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Change Management

PART VIII. 

 

The cross-functional nature of the steering committee was critical to maintaining momentum in the change process. These managers gave periodic "pep" talks to their soldiers when the going got tough. In many cases, a benefit was identified in an area not directly related to the change. R&D was better able to design product for manufacturability because the manufacturing process was simpler; a process change made accounting for product cost easier, etc. Each of these incidental benefits were celebrated and communicated. That kept another effort that seemed to be "pinned down" motivated to punch through to success.

The need for the champion and constant reinforcing communication cannot be emphasized enough. Workshops, training meetings and offsite brainstorming sessions were frequent vehicles to supply more ammunition for the battle and refine and redirect the battle plan. In the end, clear communication to all stakeholders avoided the rumor mill and potential solidification of negative positions. Directing more education and coaching toward the sources of "old line" thinking was a priority for team management.

Do not underestimate the significance of the people impact resulting from radical change. We related a lot of this change to necessary paradigm shifts that had to take place. Certain types of people are required to drive this change home. Number one, and most important are the pioneers:

• Pioneers are the first ones to embrace a new idea, often in defiance of old paradigms. They have faith the new paradigm will succeed even though there are many obstacles ahead of it.

• Paradigm shifters are also necessary. They are generally outsiders; they do not have a part in the established paradigm community and no vested interest. In many cases they could be considered a consultant.

• The third type of people associated with paradigms are those with paradigm paralysis. They tend to make bad decisions because they see the future through their old paradigms. Intestinal fortitude is required to deal with these people like the grizzled sergeant that has been successful with an outdated tactic.

In the course of this battle, the momentum of traditional thinking often stands as a major road block to making progress. People with tremendous courage are needed to "break down walls" and challenge the sacred cows.

Over the past 5 years the change activities have brought together the resources within the manufacturing operations of the company and make them much more efficient. The focused factory or subplant approach has been very successful and we are very proud of our operations. There is a new sense of urgency and a competitive spirit that drives each subplant towards continuous improvement. This improvement has resulted in significant ben­efits:

• Greater involvement of people

• Lower costs

• Better quality

• Improved flexibility

• A competitive advantage

The success has inspired Andersen to pursue radical change in other areas of the enterprise to achieve equivalent quantum improvement in performance.

The Andersen experience demonstrates clearly the value of pursuing the radical change process, both to win the existing battle and to prepare your troops to succeed in the new competitive environment of the 1990s. No competitive advantage is sustain-able and each enterprise must constantly reinvent itself to stay ahead of ever more aggressive competition. It is time to call on your officers to help prepare your battle plans. Gather your supplies, orient your key lieutenants, and engage the enemies of complacency, entitlement, and old paradigms! Your reward will be a battle won and the strength and flexibility of a culture of change.


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