Change Management: Make Change That Lasts by Allan Ung, Operational Excellence Consulting


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Change Management - This article focuses on the critical success factors for making sustainable change.

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Change Management: Make Change That Lasts by Allan Ung, Operational Excellence Consulting

  1. 1. Make Change That LastsMake Change That LastsBy Allan Ung Change is the only constant. ~ Heraclictus, Greek PhilosopherChange is the only constant in the work environment.Whether you are shifting office to another location, adopting a new practice or process,implementing an IT system, or re-engineering the business processes for an organization,change happens to everyone all the time.However, many change initiatives have been short-lived as a result of the failure to manageand sustain the change.For change to be successful and long lasting, do take note of the following keyconsiderations when you implement change programs/initiatives in your organization:1. Future State VisionDefine and rally around a compelling vision for the future state. What are the potentialthreats? How urgent is the change? What are the risks if the organization does notchange? How will you know when we get there?Present the facts and findings such as flat earnings, rising costs, decreasing market share,and other relevant key indicators where necessary to create awareness and convinceemployees to buy-in to the change initiative.Identify the key resistance issues and stakeholders who are impacted by the change andaddress them. Be prepared to deal with emotional and political issues.Create a compelling vision and an urgency for change so as to move people out from theircomfort zones to a change in behavior and the way they value-add to the business andcustomers.2. CommunicationCommunicate the vision to middle management and staff regularly with the right messagestargeted at the right groups and at the right time.Communicate fully and honestly describing changes that will take place as well as thereasons for them. 1© 2009-2011 Operational Excellence Consulting. All Rights Reserved.
  2. 2. Make Change That Lasts"Town hall" sessions, round-tables, huddles, newsletters, emails from top management, etc.are various communication platforms that can be used.Do not limit to one congregational meeting, a ministerial-type sermon or a single mail outfrom the CEO.Get feedback from employees on how they see the change issues and what ideas they canoffer to resolve them.You need to walk the talk if people are going to perceive the effort as important.Engage in behaviors desired of employees, and make it clear that you are totally committedto the change and you expect the same from them as well.Utilize all available channels of communication and opportunity.3. Change Strategy and InfrastructureDefine the change strategy and the change programs required (e.g. how to createawareness, how to communicate, what training programs, what pilot projects to start with,etc.). Consolidate the change management plan.Identify the tangible and intangible results to be achieved at the end of the change process.How does success look like?Assess the need to invest in additional resources (e.g. more people) to support the changeprogram.For changes affecting an organization, setting up a change management team is necessary.A change management team is a cross-functional team comprising:  A core team made up of a steering committee (e.g. senior executives), a working team (e.g. functional managers)  A team of change agents, i.e. change champions from each operations unit affected by the change; The change agents also act as link-pins between the operations units and the core team.4. Training and EducationReview the relevant business functions and work processes impacted by the change todetermine the new skill requirements for the stakeholders.To enable the various stakeholders to perform to the requirements expected from thechange initiative, the following steps may be helpful:  Identify the required training needs  Consolidate the training plan  Design and develop the training packages 2© 2009-2011 Operational Excellence Consulting. All Rights Reserved.
  3. 3. Make Change That Lasts  Review the training material specifications with customers to obtain feedback and clarity of the contents and structural aspects of the training programs, if necessary  Consider pilot testing the training material and conduct training dry-run for new trainers if applicable  Conduct training and collect training feedback  Review feedback from participants and instructors and fine-tune training plan, training schedule and training programs5. EmpowermentTest the new approach with one or more pilot teams and prove that new ways are betterthan the old.Involve your employees in the problem solving or process improvement and empower themas necessary.If they know that they are an active part of the solution, they can identify opportunities thatyou might not even be aware of.Highlight the tangible and intangible benefits or quick wins as a result of implementing thenew practice/process/system to gain wider acceptance.Follow up on areas for improvement and unresolved issues.Draw learning points as reference for subsequent processes and/or systems and for massimplementations.6. Sustain the MomentumFor change to last, it has to be part of your organizations culture. The core values need toembrace change and be demonstrated by the leadership and employees in their day-to-dayactivities.When hiring and training new staff, ensure that the change ideals and core values areincluded in the selection criteria and training programs respectively.Publicize quick wins and success stories in your communication sessions.Recognize key members of the steering and working committees, outstanding changeagents, teams and individuals that have contributed to the objectives of the changeinitiatives.Create a "hall of fame" to recognize the contributions of old and new employees.Develop succession plans to replace key leaders of change as they move on.Review the change management process and draw the lessons learned and incorporatethem in new change programs/initiatives as part of continuous improvement. 3© 2009-2011 Operational Excellence Consulting. All Rights Reserved.
  4. 4. Make Change That LastsConclusionWith proper planning and having the necessary foundations in place, change can bemanaged more easily and successfully.If you are able to implement the key factors mentioned above, you can help to ingrainchange as part of your cultural fabric.When you are able to create sustainable change, only then you can realize the fruits of yourvision.About the AuthorAllan Ung is Managing Consultant of Operational Excellence Consulting, a Singapore-based management consultancy firm specializing in the implementation of operationalexcellence methodologies. He has more than 20 years experience in Lean SigmaManagement, Total Quality Management and Change Management spanning acrossgovernment, manufacturing and service-based organizations. Mr Ung holds a BachelorDegree in Mechanical Engineering from the National University of Singapore. He is aCertified Management Consultant (Japan), Lean Sigma Black Belt, TPM Instructor (JIPM)and ISO9000 Lead Auditor. To contact Allan, please email: Operational Excellence ConsultingOperational Excellence Consulting (OEC) is a Singapore-based management training andconsultancy firm that assists organizations in improving business performance andeffectiveness through methodologies such as Lean Management and Six Sigma Quality.The firm’s mission is to create business value for organizations through innovativeoperational excellence management training and consulting solutions. OEC takes a unique“beyond the tools” approach to enable clients develop internal capabilities and culturaltransformation to achieve world-class excellence and competitive advantage. For moreinformation, please visit 4© 2009-2011 Operational Excellence Consulting. All Rights Reserved.