Monthly Archives: July 2011

Are You Getting the Return on Your Investment?

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How much has your company spent on initiatives: cost reduction? quality? product launch? What were the business cases for these initiatives? What was invested in these efforts externally and internally – in terms of budget and people? What was the projected ROI of these efforts? Have you reached that promised ROI yet?

Odds are that you haven’t. Many times, the promised benefits are not reached in the projected time. Sometimes, they are never reached. So, maybe you’ve made it some of the way there. Maybe there are valid, unforeseen causes for not reaching your ROI.
You’re not alone. Google “project failure rates” and you find pages of articles and research. One example is the 2009 Standish Chaos Reports (research on client success and failure implementing IT systems). This report states that only 32% of survey participants characterized their projects as “successful”. 24% characterized their project as “failed” and the other 44% characterized their project as “challenged”.

Projects fail to meet objectives for many reasons but among the most cited reasons are related to people issues: leaders not aligned in support of the effort, lack of communication, lack of understanding, resistance, lack of support or skills, lack of reinforcement of the effort.

A people strategy is a required component to reach a project’s ROI. After all, it’s people who use the technology, adopt the new processes or sell the new product. Without a majority of people willing and prepared to make the change happen, it is doomed to fail. Influencing people to change takes a strategy. It takes a plan. It will not happen effectively just because you say so.

Change Management is the people strategy and planning approach that prepares employee to transition from how they work today to how they need to work in the future. Just like project management or Six Sigma, there are proven processes, tools and tactics that help company’s create a thoughtful proactive people strategy. A Change Management approach easily fits hand in hand with a project plan to implement a new technology, process or the like.

Albert Einstein is quoted as saying that “the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.” If you haven’t achieved the ROI on your past projects, don’t go about the next project the same way. Include a thoughtful, proactive people strategy and get a different result.

Change is a marathon, not a Sprint

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We have a client that is smack-dab in the middle of a significant change effort. The team is getting tired. They feel like they have been beating the drum forever. They can’t understand why people don’t just GET IT and CHANGE.

But change is a marathon, not a sprint. It’s easy to get mired in the details and lose sight of the success that is slowly building.

When stepping back and looking at what they have actually achieved since getting started, the situation looks a litlte better. They still have a long way to go, but progress is progress. Every step counts.

Take time to focus on what is going right. Remember that persistance is a key characteristic of a great change leader. If things are not going well, then update the plan. Find a way to work around obstacles.

And for all of those things are going well, even if a litlte slower than you would like, keep at it!