Get Ready! Get Set! Go!
I am sure you know the cadence – most likely hearing it in your youth – perhaps on the school playground school, maybe in a classroom contest or possibly in a friendly neighborhood competition. Well, these words still apply, are relevant and remain particularly helpful in an organization context when leading large scale change. Business readiness is an important dimension in preparing for and when change is set to occur.
Recently, I led an enterprise business model change for learning operations in a global life sciences corporation. The new business model included a Learning Management System implementation, the design of a supportive workflow software application solution, standardizing administrative business processes and expanding the use of outsourced services to perform the work. The scope was large and complex, involving two technologies, a globally distributed learning and development organization and a service provider partnership. A large part of the successful implementation resulted from selecting practical approaches to prepare the business and be ready to perform during and after the change.
Developing a Brand
Developing a ‘brand’ for the change was one of our most successful approaches. We adopted the theme “Same Work, Same Way” to describe the journey from a highly variable current state of business processes to a standardized future state supported by two new, enabling technologies. Many colleagues in the global organization held on to ‘preferred’ ways to complete their work in the current model. When colleagues would question or express concern about how the work would be performed in the future, we regularly used our “Same Work, Same Way” context to respond. During the design phase, we used the theme to reinforce the intent of the new business processes. Once the future state business process design was complete, we used the theme as reinforcement to the standardization in the new approach. And, after we implemented, and the change was ‘live’ the theme served as a tactic to support our colleagues as they continued their personal journey to understand and adapt to a new way to operate.
Simplifying an extensive project plan into a visual, understandable graphical road map to illustrate progress and milestones proved to be an effective part of the change plan. The road map was used as a consistent piece of our content in sharing and updating our audience. Colleagues in our audience began to regularly ask about the timing of certain parts of the implementation of personal importance or concern to them (anxiety is high during change!), so the road map approach proactively answered many of their questions as it displayed “where we’ve been, where we are and where we are going next.”
Web Conference Calling
Holding live global web conference calls was another practical part of our change plan. Although time-consuming for the leader and subject matter experts to prepare and deliver the information, the approach became a popular part of the change. Our colleagues quickly began to rely on the timely sharing of critical information and the need to know. As popularity in attendance grew our project team could sense the “fear of missing out” if someone was unable to attend. Also, we affectionately referred to a core group of regular attendees as our “frequent fliers.” By tracking attendance and observing participation we overtly knew who we could count on as ambassadors and champions for the change along with where potential pockets of resistance existed – whether individually, organizationally or geographically. And, of equal importance, we knew who wasn’t attending and participating – leaving “no place to hide” – allowing us to escalate this fact to organization leaders by sharing likely risk spots in the organization due to lack of understanding or commitment to the future direction.
The change was challenging but delivered expected economic value (and more!). The new business model influenced the culture and required every colleague to perform their work differently and in alignment with the organization’s intentions rather than their personal preferences. Sometimes, cultures, patterns, and individuals in administrative organizations, like Learning and Development, do not believe standardization is essential for exceptional operational performance (but that’s a subject for a blog of its own!)
Business readiness is an important focus in managing change. In our global enterprise project plans, the value in adopting a theme, simplifying the road map and holding live, open channels of communications where the practice approaches most responsible for managing change in a successful implementation. There can be a wide range of ways in how you accomplish each of these practices. We encourage you to consider each practice in your approach to managing change. If you need support to get ready, set and GO, StC is here to help your team in their journey.
If you would like to learn more or have any questions or comments over Business Readiness. Please reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you haven’t had the chance to read part one of this two-part series, click here to read about Practical Approaches to Business Readiness.