In business, success generally equates to growth, and change often accompanies growth. Change is hard in large organizations, or even in small ones if managers and employees are long-entrenched in the status-quo approach to doing things.
Fear of change is a near-universal human trait. Along with handling the practical issues associated with having employees learn new tools and processes, change leaders must deal with the emotions and resistance that arise in response to change.
After deciding to institute an organizational change, a clear change strategy should be adopted. The difficulties associated with implementing change can be greatly reduced by carefully planning and carrying out the process in a confident, organized manner. Running a productivity analysis is an excellent first move.
Focus on the Essentials
For almost 50 years, academics, consultants, and managers have dissected the subject of change. The objective is charting a smooth path through a process that results in a two-thirds failure rate for most organizations that launch transformation initiatives.
Many change management gurus and a majority of the thousands of books on the topic promote a focus on the soft elements of change. Communication, culture, leadership, motivation, resistance, and buy-in are some of the key buzzwords inserted into conversations about guiding change. Addressing these aspects is undoubtedly important to achieving successful transformations, but the soft side is only one facet of change.
One thing soft factors have in common is subjectivity. Not only do executives disagree on which factors have the most important influence on transformation initiatives, it is difficult to pin down exact definitions of “visionary leadership”, “organizational culture”, and similar concepts. While soft factors may be important, they don’t always have a direct impact on the outcomes of change programs, and it is a challenge to get reliable data on what impact they may have.
A more productive strategy may be to focus on the hard factors of change management. These are aspects that can be measured either directly or indirectly. Their importance can be communicated definitively both inside and outside the organization, and they are elements that can be influenced quickly, unlike human relationships, emotions, and attitudes.
Companies that ignore the importance of hard factors are likely to see their transformation programs fall apart before soft elements become relevant.
Start Where You Stand
A good way to lay a solid foundation for successful change is to conduct a productivity analysis. By developing hard-data on the organization’s productivity by department, position and individual resource, any effects prompted by change processes can be identified and tracked. Staffing issues can be spotted and remediated before they influence work.
A well-designed piece of project planning and resource management software should include a utilization feature that provides the means for analyzing current productivity and forecasting the results of future work. The utilization metric can be based on the number or percentage of booked or workable hours, or expressed as a cash value. You will be able to drill down through aggregated information to gather data at every level of the work organization.
Most importantly, a visual display is a much more efficient method for tracking the use of resources and quantifying the effects of either implemented or proposed change. Running such productivity analysis models is a very useful approach to letting managers see what effects change might have on their workloads and workflows.
Replace Risk and Fear with Clarity and Certainty
Communication is one soft factor that deserves close attention in any change program. The more clearly and effectively you can demonstrate and transmit the effects and benefits of transformation, the more likely it is that a successful outcome will be achieved. Moreover, keeping tabs on production helps in smoothing out the bumps that inevitably occur in even the best-managed change programs.
Running an organizational transformation initiative is a complex project, and the stakes are high. Having a good productivity analysis tool on hand, along with the scheduling, charting, calendaring, and other tools provided by modern project management software can help you provide people with certainty. This is key to managing the softer, emotional aspects associated with getting your employees bought in to the change that comes with growth.