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Later on everything was better

If only we could start with the end, then our start would be much easier. “If we had known that in advance, we would have done it differently” is a frequently heard statement after change processes that have not worked out completely as previously thought. Everyone who is involved in the realization of large projects knows it. Especially if working methods start to change and there are direct changes in daily activities. People do not always like change, even if a steering committee is convinced of the benefits for the organization.

In all our enthusiasm about new ICT applications and functionalities, we increasingly forget the focus on the organization. They eventually have to start working with it themselves, but are not always well involved in the change process. Although the resistance to change is of all time, there is also positive news. Resistance to change isn't that bad. It keeps you sharp to take into account previous experience and knowledge of the organization. The 'old' situation was not so bad, but we do agree that we need to move to a new way of working to achieve our goals.

Don't focus all your energy on the group that resists, focus on the group that wants to move forward. Only a small part of the organization resists, the large middle group allows itself to be taken along by the emotion and argumentation of both camps. Do not confuse middle-class behavior with resistance. They are simply impartial and follow, but do not actively participate and therefore do not seem to want to change.

In the literature, books have been written full of methodologies for making changes more successful from the perspective of change management. The best known is probably Kotter's phases. It is important to use this knowledge in the right way in the realization of your project. Change management often seems like a part that needs to be done, but everyone also knows that effective change does not happen by itself and that a few newsletters or announcements are not enough.

A successful change process still remains a project and full attention to the organization is a must. Make sure that there is a thorough plan for your change management at the start and don't just add it to the list. This plan must clearly show how everyone, from management to operations, can contribute to the set goals. Make sure everyone understands how he or she can contribute. People do want to contribute to the bigger picture, but then they have to understand how they can directly influence this.

Make a clear plan and ensure a continuous flow of energy to all stakeholders. Good and timely communication is important here. The first 6 weeks are crucial for change processes. The energy level is high for the first two weeks, then the attention slowly ebbs away and before you know it the first dip is already coming. If you let go of the reins here, you already know in advance that the change will not reach its full potential.

The effect of a well-considered approach can clearly be seen from the various processes that we have completed. For this you have to deploy the right people, experienced experts who have a good feeling for all stakeholders and who have the insight to build bridges and make complex situations (more) simple. You don't do that from behind your desk, it is an active role as the well known spider in the web that ensures that everyone also knows what the process entails, why choices are made and indicates what new possibilities there are.

End users are just like people, so if you provide the attention that end users deserve in the right way, it is a lot easier. So think about it right away, make a plan and start working with the right people. Starting with the end: “Now that we know this in advance, we're going to do it that way”.

If you would like to discuss how change processes can be improved, please do not hesitate to contact us. After all, together we know more and we are happy to share our vision and expertise.

Case manager

Thijs van Veluw

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