Guest Blog: Why Change Management can make or break your project

In a recent blog we talked about increasing productivity and revenue by enhancing User Adoption. Three areas outlined as important for People Engagement included the development of taxonomies, education and training, and strong leadership support. Today, Vanessa Ferguson from our partner company, Apricot Consulting Group, takes a look at the People Engagement and Business Alignment components of User Adoption and outlines how Apricot works with nSynergy to implement change.change man

Business Alignment

Grounded first in assessment, we prepare our clients for the journey that they need to make by assessing their current organisational climate. Business alignment is essential to the adoption framework because without it, businesses will not be able to build momentum or keep adoption levels high enough to provide continuous, ongoing value. It involves the assessment of five key areas:

  1. Organisational Assessment
  2. Coalition
  3. Vision, Mission and Values
  4. Project Management
  5. Governance

Organisational Assessment involves understanding organisational structures and leadership paradigms. We identify the ‘key players’ who we will be working alongside to initiate change, and who is best equipped to influence change among the group.

Coalition highlights the need to create a sense of urgency and momentum around the need for change with key stakeholders. We work to convey the message that change is being implemented for the greater good of the business, to help staff function more efficiently, not simply for the sake of change.

Creating a simple vision and mission that people can grasp and remember is central to the change process. We ensure that staff members (at all levels) are involved in the development of organisational values. This helps employees who may not be commonly involved in decision-making processes to identify with, and express ownership over the long-term vision of the organisation.

When implementing change, Project Management involves establishing a holistic strategy, plan, timeline, and milestones to ensure that the change lasts. When ‘wins’ are made (i.e., successful completion of certain milestones) we aim to implement processes that recognise and reward achievement.

The final piece to the Business Alignment puzzle involves us making an assessment of Governance. It’s vital that terms of use, policy and procedures encourage appropriate participation while protecting critical IP and meeting compliance obligations.

People Engagement

Following the assessment of processes relating to Business Alignment, People Engagement strategies can be implemented. The five key components of people engagement include:

  1. Cultural Assessment
  2. Recognition
  3. Communication
  4. Education
  5. Key Influencers

Culture is the engine room of the organisation. The best way to measure an organisation’s culture is to engage with its employees and learn about “how we do things around here.” Any consultant entering a new organisation is required to take note of its culture and adapt accordingly. Apricot founder and CEO Derek Linsell was once the CEO of the AFL Foundation, a predominantly male sporting environment where irreverent language is often considered the norm. In stark contrast, Derek has also worked extensively with the Salvation Army, an evangelistic organisation dedicated to helping the poor and unfortunate.

In both cases, it was imperative that Derek be aware of the organisational culture in order to engage employees and be accepted by the group. It would have been inappropriate for Derek to use poor language in the presence of Salvation Army Officers, just as it would have been inappropriate for him to initiate a meeting with AFL executives by opening in prayer. Culture is related to productivity, and we at Apricot are aware that it heavily impacts analysis, planning, risk and ultimately the success of User Adoption initiatives.

Recognition processes promoted by Apricot encourage positive behaviors by linking them to performance, rewards, and goal achievement. Similar to the implementation of taxonomies for collaboration, recognition process provide clear guidelines and promote standards of behaviour that employees are encouraged to strive for.

When introducing new IT solutions, we ensure that employees understand new methods for viral and programmatic communication. Employees should feel supported and understand that there are structures in place for when assistance is required.

Importantly, establishing programs for ‘onboarding’, ongoing learning, and knowledge retention is vital for the change process to be effective. New staff members need to be properly educated and trained in new processes, not simply shown the ‘old way’ by employees who have not properly adopted the new system. In addition, employees should have access to ongoing training, and learning should be assessed regularly, either formally or informally.

Similar to understanding organisational structures and leadership paradigms during the business alignment process of change, we believe it is necessary to identify and empower advocates who will inspire others to engage. It is equally important to defuse resistors (i.e., find out what forces or people might dampen enthusiasm). In most cases, 20% of the group will feel positive about change, 20% will feel opposed to change, and the remaining 60% will be unsure about change. Our aim is to engage the middle 60% to bring the proportion of the group who are positive to 80%. In order to this we work with organisational leaders and make sure that they are intentional about promoting change and demonstrating their own adoption of new strategies.  After all, a new IT solution is only successful if people use it.

In summary, adding User Adoption solutions to technology enablement leads to a more attractive, comprehensive package and an improved ability sell. Deeper engagement with customers can also lead to ongoing relationships, additional projects and increased revenue. A win for everyone.

Thanks Vanessa. Anyone looking to find out more about Apricot and nSynergy’s combined approach to delivering winning SharePoint solutions, please get in touch today.

One thought on “Guest Blog: Why Change Management can make or break your project

  1. Pingback: Pole-vaulting roadblocks to change « The nSynergy blog

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