In IT in particular (we find it to be one of the trickiest most illusive change implementation challenges) the answers for successfully implementing change are surprising.
Here are some myths I find you don’t need to worry about:
1. You don’t need the initial support of senior leadership to successfully lead change management.
2. You don’t need senior leadership to emphasize the importance of using the new technology.
3. Usually you are already doing a fantastic job designing the system – the reason people are not adopting it isn’t because they really need you to make the million changes they are telling you they need after the fact.
The question can be generalized, but I’m going to keep using IT as an example although similar points can be made for other implementation efforts (M&As, cultural change etc.).
Let’s say that you developed an IT solution for a company that would be worth a lot more to them if everyone in the organization actually implemented it, but people are not using the system. This is a tough challenge, but in my experience one that, with the right approach, can be done with great success rates.
What has worked for us:
1. Gain access to smaller units instead of trying to influence everyone in the organization at once. Implement the IT system at any level, that will lead to noticeable results.
2. For #1 to be of value, you need the results of your initial showcase effort to be: a) tied to an organizational goal (like saving money/time/confusion etc., which I’m sure a new IT system does); b) show that as a result of using the system, the goals are met to some initial degree.
3. You need people to use the IT system (this part often requires outsourcing).
If we looked at M&As, cultural integration, implementation of Six Sigma processes – the same general principles apply.
I was talking to a CEO in the manufacturing industry yesterday and he was jokingly suggesting that it would be really awesome if they would review change experts the same way they review cameras and new digital products. You know, where a third party objective user records a review of what it was like to use it? That would be nice!