As an ERP practitioner I have ranted and raved about change management for longer then I care to admit, and to be honest, I considered myself something of a change junkie: happy to adapt and certainly eager to move forward with new technology and the like.
But it turns out, I am just like everyone else! When my future husband proposed I eagerly agreed, but when it came to changing my name I panicked. The change seemed too difficult, too much work, I didn’t know where to start. “My google rating will plummet,” I told my perplexed looking fiancé, “my business cards are no longer valid, how will my contacts know how to find me?” I was busy creating barriers to change, instead of working out the solutions.
After a month or so of wrangling, my betrothed finally agreed, I could keep my original name professionally. The funny thing was instead of being happy with this turn of events, I suddenly decided to change my name after-all. It was as though giving me control of the situation, making it my choice rather than a dictation, was exactly what I needed to push myself along the change curve.
It struck me that my SYSPRO customers often have to do the same thing. It’s easy to push out directives to ERP users, but unless they really want to improve their business processes they won’t. It’s simple to schedule time in people’s diaries, but unless they are really engaging in the project, they won’t sit down and properly test the solution. End users need to feel that they have some ownership of the change, whether that be implementing a new ERP system, upgrading their system or changing their business processes.
So the next question is how to develop that feeling of ownership?
- Identify your seeker of value, the person with responsibility and accountability who can really inspire change and help promote ownership, initially through key influencers and then through the whole user base.
- Educate users about why the changes are necessary, be open and honest, and show how the project objectives support the business strategy.
- Empower users to make decisions in their own area, and to work with each other to gain benefits across the business. Make sure enough users understand the end-to-end solution and are aware of the end goal.
- Involve all the stakeholders at every step of the way and give them the time and support they need to first accept that things are changing, then to take ownership and make the change their own.
By taking these steps, you give users the knowledge and understanding to become self-sufficient. This approach puts control where it belongs, inside the organization, and makes it much easier to keep costs down and improve the return on investment.