Our exclusive series looking at Change Management written by Field Service News Editor Kris Oldland continues with a focus on assessing the change as the first step towards a successful change management program. This series is sponsored by ServiceMax
In part one of this series we looked at understanding what is change management and what steps should be taken to achieve a successful change management process.
We took a brief look at some of the better-known change management approaches including the Prosci, Kotter and Lewin models. We also referred to the 5-step approach that Sharon Moura applied when global safety and security firm Tycho implemented ServiceMax’s field service management platform.
These five steps were; assessing the change, engaging the head and the heart, creating a change agent network, leading through the resistance and finally leading through the adoption cycle. Today we will examine the first of these steps… assessing the change. First we must understand exactly what will be changing. At first glance this may seem like stating the obvious, however this question runs far deeper than the initial surface change of implementing a new technology. What else will be changing in your organisation as a result?
It is absolutely vital that you take a holistic approach to understanding the level of impact that the Change Management project you are undertaking will have. You must consider how the culture, people, structure, process and tools are all set to change as a result of your project, in order to minimise the disruption on your business and accelerate adoption times.
First up how will the culture in your organisation be affected? This is perhaps the hardest and most complex of the considerations you will have to face as often the impact of change is subtle or even invisible at first. However, it is also perhaps the most important as the culture of a business, i.e. how the employees, management and even the business as a whole pull together, is key to on-going business success.
If there is a negative change in the culture of your organisation, its effect will be deeply felt and will have an adverse effect on company wide performance
Will these expectations be in-line with the actual reality and how will these change the dynamic between senior and middle management, and between middle management and employees? Will the change lead to greater transparency in how field engineers spend their day?
How will they react to that change? Will they feel your trust in them is diminished (big-brother is always watching) or will they feel more valued as you invest in the tools required to make their jobs easier? All of these questions and many more relate to the culture of a business, which is an often-overlooked yet crucial element in Change Management and where you must start, when assessing the impact of change to your business as a whole
Leading very much on from cultural change we must next consider the people change also. For example will there be any changes to the way teams are laid out? Will there be new management structures needed to be put in place? Of course one of the flip sides of implementing any technology to improve productivity will be that if the implementation is successful you may need less people to achieve the same workload.
Will staff need to be reallocated to different divisions of your organisation or will you need to explore the possibility of redundancies? Similarly when we look specifically at field service management one of the greatest benefits of implementing modern field service management solutions is that we can open up new streams of revenue directly from the field. Will this change the way we reward our people? Also will it mean that new divisions will be in closer contact? Again a people consideration when we think of how to employ best communication practices.
Once again structure leads on very much from people. As we can see the considerations for assessing the full impact of a Change Management project are wholly integrated. This is an important fact to comprehend as whilst understanding one facet can lead to greater comprehension of the whole, similarly overlooking one element can equally lead to overlooking other challenges that could rear their heads further down the line.
So how will your structure change? In the point above we looked at the impact on people of potentially creating new teams and adding or removing management layers but what will this mean from a business perspective? New reporting lines may need to be considered for example and new responsibilities may need to be clearly outlined.
It is important to understand how these changes will be shaped and to communicate any new responsibilities early with clear delineation and definition.
Also what about relationships with providers and vendors? Will the change in structure mean that there will be closer ties between field staff and your providers perhaps?
Again a much-vaunted benefit of modern field service systems is the ability for field service staff to see inventory in real time and order relevant parts when needed. Whilst this is of course an excellent benefit it will alter the structure of your business and therefore how your organisation adapts to accommodate this change must also be considered.