September 18th, 2008
Whether you’re implementing a new system or simply changing office procedures, there are five core steps to successfully transforming your business process and implementing change.
Step 1 – Bringing Awareness
To effectively bring awareness, the objective is to influence the business users’:
- Thinking – Helping them to understand the main objectives and the changes that may be needed to meet these objectives.
- Feelings – Associating the concept of change with positive feelings. Communicating the overall change effort as a fun and interesting project, using all influences possible to prevent users assuming change is a negative.
- Actions – Keeping people engaged and actively participating in the change effort. Though you cannot control one’s actions directly, your influence on their feelings has an impact on their actions.
Step 2 – Understanding Change and Committing
This phase deals with helping users to understand the specific changes that are coming and the reality of these changes. It’s important to enforce these changes through positive influence without causing any sharp resistance from the users. Effective listening and communication skills to ensure these changes are understood by all. During this phase, you must guide the user community through the decision making process on key business changes while setting expectations on the results and impacts of these decisions.
Step 3 – Preparation
Once the changes are defined and processes around these changes are established, business users that are impacted need preparation in the form of competency building, skill set training, and self-confidence. Through the preparation process there will be training sessions, proof of concepts, process testing, etc. This is all necessary to ensure that the business can operate in the new environment and that all details are reviewed, issues are exposed, and issues are resolved.
Step 4 – Launch
Once the business community is fully prepared and testing of the new process confirms satisfactory results, it’s time to bring the new process alive. Prior to enabling the new process, the project and user communities must be fully confident and ready for the launch and the short-term support required. As the new process lives, adaptations may be needed to address the immediate issues and process short comings.
Step 5 – Discipline and Enforcement
After brining alive the new process, the next step is to make sure the establish procedures are being followed by the user community. This is accomplished through positive recognition when a user excels at their new role while also holding users accountable by upper management when procedures are not followed. Emphasis should be placed on following the new process throughout the process transformation lifecycle.