Friday, August 15, 2008

Selling Organizational Change as a "Project"

Here are a few value propositions, arguments and approaches to assist with "the sale" that I've assembled from a variety of sources:

1.) Explain the “J Curve” effect (whenever you introduce change into an established system, things will get worse before they get better). Show how the drop in productivity can be diminished and how the timeframe of the drop can be shortened by an effective change management process (strong leadership vision and engagement, stakeholder management, effective communications, proper training, reinforcement strategies and appropriate business readiness action... all managed as a project, with a strategy and project plan). Executives like this approach as it makes good business sense for an investment in key resources to "get it right".

2.) In a 2003 survey of 327 companies in 53 countries, ProSci discovered that resistance to change within the organization was cited six times more often than any other as the number one obstacle to successful implementation of a project. Furthermore, when surveyed, and given the benefit of hindsight, the project teams picked more effective change management as the top activity that they would do differently on the next project.

3.) In 2001, the Hay Group, Inc. noted that: 70% of all change initiatives fall short of expectation, and "people issues" are cited as the primary hurdle. Executives rank people-related issues as the most important driver of successfully implementing and sustaining change.

4.) The National Bureau of Labor estimates that people are productive an average of 4.2 hours per day at work. However, during times of unmanaged change, productive hours decrease to 1.2 per day, or a 75% productivity loss.

5.) The following summarizes a survey taken by Organizational Dynamics on ODNet: Why Do ERP Implementations Fail?
  • 42% Leadership
  • 27% Organizational & Cultural Issues
  • 23% People Issues
  • 4% Technology Issues
  • 4% Other

6.) Erik Spurgin, Learning Consultant proposes the following tactic: "Use an 'upward selling' approach. How did the executive get to where they are today? Why do they handle change so well? Ask them with as much sincere candor as you can muster. Allow them to talk about 'hard work', 'perserverence', et. al. for as long you can get them to talk. Listen, they will provide you with the information that you need in order to close the sale... in this case, the strategy and the funding for the strategy" .

Posted by: Jim Markowsky, X-Factor Solutions,