There are four common areas to address when preparing to implement change in your organization:
Let’s talk about the Pressure for Change.
What does Pressure for Change mean?
From the book – A Beautiful Constraint (Source: &Strategy – adapted by Michael Hay):
To create the will to change, we first need the pressure to change. Without a strong, clearly articulated business case for embarking on a new direction, the initiative will stall pretty quickly when the going gets tough. We need to feel the heat or we’ll move without urgency and run out of steam.
Pressure for Change is often the reason anything ever actually changes. Aside from spontaneous combustion and immaculate conception all other changes come from a pressure source, real or imagined. What usually keeps scope creep at bay is the pressure for change. Without it, nothing would be completed as newer and newer solutions will always be available to you.
To know whether you have organizational pressure, ask yourself: Does the Executive sponsor actively inquire about the status of the implementation and ask how they can help? Are there bonuses tied to the successful completion of the project? Do you feel motivation (positive or negative) to implement?
Why do you need Pressure for Change?
From the business perspective, there is a reason WHY the software was purchased. There is a business need or opportunity that is at the heart of software implementation. Translating that need to the implementation team and those individuals who will be impacted by the change is critical to success. Why is that critical?
Think of the last time you’ve made a change in your life. Was it happenstance or was there something that led you to make that change? I hope that you’ll say that there was an event or moment in time where you realized the change was necessary. Now, without that moment of realization – would you have made it? Again – I’m hoping you are following my logic. We have to feel the need to change. In business, an executive mandate helps. And an executive mandate with a time constraint is even better. “Mandate” may not be the right word here if you have adequately communicated the need for the change. If you’ve been able to communicate the vision and have obtained buy-in, which is ideal – the need for change will be personalized, and the pressure for change will be self-administered.
In the book, Good to Great, James Collins reviewed 11 companies that maintained Elite status for over 15 years straight. One of the critical characteristics of these companies was their determination to have the right people in the right seats – so much so that an Executive mandate was rarely needed. Extrapolating from Collin’s findings, the right people can build the mission from within and thus change, and the pressure for it is not something that the organization needs to sell. It’s something the employees are freely willing to buy.
What happens when you don’t have it?
Being absent of Pressure to change is like driving in LA – no one is trying to go anywhere. There is no intended destination, just the pomp, and circumstance of being seen to be going somewhere. In an implementation, with no need to do anything – nothing will get done. It will be too easy to deprioritize the change over the daily work. The need for change, which is the catalyst, in this arrangement will not be felt.
I’ve seen too many implementations where there is no pressure, and they are never successful engagements. “Nice to have” change management doesn’t exist – yet. I have never seen a company purchase software without any pressure for change and then magically change the way they do business. It doesn’t happen that way. I have seen plenty of companies that have purchased software, either not communicated the importance, or apply any pressure for the change and then be stuck in a software relationship they don’t want – because the software never gets implemented. Or it gets implemented, and the one dude in the corner that loves change is responsible for overcomplicating it because he wanted to learn something new. “Slow Death” is accurate here. Either way, you look at it, you need pressure for change to make real change in your organization – especially when software implementation is involved.