Common Organizational Change Management Myths

Common Organizational Change Management Myths

Last post I talked about what is Organizational Change Management. It’s a well-known term, yet still greatly misunderstood, and the lack of it is the root cause of many transformation failures. Let me debunk a few common myths associated with change management:

Myth #1- Technology Equals Transformation

First, technology implementation does not result in transformational change. Yes, if done correctly, it does provide new tools. But, by itself, it doesn’t change how work gets done or how decisions get made. In fact, research has shown that, in hindsight, leaders of technology implementations that were supposed to result in transformation wished that they had done more work around change management. This is especially true for organizational change on global digital transformations. They won’t make this same mistake twice – learn from them!

Myth #2 – Change Management is Just Good Communication and Training

Second, effective change management is more than communications and training. Yes, both of these disciplines are needed, but they should be thought of only as components of change management – they don’t equate to it. Change management is both an art and a science, with many strategic and tactical facets required to achieve success. All need to be part of your ERP organizational change management plan.

Myth #3 – Consultants will manage the Change

Third, change management is not something that consultants can just “do” for clients. (Isn’t this a shocking statement for a career consultant to make?) Consultants can do things like help establish change strategy, develop role descriptions, build communications and develop training, but the most effective change management teams are those that are comprised of both clients and consultants. Client team members, including executives, are crucial to the change team. They know how to get things done throughout the organization and how to communicate with stakeholders, and they have the ability to remove obstacles.

Organizational Ownership

So, how can an organization adopt change management? Develop what I call “organizational ownership” of the change. Recognize that few (if any!) technology initiatives are only about technology. They affect people and the way they work. Change often creates angst throughout an organization, and this angst is magnified when users feel like “IT is doing this ‘to’ me (as opposed to ‘with’ me)” or “IT is doing this and they don’t have enough understanding about the way I work.”

My concept of “organizational ownership” is just what it sounds like – getting the whole organization to demonstrate a collective sense of ownership of the change. While OCM is often thought of as a combination of communications and training, creating “organizational ownership” proves to be a much more effective way of driving widespread adoption of the new ways of working (aka, the change). For example, when a change initiative results in new job roles, it is important that HR participate in their definition and help establish the roles’ objectives.

There are no silver bullets. Driving change is hard. Making it “part of the fabric” (just the way work gets done) of operations is even harder. If you are struggling with change in our organization or are worried about an upcoming initiative, please hit me up, I would love to chat.

What is ERP Organizational Change Management?

What is ERP Organizational Change Management?

What is ERP organizational change management? Unfortunately, it’s a question that many aren’t able to answer.

Multiple research studies have shown that the majority of major issues on transformation projects (67% – 75%, depending on the study) are due to people and change management issues, not software or technical problems. In another study, 90% of the respondents who included change management initiatives in their projects estimated the impact of change management on project success as “very high” or “high.”
By definition, Organizational Change Management (OCM) is a framework for managing the effect of new business processes, changes in organizational structure or cultural changes within an enterprise. Simply put, OCM addresses the people side of change management. It is anything that helps enable your employees and stakeholders in their migration from the current state to the future state.

Yet, change management is still treated by many project teams as a “nice to do” or overlooked entirely. It’s likely that these teams don’t really understand OCM or how to do it. Or, they think that OCM is simply a matter of sending out some project newsletters or training end users right before go-live. There is much more to it than this.

Most technology initiatives designed to create change across an organization fail when they are evaluated against their expected business benefit. While such projects are usually able to deliver their “product” (e.g., an ERP system), they often fail because they are unable to “change the operational DNA” of the environment. In fact, culture is one of the most overlooked aspects of organizational change and digital transformation initiatives.

This is especially true of multi-site and multi-national digital transformations. Diverse cultures, business operations, and political factors all underscore the importance of OCM. As a result, there are several important organizational change to-dos as part of a global digital transformation. They also require some distinct organizational change strategies for global digital transformations.

The business value of change management is this – companies often justify technology investments by developing business cases. There’s an implicit assumption in every business case that’s along the lines of, “our business community will use the new ways of working (the technology, the processes, the governance framework, etc.) as it’s designed.” You’ll probably never see this assumption written down, but it’s there.

Unfortunately, most IT professionals know this doesn’t turn out to be the case. While IT initiatives are often successful at getting the “system” up and running, we often don’t see it used as we thought it would be, and as a result, don’t achieve the expected business benefits.

My next blog will share some of the common myths that lead organizations to overlook OCM, as well as share the concept of Organizational Ownership.

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