This is the last of a 3 part series about recognizing when a change is necessary, realizing what improvements can result from the change, and now, committing to a full change throughout the entire organization to be successful. The commitment to institute change in an organization, if not done 100%, can result in less than full or desirable results. In very simplistic terms, if not fully committed, its like only rotating 3 of 4 tires on your car. While you will save time and money by improving the wear on those 3, you wont realize the full potential of tire changing when not doing the 4th one. When considering the type of changes in an organization, there is typically a nucleus or central focal point. However, for this focal point to be successful, the impact will undoubtedly stem or filter out into many peripheral areas within of the organization. When I refer to commitment in this piece of writing, I am not only referring to the depth of the program, but also the breadth of scope reaching into other departments, functions, staff, etc.
The depth of commitment required to obtain the maximum effective result from the change being made, must be thought out thoroughly prior to stepping into implementation. I often see high potential function or process changes which are targeted only to one central focal point when there are many peripheral areas that are affected. The amount of linkage or permeation in the organization that stems from this focal point, which is not touched to gain full impact of the implementation, will greatly limit the full potential for success. This is nothing more than a low level of commitment from the leadership. There are many reasons leadership will not step into a full commitment for implementing a change to a function or process. Most often it is due to a lack of full understanding of requirements for full success. There also tends to be an assumption or an attempt to minimize the costs and a general feeling other areas are not as important as the focal point. I have even experienced a reluctance to delve into all the required areas due to a certain level of fear or lack of desire to confront potential push back. All of these excuses will greatly limit the ability for a function or process change to take affect and deliver full potential results.
The action plan should have been developed as well as include a timeline with target areas. Granted, there are costs associated to every aspect of implementing a change of function or process in the organization. In some cases, the cost involved can increase as change implementation is transitioned away from the focal point to the peripheral areas. There tends to be an assumption regarding the additional costs as not worth spending but I often find their impact is grossly underestimated. Often times it is the time element involved in bringing the peripheral areas or departments up to the new standard that leadership feels is not important. A key to success in spite of all the above mentioned reasons is to consider the original objective. Any area, peripheral area, or group that is not involved or brought up to speed to a new process or function, will not only greatly impair the full impact of the change being made, but it will also cause the original point of focus to work harder as misdirections or incomplete process steps are performed. If this is data related, the impact to these shortcomings can be fairly time consuming to correct. If it is a functional change, the impact can leave a critical step or process gapped from completion. If the shortcomings are not corrected, the door remains open in other areas to not follow the new process and fall back to old process performance.
Implementing change in an organization can be a daunting task if not completed correctly. Once the decision is made to improve the business through changing a process or function within an organization the impact to the entire organization must be considered which will drive the level of commitment required for success. If there is not a full commitment to reach out to all related peripheral groups, departments, or entities, the initial focal point will be limited in its ability to achieve success. Could it involve more time? Yes, possibly. Could it involve higher costs? Yes, possibly. If you want a full return on your investment of make a change, you have to bring any and all areas or functions up to the same level of expected performance. This is why many business reach externally to have the necessary guidance to reach success.