Implementation Insights Blog

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

Monday, October 17, 2011

Business Transformation Leadership is a Hot Topic

It's clear that securing business transformation change leadership is a challenge. We recently compiled some of the key strategies and tactics for transformation change leadership in a complimentary eBook, and we were quite literally stunned by the level of response.

Transformation change is on the top of the agenda for many executives. Healthcare, IT, and Pharma are just a few examples of industries where transformational change is widespread. But what is clear from the response to the eBook, entitled Meeting the Challenge of Transformation Change: Do You Have the Transformation Change Leadership to Cross the Abyss, is that leaders are not fully prepared for what actions will be needed by them as the sponsors of transformation change.

The eBook describes three important lessons about transformational change:
1. Transformational change can't be done incrementally; you can't make the leap across the abyss in two jumps
2. Transformational change can't be made totally safe. It requires a "leap of faith" from the transformation change leadership team
3. Transformational change means you can't go back. Once you cross the abyss, you can't change your mind and go back to the old ways

30-50% of the success of the transformational change agenda depends on the ability of sponsors, the transformational change leadership, to consistently express, model, and reinforce their personal commitment to the change. Yet many transformational change efforts don't have explicit reinforcement strategies, and reinforcement is the "power lever" for accelerating transformational change.

Too often, the transformational change initiatives are a high priority from a strategy-development perspective, but the focus is not maintained for the resource-intensive implementation of the transformational change. Unless the transformational change leadership individually and collectively demonstrate that the transformation is a top-priority, the transformational changes are likely to stall out or fail.

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Thursday, October 13, 2011

Solution Adoption is the Name of the Game

Yesterday on a client call we had a great discussion about the focus of Six Sigma and Lean operational improvement efforts on problem-solving versus solution adoption. As our client so aptly put it, "We think we are so good at problem-solving with Six Sigma and Lean, yet we haven't solved the biggest problem of all-- which is how to get our solutions actually adopted."

And isn't this true for all types of organizational change? Isn't the major focus on solution design, and not on implementation for virtually every type of business change? Why are executives satisfied with solutions that are "installed" but not implemented? Shouldn't every business change be measured by the yardstick of solution adoption?

If we aren't focused on sustained solution adoption as the end-goal, then our implementation efforts are doomed to fall short. If project teams fail to see that unless we achieve solution adoption that sticks, we can't consider a project a success.

To get to solution adoption, we need to put much greater emphasis on the human factors. That begins with having a clear definition of the human objectives for the change. These are the "behaviors we seek to see." If we aren't defining these behaviors up-front, we can't determine if the solution is adopted at the end!

As change management professionals, we need to be talking a lot more about solution adoption with our internal clients and business partners. There isn't anything "soft" about solution adoption and benefit realization for strategic investments.

These language patterns matter, because through repetition we can start to change the mindset and focus for projects. Meeting timelines and budget requirements is extremely important, but if we don't get to sustained solution adoption, what have we really achieved?

When Six Sigma and Lean professional starting using the language of solution adoption and put as much emphasis on solution adoption as on problem-solving, we will see real business improvement.

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