Change management, business and process improvement are not only buzzwords that management likes to throw around when things aren’t going as well as planned, but also important tools that help improve performance. In many large corporations, entire departments tasked with nothing but those issues have been set up and are continuously helping the company through change projects.
Studies have found that the most important reason for successful change projects in process improvement is that the technical solution is right. But interestingly, even in failed projects the technical solution is pitch-perfect most of the time. When projects fail, it is because there are burdens they can not overcome, obstacles they simply did not clear. And the most common of those barriers is people – employees or management – not being on board with the change, as Christopher Long explains in this excellent podcast for the Process Excellence Network.
In it, he talks about how to overcome obstacles on the path to change and how to get the people involved in process improvement. Some of his advise might sound commonplace, but it would be foolish to underestimate its value. Long proposes to get everybody who is actually doing the day-to-day work that is being changed involved from the word ‘go’ and to make constantly sure that those people are invested in the project. He stresses the importance of early successes and how they can help to ‘sell’ the more long-term and difficult goals. Connected to that is a clear vision of the future and a strategy for getting there. Communicating these is vital for getting people excited about the change and thus have them contribute to its success.
Long gives plenty of examples from his own career to illustrate how these and other lessons he applied will help ensure that a process improvement project will be successful. So if you are involved in one or thinking about starting one, listening to this podcast is definitely a good idea.