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06/05/2012

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Sandy Richardson

Hi Steve - you raise excellent points here. I particularly think that your first one - executives not realizing that they even have a problem - is a critical one. I often wonder if it's not as much that they don't see the problem (it's not hard to miss if your company isn't making its performance targets) - are they afraid to admit it because they will look weak and/or ineffective? In tough times like this, no one wants to risk this type of exposure. Also, given the current environment, I think that it's very easy to see company performance problems as being externally driven and therefore out of control of the organization. I would be interested in hearing your thoughts on this one as well as comments from the business leaders out there.

Either way, the recognition of the need for improvement and the desire to change must be in the conscious awareness of business leaders for them to want to actually do something.

The requirement for active executive sponsorship and support is, as you've pointed out, a must. Implementing BPM&I requires a willingness to be transparent, face the truth (even when it's ugly), and then do something to improve the situation. Working in this way takes resolve and an investment of time and resources. This won't happen unless the senior executives lead the way.

Finally on change. I am a stong believer in getting employees involved in designing whatever new systems or approaches an organization is trying to implement. As you point out, no one wants to have change rammed down their throats. When employees have the chance to be involved, they understand what's behind the change and, most importantly, they get to determine the actions that can actually be implemented and that will produce results. In my experience, employees often come up with more innovative and executable solutions than the senior team does! Sandy

Steve Kendrick

The issues you describe match almost perfectly a recent experience I have had. In addition to the points you make, I think there are a number of critical per-requisites that also have to be in place to ensure successful delivery.
Firstly, the organisation needs to recognise that it has a problem and needs to change. One of the areas I have had significant challenges with is getting an organisation to recognise just how far away from an acceptable level of performance they are, referring to benchmarks is met with the "but we're different" and " no-one is complaining" sort of comments.
The second area which I suspect we all know, but still has to be there is executive sponsorship, unless the required changes are seen to be important to the leaders of the organisation and those messages are constantly reinforced, the actions of the change agents are undermined as outlined in the original article.
Finally, I believe the organisation needs to think that it is changing itself, not having change "done to it" , typically organisations react the same way the body does to infections, the immune systems fight the change off!
I would be interested to hear of others experience of these issues and how they've addressed them.

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