Put Your Money Where The Change Is

When it is time for your organization to change, you are going to need money to make it happen. Depending on the extent of the change your budget may be large or small, but you need to recognize up front that all steps will require some degree of financial backing:

  • Hiring change experts (if needed) to teach your change agents how to make the change happen;
  • Developing the current state and future state processes to ensure you know where you are and where you want to be;
  • Training your employees to make the future state a reality;
  • Setting aside time each month for employees to participate in Communities of Practice…

Since your goal is to modify the people, processes, services, and/or technology of your company, we recommend engaging a Financial Analyst to help the change team build the Cost Benefit Analysis (CBA) and determine the budget for your wHolistic ChangeSM approach:

  1. Make the case for change: resources will be needed to perform the stakeholder analysis to identify all of the internal and external customers affected by the change and how it will benefit them.
  2. Define success: concrete business measurements need to be developed to justify the expense of making the change and why it will benefit your company, to win over senior executives to support the change both financially and professionally.
  3. Avoid pitfalls that cause change efforts to fail. Lessons learned from previous failed attempts to effect change at your company will be useful to prepare the change team to anticipate challenges and head those off before the change becomes yet another failed effort (a waste of time and money).
  4. Gain strong sponsorship: you will need a committed executive who will set aside time in their busy schedule to justify the necessary funding, champion the change through full implementation, and use their clout to facilitate a steering committee of their peers to ensure executive support across departments and divisions.
  5. Create change agents: you will need a team to make the change happen! Depending on the role and extent of change, some of these resources will be able to act part-time on the change effort, while others may need to be dedicated 100% to the change to ensure achievement of success:
    1. Change Agents: for the new world to catch on and go, you will need people in the trenches who are change agents – they will have the passion to make it work and to maintain it long term;
    2. Facilitator: this role knows how to get everybody talking in an effective manner;
    3. Integrator: the integrator can take all of the different pieces and put them together into a whole that makes sense within the context of your people, processes, services, and technology;
    4. Communicator: this is probably the most important role when it comes to making change successful and less painful – you can never over-communicate!
    5. Change Team Manager: the project manager who will manage the plan to deliver the change for the organization;
    6. Champion(s): there will likely be resistance and barriers to adoption that your champion(s) will help you push past;
    7. Sponsor: every effort needs a sponsor who will ensure the needed resources are available – both financial and human resources;
    8. Subject Matter Experts: to truly glean improvements from a change effort, you need a complete understanding of the current world, and what your future world could be – subject matter experts provide this;
    9. Owner(s): each impacted stakeholder needs to provide somebody who is the owner of their world, who will participate in the change and govern the on-going operations after the change is implemented.
  6. Plan the change and the effects on people, processes, services, and technology. This will require resources to
    1. Analyze the current and future worlds;
    2. Create the framework to depict what the change means to all impacted stakeholders;
    3. Build a change roadmap to understand the change in the context of what else is going on throughout your organization; and
    4. Develop a deployment plan based on how the organization wants to reorient itself to support the future world.
  7. Establish a change that will last through Communities of Practice (CoPs). Providing employees who are impacted by the change opportunities to learn about the change, hear experiences from their peers who have already tried it, and a direct line of continuous improvement feedback to the change team will help your organization achieve adoption faster.
    • This will require management to allow employees to spend time away from their day-to-day jobs to participate in the CoPs, which may have a budgetary impact on the change effort.
  8. Execute the change through a change management and communication plan.
    1. You may need to engage marketing and/or human resources individuals to help brand and develop the communication plan that is right for your change (across organizational stakeholders, degree of impact, and through a variety of communication mechanisms).
    2. We recommend budgeting for one or more pilots before rolling out the change to the entire organization.
    3. Plan and budget for the speed at which the change will take hold. If you are changing every aspect of a product lifecycle, for example, it may take 18 months – 2+ years before all departments have been trained and achieved competency in the new techniques. Determine which roles and resources will be needed through the entire project.
  9. Set people up for success by making the change operational. The change budget will need to include the following:
    1. CoP facilitators and change team resource time to assess and respond to continuous improvement feedback;
    2. Development of templates and/or samples to help employees adopt the change;
    3. Creation/revision of job aids and/or guidelines/Standard Operating Procedures to help people change their behavior;
    4. Alignment of the change with interdependent processes so the change doesn’t cause an unintended negative impact elsewhere in the corporation (a key role for the Integrator!);
    5. Governance of the change, to ensure compliance is achieved (a key role of the Owner(s)!); and
    6. Transition planning for the time when the change team will roll off and Owners will take over ongoing maintenance of the future world. Ensure the budget includes a period where the change team is reducing their hours on the project, while Operations is getting comfortable answering continuous improvement suggestions and sending company-wide communications about progress.
  10. Your budget may need to include training and development funding:
    1. Work with human resources and/or the training and development division of your organization to evaluate the best mechanisms to train your employees on the change;
    2. You may need to bring in experts to help your employees achieve specific individual certifications;
    3. You may need to bring in experts to help your company achieve specific organizational competencies; and
    4. Employee incentives will need to be revised to reflect the new expectations for their roles.
  11. Report progress through status reports and celebrations of success. The Communicator and Change Team Manager will need time to regularly compile success stories from the change practitioners while also demonstrating progress against the plan.
  12. Expect and find ways to overcome resistance to change.
    1. If not already accounted for in the Community of Practice financial planning, middle managers are key to ensuring adoption of change.  The change team needs to engage middle management to ensure the business operations truly change to what you need them to be. Budget for time to respond to their concerns and to provide training specific to their needs (for example, how to manage behavior change and/or how to handle front line employees who do not want to change).
    2. I have also found it beneficial to include a small amount in the budget for little gifts for the early adopters and pilot participants. These are the Change Agents who tested the change to help the team prepare for roll-out to the rest of the organization. Gift cards or chocolates are a nice gesture to recognize that these resources endured the pain of a change that was not yet ready for prime-time, while also building relationships with these people for the next time you need to drive a change.

I realize that after talking through the financial considerations for every step of a wHolistic ChangeSM approach, I may have made you nervous that implementing change must be very expensive. This does not have to be the case! However, if you truly want your change to be successful, you need to recognize that it will require time and money to make it happen. Assessing the financial need will enable you to ensure you have an adequate business case for change to justify the expense, and also mitigate surprises when you get into the planning stage and identify that you will need involvement of stakeholders from across the organization (and potentially outside the company) to make the change a reality.

If your organization has struggled with change in the past, see if the root cause was insufficient resources who were expected to make change happen “off the sides of their desk, in their spare time.” This may provide the impetus to senior management that the investment will be worth it, to create a change that truly lasts!

About Michelle Smeby

Michelle Smeby is CEO of wHolistic Change, Inc. with more than 10 years of experience implementing enterprise solutions at Fortune 100 companies. Michelle specializes in helping corporations deliver transformational change.
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