Have you heard this line? "I'm only interested in the bottom-line...not all that soft and fluffy change management stuff!"? Well here is the reality...A benefits realisation plan is not worth the paper it's written on if you don't bring people with you!
At CITI we have over 25 years' experience of supporting organisations through major transformations, and we have seen time-and-time-again that there are three key elements to transformation:
Yet so many organisations invest all of their time and resources into Making change happen and don't recognise the importance of Making change wanted or Making change stick. There is a fundamentally flawed perception that change management is a 'feel-good' factor but not a key contributor to the bottom-line.
Whilst we might not realise it, we have probably all experienced the consequences of this thinking. Picture the scene...a project to launch a new all-singing-all-dancing new system/ tool/ process/ product has been planned to the nth degree, implementation has been successful, glitches have been ironed out, and now we look forward to seeing the change management benefits realisation. But then the bottom-line impacts don't come...because people in the business don't use the new thing as it was intended (if at all). Maybe they use the new 'tool', but the required changes required in behaviour or working-practices lag behind. And the impact?...The benefits, financial or strategic, do not come.
Making change wanted is about engaging not just the senior stakeholders, but also all those who will be affected by the change, the 'users' of the new tool / process / system. It is about helping them to understand and own the vision of the future and compelling argument for change, and recognising and addressing any resistance they might have.
And no matter how much people want the change, once a new 'thing' is introduced it is human nature to slip back into old habits and ways of working, unless there is compelling motivation to stick at the new ways. So investing in Making change stick is a crucial stage in change management benefits realisation. It's what we refer to as 'embedding', and we are passionate about it.
So, when you are next writing a change management benefits realisation plan remember, the benefits are entirely dependent on a change management plan, which includes initiatives to Make change wanted and to Make change stick.
If you need some ideas or would like help in achieving change management benefits realisation, just drop me a line on LTalifero@citi.co.uk
Managing Consultant, CITI Limited