Halebury’s Chris Rawlinson discusses the importance of culture in delivering successful change projects.
All companies have to go through change; from a new member of staff joining the team to a complete office move. It is easy to underestimate the effect that change can have on a team, particularly those which involve technology. For IT systems that are used every day, updates and upgrades will not necessarily be welcomed by everyone, as these changes to systems that staff have become acclimatised to can cause significant disruption to individuals.
For large scale projects that will impact all staff such as moving your operations to cloud-based applications, changing to a new system provider or implementing automation, you need to put people at the centre of the project. These types of projects will likely involve technical changes, process changes and a different user experience for staff. In order to implement these changes in the most positive and least disruptive way possible, these elements should be looked at together. For example, can the technical changes allow processes to be simplified? Can user experience be improved? Taking the time to consider how these changes can be as beneficial as possible will not only make the project more successful, but will also create an easier and more positive transition for staff.
Whether you consider this people-centered approach to be part of a company culture or even just an improvement in communications, this can be the key to success for all kinds of companies. Let’s be clear, we’re not suggesting giving people everything that they want; change within a company will always face some resistance. It is simply about taking different perspectives into consideration and recognising the value that people have in any business.
In contrast, when you try to implement change within an organisation that has a negative culture, it will often be unclear what the actual aims of a project are. When team members are not taken into consideration during the planning, you can come up against opposition from those who foresee problems with the new technology or don’t understand why it is necessary.
This negative approach can lead to a low level of engagement in the project, with everything made more difficult as staff members take up the new technology reluctantly or even refuse to adopt the changes. This can then cause the project to drag or even to fail to deliver its expected and budgeted outcomes.
If you have a big change coming up and want to avoid these problems then you need to keep the people and the culture at the centre of your project. If you don’t know how to implement this type of approach then it can be useful to seek external help from specialists with experience in managing change, in order to guarantee success for your project.