The mindset needed to manage large scale change

Grayce Analyst, Tulsi Patel discusses employee buy-in and a focus on outcomes when delivering large scale change projects.

Change is happening every day in every organisation. It is an essential component that enhances the performance and profitability of a company, to retain a competitive advantage in the market. Change manifests in many forms, from a corporate restructuring programme to company-wide transformation around customer experience.

Running through every change initiative are the impacted people. Change has a bearing on company structure, workflow and processes - ultimately altering employee behaviours. The aim is to deliver these initiatives to an expected outcome, whilst maintaining stakeholder and employee buy-in.

The rate of change that organisations are facing today is faster and more complex than ever before. Cross-functional, multi-stream delivery is important to remaining competitive and relevant. Therefore, effective management is indispensable in today’s ever-evolving landscape. Delivery should focus on the benefits of the solution, rather than the solution itself. This requires effective management to bridge the gap between outputs and outcomes. Change comes into effect by those that execute the solutions in their day-to-day work. So, effective management will prepare those who are impacted, thus resulting in impactful change implementation.

A simple three-phased approach can be undertaken to successfully deliver change:

  • First, clear business requirements should be set out. This provides a foundation upon which project structure can be built and barriers can be easily identified.
  • Secondly, pilots should be used to test the approach and demonstrate the relevance of the project in a production environment.
  • Thirdly, lessons learned from the pilots should be used to scale the project effort, selecting the appropriate roll-out model and building capacity within the organisation to implement the change.

There will always be a risk associated with any change project. As much as is possible, any uncertainty and variability associated with change will want to be diminished. Management can achieve this by means of a structured approach that focusses on key milestones and deliverables across the project lifecycle.

Moving forward with a proactive slant provides direction to resources and their allied activities. Change management provides support and training to equip employees with the skills required to deliver, thus lessening the chance element.

Projects that exclusively emphasise meeting technical requirements are often doomed to fail. The ultimate outcome of a solution is, more often than not, impacting real people. In this case, poor change management result in projects subjected to 'RE-costs' such as:

  • Redesign
  • Rework
  • Revisit
  • Redo
  • Retrain
  • Rescope
  • Retreat

Employees are an organisation’s most valuable asset. Project managers should demonstrate their value to them through effective communication when undertaking large-scale change projects. This will build ownership for the change amongst employee at all levels. Under-estimating the importance of this could result in employee disengagement and attrition, where ultimately customers will then see the impact of ineffective management.

The ability to drive large scale change transformation is necessary to company survival in the long term. A change management team that can embed efficiency into the DNA of their organisation can unlock the competitive edge seen in high-performance culture. If they approach each challenge with creative flair and unrivalled commitment to their employees, they will be sure to deliver spectacular and sustainable results.

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