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Change Management

PART III. 

 

Each of these companies has taken a different path to achieve project success and to develop a culture of change. All conceived an overall program with a foundation of challenging the status quo and an objective to continue the innovative process without an endpoint. We will use the analogy of war to describe three key aspects of these successful programs as follows:

• Levers companies use to inspire and motivate change

• Energy and creative ideas that keep change going

• Balancing creation, reinforcement and hold­ing of fronts

Most of the first companies to engage in this war were threatened with extinction if they did not act quickly to respond to competition who had changed the rules of the game. The battle cry was simply that if any in the organization were to survive then all must take the risk of dramatic change. In the absence of an immediate threat, it is important to identify a future risk or challenge that will offset the human response to resist dramatic change. The most lasting motivational challenge for American companies seems to be a focus on beating the competition.

Experience demonstrates the call to arms is clearest and most effective if sounded by the Commander-In-Chief, the CEO. There are many cases, however, of a unit or function leader leading successful, radical change. More important than who calls or why is the mission the troops are called to carry out. A clear overall mission based on radical improvement, maintaining a dominant position or creating a competitive advantage stirs the creative instincts of the team. The customer value mission has the virtues of linking actions directly to the marketplace; it can translate through the "chain of customers" to each member and each level of the organization; and it sets a flexible objective, independent of specific directions from the leader.

Another powerful tool to prepare the troops for battle is to bridge to the successful changes in the history of the company. This is the time to get real value from the company chronicles and history books. Many times these stories can be related to the troops at a kick-off event orchestrated to demonstrate the unity of purpose of company leaders. Since most of these teams and efforts are cross-functional, following process flows, the linking of arms of the leaders of those functional units demonstrates the synergy the teams must bring to bear to achieve success.

The last aspect of the battle cry is the most important; the commitment of resources. The armies that will win the battle will be full-time participants who have the potential to be the future leaders of the new order they will create. Each function needs to

provide the best, most indispensable people and by doing so demonstrate that the new order will become the future and there will be no turning back.


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