Implementation Insights Blog

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

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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