David Broadbent, Business Process Consultant, Parity Solutions on How to Overcome Resistance to Change in Change Programs
There have been many papers written about how business process management can yield benefits to organizations but not enough about dealing with the people aspects of change. David Broadbent presented a case study at the OMG BPM Think Tank in Putten Holland in November 2008 looking at the aspects of culture on change programs, describing culture as the ‘forgotten variable’ in change programs. Following ongoing work with a number of clients this talk will take some of the thoughts he presented to the next stage, namely how to resolve the ‘Resistance to change’.
After the lunch break, David Broadbent is up, talking about the cultural implications of change. David picks up on the engineering theme from this morning, says his engineering background led him into process focused work.
David opens with the black cloud (recession) that is over industry. The pressure for efficiency, survival. This is driving BPM. David believes culture is often the forgotten piece to change. Frequent issues: lack of communication, lack of end-to-end ownership, lack of understanding of end-to-end process, resulting in “blame culture”.
David introduces the “doom merchant”, the guy who spreads fear in response to change. The doom merchant’s actions incite resistance.
Classic types of resistance: Refusal (verbal and non-verbal), Denial, and Obstruction (deliberate and non-deliberate). New type, brought out by this recession is Apathy. David likens apathy to being punch-drunk. After going through 2-3 rounds of cuts, people just don’t care. In fact, they’d like to leave, but can’t because jobs aren’t available. Another aspect is fear of being next. People with time (or interest) to help, won’t volunteer to help, because they don’t want to call attention to having free time.
David is transitioning to approach. He calls out that there isn’t one methodology for BPM. Not every method will work in every situation. For example, you can’t apply a manufacturing oriented approach for a highly variable environment such as an emergency room.
1. Preparation: 5-10% of program time.
-- gain senior management buy-in (sponsorship, funding, communications plan). Want to attain a mandate to change.
-- Scope: realistic goals, CSF (performance, cost, quality, speed or service), identify which business processes / scenarios are being tackled
-- Resources: subject matter experts, business analysts, project support (IT and such); Asking for people is the first indicator of management buy-in. Did you get time of the superstars?
David has put up The Inter-Change Cycle by Salerno & Brock; calls out the danger zone, as the pivotal point where people decide if they will move forward with change, or not. Reasons why not, too big, too overwhelming.
Important to break problem down into smaller pieces, pieces that can be incrementally delivered and positively impact the people in the organization. Important that the change team (insiders) deliver the change to the people. Need to build confidence in the change team. David cites agile approaches.
Another key here is communication. Constant communication from the change team. The people from the organization (insiders) doing the work. Not communication from the change consultants.
In addition to the change team, the executives must continue to communicate. Executives need to continuously show commitment.
The audience took David on a bit of a tangent, but an important point came out, the assignment of executive process owners. This is often a big deal in organizations because executives typically have vertical (function & organization) control, not horizontal (process) control. Process ownership forces end-to-end control and visibility, and executive collaboration (in this together).
Refusal: People refusing don’t want to be seen as “getting in the way”. Quotes Jack Welch, you either change the people, or change (out) the people.
Obstruction: Dedicate staff to BPM/Change program
Denial: Make “not changing” not an option
Apathy: Make people part of the solution. Active role in the change. Don’t impose change upon them. Create momentum.
You need to silence the doom merchants. These actions will drown them out.
Theme from the day, continuous improvement.
- Senior Management Buy-in (ask them 3 times)
- Really serious mandate
-- dedicated resource
-- fixed scope
-- process ownership
- Agile delivery of change products
- Communication (I think, flashed by)
David cites Gartner CIO Agenda for 2009: #1 is Improving Business Processes, expected to remain #1 until 2012, when replaced by Product Introduction (post recession)