Good business process management involves ensuring that the good idea behind a change initiative or improvement is translated to employees, and their work, once the change is in place.
Let’s try an experiment:
Pick up a pen or pencil with your dominant hand—for example, if you’re right-handed, use your right hand.
- For the next 10 seconds write your name as many times as you can.
- Ready, go!
- Now, switch hands, and do the same for the next 10 seconds.
- Now look at your work. Notice anything?
Most people notice that the second time around there was a drop in their handwriting quality, and they wrote much slower.
Often times when you’re implementing a change initiative it feels like you’re writing with your off hand.
Good change initiatives can significantly improve the abilities and efficiency of your organization.
However, without proper planning, attempts to improve processes can go very badly—resulting in confusion and difficulties in achieving your goals.
Here are four key steps for change management with your business processes to help ensure a successful change initiative:
Validate the gap
Why do you want to make the change at all? You have some inertia with their current process so there needs to be a good reason to break the current pattern.
Through business process analysis you can understand current process strengths and weaknesses and validate the high-level improvements that can be implemented through your change initiatives.
Document the requirements
Work to gain a deep understanding of what is happening today by interviewing the staff doing the work. Promote any change ideas that come from staff members. Sometimes these can be the most significant changes you can make.
You can capture that information using tools such as flow charts, providing step-by-step, as-is, and to-be processes.
This captures what the current state of the organization is, and what the new desired state and expected outcomes will be.
User stories can help you provide a visual image of what people in the organization want to achieve.
And context diagrams will describe relationships between business areas, clients, and how they work together.
It’s important to understand that you may need to provide more than information, you have to provide interpretation. Remember, communication simply means mutual understanding.
Identify Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to track the results of your change initiative
By focusing on the KPIs you will be able to accurately measure the success of your change initiative.
Manage the change process
Making changes to your business processes is a process in and of itself. Meaningful and lasting change takes time and dedicated effort.
To ensure your change completion criteria are accomplished you’ll want to go into this process prepared for the naturally-occurring resistance and disruption. Keep laser focused on the “Why” you established in step one to ensure you achieve the desired outcomes.
Your organization is looking to you and depending on you to guide them through changing times. Not necessarily because you’re better at change than they are, but by virtue of the fact that you’re their leader.
By following and implementing these four steps of the change process your behavior–spoken and unspoken–will show your team that they’re in good hands!