• Y.-C. Eric Li, Ph.D., PE.

Successful Change Management

Updated: Oct 20, 2019

A lot of thought and sharings about change management and transformation, the real question comes down to how can we better manage change and deliver a successful transformation? After spend 25 years of my career as a business leader and advisor, my experience tells me the following:

1.    Timing: “Who moved my cheese?”, change always comes when there is a need, the best time to start change is when the business environment or market situation changes. It is critical to cultivating changes in order to maintain sustainability and growth.

2.    People: Who should be included in the continuous improvement initiatives? the suggestion I would share with everyone, if only invite people who believe change is necessary and change will make it better, most likely this will not get the most benefit and value as what we like. If people with resisting change mindsets are invited in the team, it may make the discussion and project initiation hard and complicated, however, we would have an opportunity to hear different voices and see different views. This will enable us to understand the current status from different angles and the opportunity to get more value from changes.

3.    Facilitator: It does not matter working with big consulting firms or small boutique firms, continuous improvement projects is all matters of facilitation and coordination. The best facilitator is not who tells you how much they can help you, is who sits on the sideline, listen, ask questions, and share their view and experience on the topic when is appropriated, share his observation and conclude the discussion at the end of the project meeting. They will lead the open world for discussion also steer the discussion along the way, there is no good or bad discussion, they will help us to see the details and find a solution.

4.    Location: Take everyone away from their work and have everyone in a room for a week is what we normally do. Does it work? I would say yes, it would work, however, when you are not going to have a good range of participants in a room, also participants may not havea lot of opportunity to communicate and interact with others at work, can we really get the complete view or only views from participants? Where we meet for the project become important, at site or at an outside location? The most effective discussion requires people to involve and participate in the process, location becomes critical.

5.    Scope: A very famous saying tells us “One thousand miles starts with a small step.” We may have the most extraordinary vision and a far achievable goal. The most important thing is to start with the most achievable target, quick wins can help everyone including the management team to get confidence and be sure this will really bring value to the company. A few quick wins are the best way leads the path to start planning long term changes for success.

6.    Transformation: Change is something strategic and visionary, the transformation makes sure it happens and gets the most value from change. Transformation needs leadership support, collaboration from different functions and a strong acceptance and adoption of the result from people to carry through the process. Change is hard but the transformation is even more complicated, it involves people, processes, organizations, and systems. A successful transformation helps everyone to start thinking about their roles and responsibility differently, doing their job and enjoy accomplishment in a new way. A successful transformation will show efficiency, effectiveness, and accomplishment with value and benefit to everyone.

7.    Embrace change and endorse transformation.

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