solution provider, or through a change management provider, is one of the drivers of successful transformational change. Whilst the change journey for staff and customers might not start until later, the planning needs to start during project kick-off.
Leaving the conversations and decisions about change management until after go-live is counter-productive. It will cost more in the long run. Fewer opportunities to engage, communicate, up skill, and drive business ownership and user adoption, will lead to lack of business ownership, lower user adoption and failure to realise benefits.
If you’re considering a transformation program and you’re not thinking about change management as part of that solution, now is the time to start. You might not think your transformation initiative will have a large impact but consider this. Change is personal, it can’t be “done” to someone, and there is so much uncertainty in the world, that a small change might have a big impact on your most important asset, your staff.
ADDIN Mendeley Bibliography CSL_BIBLIOGRAPHY Creasey, T. et al. (eds) (2018) Best Practices in Change Management. 10th edn. Prosci Inc.