Implementation Insights Blog

Implementation Management Associates help organizations around the world achieve large-scale, complex change. This blog discusses our insights into organizational change.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Accelerating Your Business Recovery

As organizations confront radical challenges, leaders may contemplate seismic shifts in strategy. These strategic shifts must be implemented surely and swiftly. Speed has never been more important than it is today. But communication decrees from the top are not enough to ensure implementation success. The Accelerating Implementation Methodology (AIM) offers a simple, but not simplistic, framework for guiding implementation of new strategies through a complex web of organizational issues that can easily cause these strategic lifelines to stall out or even fail.

It’s tempting to delude ourselves that we can shortcut the critical AIM steps in order to gain speed, but these are the very steps that are needed to ensure our capacity to turn the organizational ship in another direction quickly. For example, without a clear definition of the strategic change, we can predict that diverse areas of the organization will provide their own interpretation of what this change will mean. The need for a compelling, easily understood Business Case for Action, is more critical than ever.

Other AIM deliverables are equally as critical, including:
A Sponsorship Strategy:
We must have a plan in place to generate active Sponsorship of the new strategic direction cascading down through senior, mid-level, and front-line ranks. The Sponsorship Strategy must be designed in concert with explicit changes in reinforcements so that there is personal accountability for implementation success at the local level.

A Readiness Strategy:
Even in a difficult economic environment, there will be resistance to change. People may “really oughta wanna” change and follow the new direction, but when we are talking about doing new things in new ways, there will be resistance. If we are prepared with a plan to identify the sources of resistance and manage it appropriately, we will be able to move much more quickly.

A Reinforcement Strategy:
To get the organization to do things differently, we must manage performance differently as well. Review your formal and informal reward systems to make certain that reinforcements are actually aligned with the behavioral changes being made, and that the reinforcements are in the “frame of reference” of the Targets. Telling people to change is not the same thing as motivating people to change.

A Communication Strategy:
While it may appear to be much more efficient to use email to drive key messages, we know it is actually not a very effective delivery mechanism because there is no formal system for getting feedback on the message. This feedback is a critical source of information on where there is likely resistance.

A Strategy for Building Change Agents
Too many organizations rely on subject matter experts to implement changes at the local level. These individuals may have the technical expertise needed, but lack the interpersonal skills and credibility required. Use the AIM Change Agent Assessment tool (available at our website store at to review individual capability to make certain that you are selecting the right people.

By following the AIM structured framework, organizations increase their ability to make changes quickly. When speed matters, AIM is the fuel for driving implementation success.

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