One of the biggest problems CFOs and other leaders in the C-suite are challenged with during business transformation is keeping the momentum going through an implementation.
When a new project starts, there is usually excitement during the strategy and innovation phases. You get your implementation plan down, get commitments from relevant departments, and have a seemingly successful launch. Then, at some point, the enthusiasm diminishes and the plan loses its luster.
Why? Perhaps the expected results are too slow to appear or new and more exciting projects become prioritized over the next step in the implementation plan. Whatever the cause, it is a normal part of any transformation process.
Whether you’re in the early planning stages or are midway through a business transformation and just now realizing your transformation is losing momentum, here are some steps you can take to prepare your organization to push through the inevitable post-implementation let-up.
Open Lines of Communication
Encourage constant communication with your team, key stakeholders, your customer success manager, and the vendor or consultant who is leading the implementation from the new process/software side as early as possible. This communication should be open and honest.
It is the responsibility of you and other leaders to share the following before, during, and after the transformation:
- Reason for the business transformation
- Expected changes
- Anticipated return on investment of change
- Each team member’s expected involvement
- The transformation cycle
In addition to communicating plans and expectations, make sure everyone involved has a forum to give feedback. Provide opportunities for employees to share fears, hesitations, and excitement about the change throughout the process. Offering an outlet to talk about the change is the best way to get honest feedback about its potential and progress.
Perform Transformation Audits
Now that you’re collecting feedback, this qualitative data is only valuable if you have a process to organize it and gain context through KPIs and quantitative data. This stage is more complex when you have to collect feedback and metrics from multiple business transformation plans at once.
By combining employee feedback, KPIs, and other analytics into a single report you can gain more context to help identify where the business transformation plan is stuck or where areas need more focus.
Motivate the Team
While company growth and ROI may be driving your business transformation, that may not personally motivate your team to see the project through. If your team’s everyday tasks aren’t clearly aligned to the transformation goals, you can’t expect them to be fully committed.
It’s also important to understand that every team is motivated differently. There is a big difference between motivation through deadlines and consequences versus recognition and incentives. In general, these strategies are a great place to start:
- Social Exposure: Solutions and processes that create accountability and visibility allow you to review transformation progress and individual contributions regularly. This exposure to peers and leaders can help create more commitment to execution.
- Influence: Being able to see progress statuses, metrics, and resources across plans, teams, and employees also allows you to identify which early adopters of the new software or process are seeing the most success. Use these visible results to turn change champions into evangelists that can motivate others.
Plan for a Long Process
Your business transformation project should have a clear schedule with goals and specific KPIs set along the way. However, you should also expect some speed bumps. Change takes time and you may need to adjust your goals as the project progresses.
Throughout the process, communicate with your team as they feel setbacks and respond to adjusting goals. Also, remember that even when your project is fully implemented the transformation is still happening. Getting the new software or process fully installed doesn’t mean it will automatically become integrated into the workflows of all employees. You will need to put just as much effort — if not more — into monitoring the completed implementation and making sure it becomes a part of daily operations.
When it comes to business transformation, any inefficiencies with planning or issues with implementation could be costing your business. Whether these costs are seen in failed initiatives or in the time taken away from more important priorities, it is your responsibility to reduce them. Creating a careful change management plan for your next business transformation implementation can increase your success and allow you to better meet your company’s financial goals.