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The Devil Is In The Details Change Management


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  • 1. The Devil is in the Details Abstract: The journey to achieve acceptance and benefit from change initiatives is often perceived to be difficult and "mysterious" not practical, tangible, or navigable. The path and map through the State of Change is not something large and intrusive, or even highly visible. It is subtle, continuous. The little things make the difference. The devil is truly in the details. This paper removes the mystery, and the devil, from the journey by providing practical, executable techniques for managing and leading change, and navigating around the potholes of change resistance during the journey. Successful techniques employed by the CIBER Change Management program are addressed and illustrated.
  • 2. 1 The Devil is in the Details The method of leading the way through the State of Change is not something large and intrusive, or even highly visible. It is subtle, continuous.
  • 3. 2 The Devil is in the Details The map, and the method of leading the way through the State of Change, is not something large and intrusive, or even highly visible. It is subtle, continuous. The little things make the difference. The devil is in the details. Leading Change: Start with the End in Sight The driving concept of change leadership is this: changes in a company rarely fail because they were not needed or were poorly planned and executed. They fail because of the natural resis- tance that accompanies all changes in an organization—regardless of the magnitude of the changes. No matter how necessary a change, it still must be implemented in an environment that includes Leading Change: The Devil is in people—people who are often familiar and comfort- able with the “way things are.” Guiding those the Details people effectively along the path of change requires proactive leadership, training, and a Much of the time, for most people (including this variety of skills and support to overcome resis- author), our “environmental” address is the State tance and to ensure the ultimate success of the of Change. We arrived here quietly and quickly; the project. move was not heralded with address change forms at the Post Office, new schools for the kids, and The ultimate success of any change initiative is the Mayflower moving vans. We appeared at our jobs willingness and ability of the people involved and one morning, and recognized that our world, as we affected to accept and to benefit from the changes knew and understood it, was not going to be that a project brings to an organization. exactly the same again. The familiar objectives, duties, processes, information, structures, ways of To accept, embrace and fully realize the benefits of doing business were not going to be what and how current and anticipated changes, people must they always were. Even more startling was the acquire the Four “Cs” of Change: realization that we needed to help others make this move: the people who work for us, and the • Comfort people whom we work for and with. • Competence To weather the dynamic, and sometimes intimidat- • Confidence ing, climate of this State of Change, our mandate is • Control to manage and lead others, along with their baggage of “the way we were,” into and through the State of Change, to the “promised land”—the land of faster, more efficient, more profitable, greater growth and success. So, where is the map to lead this adventure? Where are the mileposts, the gas stations, the closest Starbucks?
  • 4. 3 The Devil is in the Details The end-in-sight for a change initiative is attain- Providing the sense and reality of control to others ment of the objectives. The end of the journey, to means helping employees to: lead people to the attainment of the objectives, is to have established the opportunities, the environ- • understand what has to happen ment, and the “climate” to allow people to acquire • recognize where their input is desired and the Four Cs. valuable • identify what they can control themselves, Seeking comfort means that people desire what is without additional or supervisory permission familiar. This means that even if the dog is bad, he’s MY dog: I know his name, he comes when Understanding the end of the journey—successfully he’s called, and I know just where to scratch his leading people through the changes—allows us to head. Providing comfort means allowing people to embark on the move to the State of Change. get used to the sight, sound, and implications of the anticipated changes. It includes communica- tion and visible symbols of the changes. Leading Change: The Details of Desiring competence implies avoidance of the the Journey natural fear that drives the questions of, “Can I learn this? Can I be successful after the changes? Now let’s discuss practical application of these What will happen to me, and my job, if I cannot do techniques using an example of an actual company it/learn it/adapt?” Mitigating these fears means in a major change initiative. avoiding the pothole of short-cutting education and training for the sake of expediency. It includes • Determine the reality of the change providing the opportunity to allow people to atmosphere in the company and the changes become competent. A wise person once said, “You cannot fight the devil, until you stand up and look him in the Achieving and maintaining confidence has eye.” multiple implications. In times of change, people may question confidence in their own abilities, Understanding the presence or absence of confidence in the goals, plans and leadership of change resistance, and why there is resistance the initiative, and even confidence in the leader- is too important to overlook. If we do not know ship of their company. After all, just who thought if, why, where, and how strongly people resist up this change initiative that is creating an change, then any plans to address these upheaval? Building trust in times of change is a challenges will not be well-informed decisions, significant element of change leadership, and a and will likely not hit the mileposts of success. requirement that cannot be overstated. Proactive, Too often evaluation of the change climate is highly visible executive support, prolific and made by people who filter the analysis through focused communication, and honesty are all their own prejudices and attitudes, and most requirements for creating, building, and re-building often do not reflect the sentiment of the rest of that trust and confidence. the company. Becoming empowered—having control—is an The CIBER Change Management Program begins enormously strong desire, and one that may be with the use of a Change Hardiness Assessment perceived as difficult to provide to all people in an (CHA). The responses to this quick, easy-to- organization in times of change. Certainly, asking answer survey of people’s current attitudes everyone in the company what they want is not toward the anticipated changes are tabulated good business. Micro-managing every aspect of and clearly indicate the change hardiness of a the desired end-result (the objectives), or the company in relation to 10 different change journey through change, isn’t advisable either. strategies, 8 of which are resistance strategies and 2 of which are acceptance strategies. Once
  • 5. 4 The Devil is in the Details the reasons for change resistance or acceptance achieve the changes. The people charged with are understood and identified, the reality of the ensuring that the objectives are achieved are journey is known, and effective plans can be the change champion and the change agents. A made and executed to address these reasons. change champion must be a person who is respected and listened to within the Recognizing the realities of the changes is the organization, a positive individual who is not second part of “looking the devil in the eye.” personally change resistant, and a person who is The rumor mill and grapevines of most empathetic about the needs of others. This organizations are often faster and more person may be at any level within an robust (and more interesting!) than organization, but is most often found in a middle communication of the truth. Many people are or lower management position. resistant because of the fear of the unknown. To counter such resistance, organizations must Change agents are most effective when they prepare a comprehensive impact analysis or at are solicited as volunteers to the change effort, least a list of what will actually change and the when they understand the requirements of the impact these changes will have on the people initiative, when they understand what is needed and organization. Then the organization must to effect change, and when they demonstrate communicate this information to employees. the willingness to put forth personal effort to ensure success. These are the people who will • Name the project serve as the “faces” of the project and will bring This is so important, it needs a category of its the message and support of change to their own. This is a significant component of comfort. departments, divisions or work teams. It establishes the reality that this project will happen. It establishes familiarity as a visible • Employ visible symbols of change sign of change. And it allows people to begin Once the project has found its memorable “owning” the project. The importance of naming name, use it often and everywhere possible: the a project is illustrated by remembering why we project room, signs on the cubicles or offices, do not want a child to name a stray puppy that buttons, table tents on cafeteria tables, on appears on our doorstep. Once that dog is every piece of communication about the named, we own it! initiative. A very important note about naming is to avoid Other signs of change include posting the the pothole of a boring name! A boring name project plan, showing milestones seriously violates the last detail of “enjoying the achieved on the project room walls, and journey to the greatest extent possible.” The IT frequent, visible celebrations that are mentioned Project or Acme Factory’s ERP Project are never in the next details category. good names! They are not memorable, have no implication of enjoyment or benefit, and will • Celebrate often and publicly—and mourn likely not be repeated. The best names will privately make people smile when they hear them, or at This detail is closely aligned with the visible least nod their heads positively. signs of change and the enjoyment requirement. The celebrations do not have to be lavish or • Determine the Change Champion and Change expensive, but should be visible, enjoyable, and Agents loud with the sounds of commendation and The leadership of an organization—the executive applause for the people who have achieved sponsors—are the change architects; they define whatever milestone is being celebrated. the necessary changes and design the The motivating effect of applause should not be organization and the overall processes to underrated. There are few sounds as sweet as your own name, followed immediately by applause! Many people will put forth
  • 6. 5 The Devil is in the Details extraordinary effort just to hear that sweet what “singing the right song” means-— sound! determining what is in it for them and communicating that publicly and often. Mark Mourning privately also translates to “don’t wash Twain’s Tom Sawyer promised his friends that your dirty laundry in public.” Certainly all they could see the frog in his pocket and his projects carry the reality of problems, sore toe if they would help him paint. And of disappointments or missteps. However, the course, they did! What is better than a frog and entire company does not need to hear the sordid sore toe to a group of river boys! And then, of details of all of these—unless the missteps course, they all celebrated with a raft ride. Tom were committed in public. If that is the case, Sawyer knew how to communicate and motivate! then acknowledge the problem/disappointment /misstep, and announce the resolution • Educate and Train publicly. It then becomes a celebration of truth Entirely too often, the first cut that may be and faith in the leadership of the project. required to a project’s budget or timeline is education (how something works and why), and Author’s Note: I have often reminded project training (exactly how we will use this.) Skimping teams that they will likely be the people standing on education and training is the single biggest in front of the rest of the company teaching the pothole in the road to the State of Change! Not company how to use the system or the new only does it substantially increase the business processes. I explain that I would not immediate resistance, the ability to use and want to be the one standing there if I have been benefit from the changes, but it also has the person “defaming” the value of the project long-term implications. Shortcutting training too and changes throughout the journey. often means “re-implementation” at a later time; Recognition of this reality has significantly doing again, and paying again for what was lowered any resistance by the team itself in already done because the knowledge of how to almost 100% of the projects! use it was never there, or was too thin to be transferred to others. As a change leadership • Communicate technique, education and training have greater Change management is often synonymous with impact both short- and long-term than even communication. While communication is a communication — the category that many major component, it is not the magic bullet. believe is the end-all, be-all for change Communication is the large, visible management. Not providing sufficient education manifestation of change leadership; absolutely and training means “pay now, or pay later”, and necessary with significant impact, sometimes “later” is always more costly and more difficult! positive if done well, and negative when it is not well-executed. However, without tending to the • Enjoy the journey to the greatest extent other details, and removing the devils that possible reside there, the communication becomes a This means have some fun! This means find hollow sound. It is absolutely necessary to fun, make it up, even if it means pretending to communicate often and much—from the others that you are enjoying at least some parts strategic vision guiding the project, through of the project work! (You may want to re-read the objectives, to the accomplishments and the Huckleberry Finn for refinement of the pretend nature of the changes and resultant system or technique.) People will always put forth more processes. It’s also important to repeat this energy and invest more of themselves when positive message frequently, as it often takes a there is enjoyment involved. Projects are always long time for a message to “sink in.” However, it more work—they are burdensome, they are seen is also very important to be “singing the right as drudgery. But if there’s an element of fun, song” to the right audience. laughter, and camaraderie, people will be eager to participate, to work hard and to accept some While there is always a number (hopefully large potholes in the road. number) of employees who will understand the need for change, most people are more Those are the details in which the devil resides. interested in “what’s in it for me?” That is Stand up, look him in the eye, and watch him run!
  • 7. 6 The Devil is in the Details Leading Change: One Company’s As an enticement to participate, HEALED offered a $5 Target gift card to employees who Journey to the State of Change returned their completed surveys. Author’s Note: A Starbucks gift card may be a To illustrate how to remove the devil from the better choice, since a project team can always details of change leadership, the real-life example use additional caffeine. included here is a large group of hospitals and related healthcare facilities located in the Midwest- Even without an incentive, it is usual to get a ern area of the United States—but they also live in high percentage of returned surveys. People do the State of Change. This organization was formed like to be asked for their opinions. The CHA is from the merger of existing, previously indepen- also much like a Nielsen rating. It does not dent entities, and currently employs more than require a large number of responses to derive 10,000 people. To accommodate confidentiality the correct analysis. A substantial number of issues, the company is being referred to as surveys not completed (more than 50%) often “HEALED.” indicates a real problem in change resistance, and shows that many people are in denial about During the mergers, acquisitions, and prior major the project or the need for change. information systems initiatives, HEALED has not lived well in the State of Change, but has experi- According to the HEALED employees who enced substantial resistance to change, and even completed the CHA, the areas of greatest a strong desire of most employees to move out of resistance occurred in the following three the State of Change. Prior initiatives had been strategies: excessively challenged, were over-budget, late, cancelled, and/or outright failures. The event that is addressed here is a major ERP implementation • They believe their needs are being met already. affecting all financial departments, procurement, • They believe the change process was handled human resources and payroll. At the start of this improperly. project, the executive sponsors recognized that • They believe those responsible for the change HEALED needed some of its own medicine—it cannot be trusted. needed to heal itself, and have a heightened quality of life in the State of Change. They actively By understanding the challenges, HEALED’s sought to manage and lead change with results executive sponsors created a change much different from their previous attempts. management plan that included the following action items: Author’s Note: The size of this company is not relative to the use, and subsequent success, of • Establish Comfort employing the change leadership techniques. This - Explain why the change is necessary author has personally and successfully guided the - Indicate how the change will allow employees same approach for one-site companies with less to meet their needs better than 200 employees to a company with more than 14,000 employees in 56 countries. - Ask for and listen to employees’ concerns - Ensure consistency in communication by all This is what HEALED did to remove its pain. those responsible for leading the change • Determine the reality of the changes and change atmosphere in the company The Change Hardiness Assessment (CHA) was distributed to 181 employees, and 121 completed and returned the survey, indicating a 67% response rate.
  • 8. 7 The Devil is in the Details • Build Competence • Re-establish Control - Identify and focus efforts on individuals who - As change begins to work, take time to are known to be innovators and early adopters recognize and recall the achievements of the during prior changes people who made it happen: - Put a respected person in charge of the • Acknowledge the struggle and sacrifices process people have made • Look ahead • Raise Confidence - Communicate what has been decided about - Determine if teams are setting their sights the change and is not up for discussion, what too low is open for discussion and recommendations, - Discover if teams are holding back due to and what is within employee control about the fear of losing something change: - Follow through on agreements reached to • Help employees stay focused on factors improve the situation within their control - Communicate openly about mistakes made • Be honest about suggestions you can and in the past during the change, what was cannot accept, and indicate why learned, and what is being put in place to - Ask: prevent repeating those mistakes • How can you help employees implement the - Make certain that problems and issues are change? fully understood before making decisions that • How can you make the change work better? may inadvertently exacerbate the problem • What alternatives might make the change - Apologize for mistakes, or the issue will never more effective? go away • How can teams support the change? • Provide additional information (not excuses) as needed See Figure 1 which shows the scoring for HEALED • Ask for suggestions to avoid similar situations in the future by department. All scores above the red horizontal line indicate action that should be taken. Figure 1 - HEALED Combined Change Hardiness 3.80 3.40 3.00 2.60 2.20 1.80 1.40 1.00 Meet Needs Want to Get Involved w/ Their Needs Met Already Outweigh Inconsistent and Focused Change Will Change Will Responsible Unnecessary to Long-term Benefits Process was for Change Committed Improperly Harder to are Being Change is with Their Cannot Be Change is Costs Change Make it Handled Benefits Trusted Change to Avoid Those Value Fail Dept 1 Dept 2 Dept 3 Dept 4 Dept 5
  • 9. 8 The Devil is in the Details • Name the project communicate the news of the project and to • Employ visible symbols of change seek change agents. Two days after the third The project at HEALED was named RPM, which Navigating Change Workshop, employees began stands for Revolutionizing Performance by to volunteer as change agents. At the end of Mastering. A racing and revolution theme was this “hunt,” 103 employees had volunteered to used extensively throughout the project. A team be change agents to help spread the word and room, named The Pit, was established, and effect change acceptance throughout the decorated with motivational posters and flip organization. In keeping with the racing theme, chart pages with lists of revolutionaries and these change agents were called “spotters.” several ground-breaking medical pioneers such Spotters in the racing world are the persons who as George Washington and Louis Pasteur. make sure the drivers (in this case, project Buttons were purchased for the team members team members) know what is happening on the and the change agents. Each buttton had one of track. They can provide assistance and issue the following sayings: warnings if there is potential danger. The change agents/spotters also saw their role as liaisons • Ask me about the Revolution between the project team and the end users, • Join the Revolution passing information from one group to another. • I’ve joined the Revolution Excellent roles for change agents! The RPM logo was also displayed on all of the buttons. Coffee mugs, banners, screen savers Biweekly meetings were held with the spotters and logo-imprinted note pads rounded out the to relay project information, project progress, symbols of change. and concerns, to respond to frequently asked questions received by the team or the spotters, Another healthcare client chose MAX and to generate and maintain interest. This (Maximizing Accounts Payable Excellence) as ensured that the change agents were all its project name. The client cited the name delivering the same, correct information. as the second most significant factor in Experiential exercises were also provided to the its success, because of the acceptance the spotters, and they were instructed to use these project received companywide. Naming that monthly exercises with the people in their project happened to coincide with that year’s departments—their pit crews. Experiential CIBER mascot: a beanie baby bobcat named exercises focused on understanding and MAX. Hundreds of the MAX beanie babies were experiencing change resistance (The Change distributed throughout the organization. The Game), communication (Lego Exercise), start of the project was announced with a influencing and motivating (Eating Spinach), and picture of MAX in the birthing center surrounded givens, negotiables, and controllables. At every by doctors and nurses. There were MAX change meeting, change agents who had “sightings” publicized throughout the excelled the previous month were publicly organization, as MAX was photographed on his recognized as the “Spotter Spotlight Agent.” many road show trips to different sites. The devil was driven from that detail, and MAX led • Celebrate often and publicly—and mourn the company to the State of Change and to privately success! Celebrations were held at the end of every milestone, ranging from “Donuts in the Pit,” to • Determine the Change Champion and Change formal dinners for the project team. With the Agents exception of formal dinners, the celebrations The RPM change champion for HEALED was were most often held in the team room and were selected early in the project, and led the well-attended by spotters, executive steering “hunt” for change agents throughout the committee members, project team members company. A series of workshops, entitled and HEALED employees. “Navigating Change,” was offered to
  • 10. 9 The Devil is in the Details • Communicate • Educate and train Information about the project’s goals and Education and training carried a high priority progress was communicated to employees via throughout the project duration, as lack of e-mail messages, newsletters, and table-top comprehensive training was known to be a tents in the lunch room. In addition, a series of factor in HEALED’s previous project failures. road shows was held. Integrated knowledge of the system (following sound principles of adult education) was These road shows were conducted at all of the delivered, with custom prepared end-user hospitals, the outlying medical offices, and the training manuals that could be re-used for new administrative offices. The initial road show hires and other personnel changes. A two-day sessions focused on “marketing the project” and Train the Trainer Workshop was delivered for the the parts of the project that would affect all of RPM Training Corps, composed entirely of the employees. When a network connection was HEALED employees, to increase their comfort possible, employees were encouraged to log level in teaching and to ensure their ability to do onto the system and see for them what new the job well. capabilities and benefits the system was bringing to them and to HEALED. The response • Enjoy! was overwhelmingly positive, with the only The executive steering committee was initially negatives being, “Why do we have to wait?!” The skeptical about the “have fun” mandate in road shows were marketed through the change change leadership, as it appeared that they did agents, articles in newsletters, on the HEALED not previously have much experience in enjoying Intranet home page, and on table-tents at all of themselves! In a very short period of time, they the hospital cafeterias. saw the immediate benefits, and fully supported and participated in experiential exercises, the Every person attending the road show left with celebrations, and the laughter that was often handouts of the system and wore “I Witnessed heard from the team room. The consensus the Revolution” stickers. This also helped from the project team, the spotters, and advertise to the other employees that the road the steering committee was that the show was being held at their site. “enjoyment” element will have long-lasting results at HEALED, because it healed some The second round of road shows promoted long-standing “sores,” removed historic other benefits of the project and were designed prejudices against change, and built a sense of to promote training. This round of road shows camaraderie and teaming that was previously was marketed through the Payroll Department, lacking at HEALED. which listed the dates and locations of upcoming shows on the payroll stubs sent to each This is the journey that one company took on its employee. The pay stub notices were so path to success in its project, and how the successful in reaching the entire company that company removed the devil from the details in progress messages were posted on each stub leading change. The change effort was successful until after the go-live date; each message because the company helped employees find focused on a different aspect and progress of comfort, competence, confidence, and control, the project. which led to employee acceptance of the need for change. The change effort was also successful Through the road shows, and the open house because the company included and sustained all sessions held every Wednesday for one hour in of the elements of success: the team room, the message of the project has • determining the company’s change atmosphere reached nearly 1,000 employees. This number • naming the project does not include spotters, project team • identifying the change champion and change members and the employees with whom the agents spotters were working. • employing visible symbols of change
  • 11. CIBER, Inc. (NYSE: CBR) is a pure-play international system integration consultancy with superior value-priced services and reliable delivery for both private and government sector clients. CIBER’s services are offered globally on a project- or strategic-staffing basis, in both custom and enterprise resource planning (ERP) package environments, and across all technology platforms, operating systems and infrastructures. Founded in 1974 and headquartered in Greenwood Village, Colo., CIBER now serves client businesses from over 60 U.S. offices, 25 European offices and seven offices in Asia/Pacific. Operating in 18 countries, with more than 8,500 employees and annual revenue of approximately $1.2 billion, CIBER and its IT specialists continuously build and upgrade clients’ systems to “competitive advantage status.” CIBER is included in the Russell 2000 Index and the S&P Small Cap 600 Index. CIBER, Inc. • 6363 South Fiddler’s Green Circle • Suite 1400 • Greenwood Village, CO 80111 • 800.242.3799 © 2009 CIBER, Inc. All rights reserved. CIBER and the CIBER logo are registered trademarks of CIBER, Inc. CIBER stock is publicly traded under the symbol “CBR” on the NYSE.