BusinessCompany NewsThe best way to manage change

The best way to manage change

Maybe you have a new acquisition to integrate, a new strategy to implement or a new CEO. Maybe your company does sensible continual improvement.

Either way you have a lot of change management coming your way.

We often get this wrong, sometimes disastrously. Everyone has to do change management. Usually it must be fitted in with a busy day job and so the scope is limited. The art is to pick the right projects, to get the right people doing them and to will them the necessary resources and training to do it.

Project management has been around for a long time now. In plain English the issue is ‘where are we now, where do we want to be and how do we get there? ‘ The basic tool – the Gantt chart – provides planning and control.

Plans for bigger projects should also encompass early delivery of the more easily achieved benefits – the low hanging fruit.

Learning how is not hard (but you do have to learn) but getting experience is another thing. How often do you hear senior people wailing that they have the vision but that the minions can’t deliver? It may be crystal clear what needs doing (although usually not) but it’s unworkable if people don’t have the time. Although you often don’t get a fixed asset for your money, these are investments – cash out on implementation costs, cash in from benefits. calculate the IRR and pick the best.

Don’t underestimate what’s involved. But don’t overestimate the difficulties either.

One way of handling all this is to have a director of change management.

People with day jobs handle what they can without reference but can pass to the DCM suggestions for bigger projects. He continually assesses the merits of the various projects and keeps his own (internal consulting) staff busy with what they can handle.

All other and bigger projects are subcontracted to outside consultants and the DCM is the resident expert in buying and managing those services.

That way the CEO can make sensible prioritisations, pay realistic prices and get the results he wants.

  • Neil Chisman is a company director and a member of the Financial.

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