Change is inevitable – Embrace, mitigate or defend? (Part Deux)
Last month, we started to look at change in its different forms and briefly touched on how to consider change acceptance or rejection.
In this second part (Insert the word ‘change’ into any famous sequel title: “The Last Change”, “Chamber of Change”, “The Change Strikes Back”, “Temple of Change”, “The Good, The Bad and The Change”, “The Wrath of Change”…) we’ll focus more on the practical tools for assessing a change and how you might influence the decision on whether to proceed or not.
“Often… it is the management of the change NOT the change itself that causes implementation failures / employee resistance.”
Does the change offer an appreciable / measurable benefit to the business?
Whether monetary value, time reductions, employee wellbeing or productivity gains, what does this change bring to the business? Even if the change itself will bring short term disruption (during its implementation), a change with lasting positive benefits that employees can ‘see’ will always be embraced (and therefore be more successful).
There are some changes that don’t offer a benefit to the company (mostly legislative and unavoidable) which a company must simply mitigate any negative impact from that they might cause.
There will also be proposals made that sound like a fantastic idea or perhaps are ‘disguised’ as required for legislation but they change nothing nor do they meet any actual requirement – literally burning resources / money for nothing. How should that be challenged? We’ll get to that…
Does the change bring future capabilities that won’t realise a benefit immediately?
Some changes don’t offer immediate benefit but are part of a greater, long term improvement / transformation. When these changes are presented they should highlight the final outcome (delivered in a known timescale) with (you guessed it) an appreciable benefit to the business. It may well be that there is some short to mid-term mitigation around the initial change (perhaps a reduced service) but ultimately, if the change and the subsequent changes are managed well, the change as a whole should be embraced by employees / the business for the greater good.
Often with these longer, staged transformations, it is the management of the change NOT the change itself that causes implementation failures / employee resistance.
Does the change bring a wide scope of benefit?
A change should not be made merely to appease the 1% minority (unless it is the easiest, least impactful update that can ever be made) but you also can’t please everyone all the time. Can the change justify the level of disruption (mitigation) before / during its implementation and also return an appreciable benefit that is seen / felt almost immediately by the wider company? Changes that only appease a small minority at the detriment of others are always going to lead to more general friction or discontent within a company’s employees.
Is there a better option?
One of the reasons PacSol offers a host of different products that seemingly have similar functionality is there is no ‘one size fits all’ solution. As such, just because a change is proposed that seems to offer some benefit, doesn’t mean other options should not be considered before going ahead. Just because the new CTO used to use and like one particular platform, doesn’t mean that platform will bring the same benefit to the new company. Whilst the goals might be similar (for arguments sake Account Processing automation), the current application ecosystem may mean a different supplier’s solution is a better fit in terms of not just cost but compatibility, cross-platform interoperability and future / combined functions.
“But what if the change doesn’t meet the criteria for acceptance?”
Nobody likes conflict but there are times when a position must be defended even if initially it appears to be the unpopular choice. Remember, no one should be reprimanded for having a clarity of thought and speaking freely about concerns – no one said it would be easy either! Just remember:
- Actively listen (politely) to the proposal
- Gather any additional facts around the process or function that the change concerns
- Decide if you are the best person to present the ‘objection’
- Think before you speak and deliver your thoughts in a detailed and straightforward manner
- Use “I” statements
- Provide evidence for your opinion
- Don’t be drawn into another person’s anger / dismay / upset at your opinion – remain civil
Sometimes change comes from far higher up the chain and there is little you as an individual can do to stop it. When this happens, most will simply attempt to mitigate against any negative impact and live in hope that there really is an appreciable benefit worth the upheaval – that all the right questions were asked, all options considered and the ultimate benefits mapped out.
Hopefully, one day, you’ll even be able to embrace that change…
PacSol have been helping organisations automate the management of documents and information since 1995, as part of the digital revolution (digital transformation), helping our customers to achieve cost savings and increase the productivity of staff by offering the most cost-effective solution for their requirements.
We can provide and support a variety of products relating to Enterprise Content Management (ECM), Business Process Automation (BPA), complex data capture and integration that suit all platforms and all types of applications.
Whether a requirement for automated document data capture (such as invoice processing) or document governance to meet current legislative standards, with products such as PacSol’s ImageView Suite, Kofax Capture, DocuWare, Invu or IBM’s Datacap, PacSol can help you solve your document process problems.
Toby Gilbertson, Customer Services Manager. October 2021.
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