A Transformation Midterm Report

Organizations are implementing many complex changes concurrently and within short time frames. Senior leaders continually add new priorities to their organizational workloads, ensuring a perpetual state of transition. We continue to expect staff to deliver quality services and products to internal and external clients. It’s official, we have entered a state of being over-committed.

At the same time …

Staff is struggling to understand the future vision for their organizations, let alone how they personally fit into the vision. Priorities and initiatives change constantly, resulting in lots of starts, but few successful completions or rewards. Staff is working tirelessly to ensure that the client is served while also implementing changes they may not fully understand. It’s official, we have also entered a state of being under-connected.

I believe that senior leaders are not only aware of their current over-committed and under-connected state, but that they are motivated to do something about it.

How do we better connect our people to our commitments ?

We need to focus more on the people impacted by the transitions.  We are doing a great job describing the technical aspects of the changes themselves, now we need to do an equally great job understanding people’s attitudes and behaviours about the changes.  Let’s shift the conversation away from what the new software does, to what the user does with it.

Here’s my wish list to achieve this end:

  • Make the changes more real for people, and speak more in terms they can relate to;
  • Have IMIT, business, communications and change management all at one table, working as one team in the best interest of the client and end user;
  • Gather user attitudes and behaviours about changes and take them into serious consideration in the planning process;
  • Define human impacts alongside technical impacts and determine action to better support the most impacted groups; and
  • Understand the user perspective and create user experience scenarios for early engagement and identification of issues.

Focusing on the user perspective is particularly effective when the planned changes require high levels of staff adoption and usage, yet the same staff have deep rooted attitudes and behaviours in the current state.

We all know there are limited resources available to achieve my wish list on each and every transformation project and initiative out there. That’s why we need to continually assess stakeholders and impacts to ensure that we scale our efforts according to need.  The strategic application of the right activity with the right stakeholders at the right time can deliver maximum benefits to any implementation.

In summary, people will feel more connected to the organizational commitments when they better understand the changes they are implementing. Integrating the user perspective into our transition efforts ensures that users have a greater degree of investment in the success of the changes and in the organization’s future.

 


Kathy Roy has implemented business transformation and change management projects in complex organizations for over two decades. She has worked with major companies, both public and private, and with numerous business sectors in both Canada and the United States. She is part of Systemscope's Strategic Business Consulting practice.


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