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Tenet #7 - Ten Tenets of Change Management

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by Larry Pendergrass, Principal

Tenet #7: Plan, recognize and celebrate short term wins.

Tenet #5 encouraged you to break your change project down into phases, but you should go further. You should assure that within the phases you have milestones to recognize, ways to encourage and reasons to celebrate. Your team needs to see progress, to know that their efforts above and beyond the normal day’s work are paying off, and the more frequently you are able to demonstrate and recognize this progress, the more effective you will be in encouraging your team to continue in the fight for change.

Perhaps an example will help. When I began working for a well-known company with a long history in innovation, there had been a period of very few new product releases and an overemphasis on specials for customers. While this company had been very successful in its own right over the years, it was clear that to reach its new growth goals, it needed to further improve by a focus on portfolio management and improving product development execution. There was much that we could do, but we choose to break the change program into phases that went something like this (with a few modifications to present a clearer picture):

Phase 1: Create clear Product Strategies based on the Corporate Strategy. Create a new organization optimized for strategy, new Roles and Responsibilities, a new Phase-Checkpoint New Product Introduction (NPI) process, new Metrics, new Tools, a new Dedicated Special Products Group, new Project Management Training, and new Design for Quality Training.

Interim celebrated wins: Completed NPI process. Completed quality part lookup tool. First specials project from the new team.

Phase 2: Create a new Advanced Technology Team, new Engineering Forums and Events, new Portfolio Management Processes, a new Product Definition Process, a new Full Lifecycle Management process, a new NPI Ownership Team in manufacturing, a new Focus on Intellectual Property, and a new Converged Engineering Documentation center.

Interim celebrated wins: First 2 day engineering summit. 10 new patents filed. Opening of the engineering wiki.

Phase 3: Create a New Released Product Ownership team, a new Open Innovation and Partnership emphasis, a new Component Engineering Team, new Design for X (DfX) Training, a new platform management emphasis, and new “Lean, Agile and Flow” Product Development Processes.

Interim celebrated wins: Creation of new Platforms, first successful 3rd Party Partnership, implementation of first elements of lean, agile and flow PD.

While these phases were the right ones for my situation, they may not be the right ones for your firm. The point of the example is to emphasize that you as a leader need to sponsor interim celebrations to drive home the point that your team is making progress. Otherwise, it is easy for these small wins to get lost in the chaos of everyday work.

Plan for and recognize short term wins in each phase of your change management project in order to keep your teams motivated.

In my next blog I will discuss the grief cycle and how it is essential for your change management process to recognize and acknowledge this cycle in your actions and words.

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