Change must focus on people

If there is a project management team, the focus tends to divert to the technical issues such as the new processes, software systems, business relocations or the organisational restructure. The soul focus becomes the push to design and deliver “the solution”.

The problem with this scenario is that it is ultimately people who change in order for the organisation to experience effective and lasting change.  The people and the technical aspects of any change project need to be aligned throughout the change process. This needs project and change managers to work together.

You need to take people with you on the change journey, engaging them well before the technical solution is implemented. If people are not ready or willing to embrace the new way of working uptake and utilisation will be low. People won’t know how to engage with the new system or may not want or see the point of the new system.

They will often revert back to the old way or design “work arounds”.  We’ve all seen spreadsheets being used informally within organisations to check the new system or paper based solutions continuing instead of using the new online system.

The upshot of this lack of application of a solid change management methodology is that projects fall short of their objectives, run over time and budget and have lacklustre or no return on investment.

Poorly executed projects also create change fatigue within the organisation so future changes are even less likely to be successful.

The solution is to have your project management team work in collaboration with change management expertise to apply a methodical people approach.

As change is now a constant aspect of a highly functioning business or organisation it makes sense to get this right and, over time, to develop internal change management capability.

Your measure of success should be that the change is not just implemented but embedded. That particular change, and the capability to make ongoing change, needs to be the new “business as usual”.

First published in Fairfax Media

Photo by Unsplash

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