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How effective are your Business Process Improvement implementations if the people they affect have not bought into the change? Managing the people side of change can be achieved by applying a structured Change Management approach from the start of a project. Ultimately, it can make the difference between a hole-in-one and get stuck in the sand.

Implementing change whether it is technology, leadership, or process change, is going to impact the teams working in the organization. Change Management aims to transition these teams from the current state to the future state by helping individuals understand and accept the need for change.

There are many popular models that offer a structured process for applying Change Management to a Business Process Improvement project. At Propel, our consultants are PROSCI Change Management Certified and employ the ADKAR framework throughout our project activities. The framework looks at implementing change at the individual level by establishing awareness, desire, knowledge, ability, and reinforcement of change within stakeholders.

Having the right stakeholders and teams at the Project Kickoff greatly impacts the ability to stay on schedule and gain buy-in from teams. In preparation for this, you will want to assess your organization’s readiness for change and identify potential risks to the project. Clearly identify the scope of change including teams who are involved, the number of staff impacted by the change, and whether the change encompasses an incremental or radical improvement to processes. Determine if the Change Management team is external or within the Project team as well as the level of support and sponsorship required from leaders in the organization.

To create awareness, desire, and knowledge with Team Members, it is essential to involve them in the Business Improvement Process. Some ways to achieve this is through conducting interviews and process mapping critiques with supervisors and team members, giving them a voice in identifying improvement opportunities so they become advocates for change within their areas. Sharing project findings with the Sponsorship teams every week will assist in incrementally bringing to light opportunities which also help to gain buy-in.

An effective communication plan provides a detailed roadmap for how the changes are going to be communicated throughout the organization. This plan should include who will be responsible for sending communications, who the target audiences are, what the key messaging is, and how it will be delivered. The goal is to describe the project’s objectives to the organization, and explain how each level can contribute to and interact with the project.

Providing teams with a clear implementation path, documentation of procedures, and facilitating training are some of the other ways that we increase project visibility and gain feedback from staff in the implementation phase. This gives us the opportunity to work with staff to ensure buy-in for each initiative we are bringing forward, guaranteeing that stakeholders are capable of successfully reaping the benefits of the project.

Finally, we work with the organization to ensure that management systems are measuring Key Performance Indicators that drive the business at each level, and that incentive plans are aligned with targeted behaviors. These will allow changes to stick after our engagement concludes.

While change management efforts may take place behind the scenes, they are some of the most impactful factors that enable the success of Business Process Improvement Projects and allow organizations to evolve.