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We’ve all heard it: Change is hard. I’m too set in my ways to change now. Can’t we just go back to the old way of getting our work done?
The truth is—yes, change can be hard. It is widely reported that more than 80% of projects fail to accomplish their intended goals, mainly because of change “issues.” But change is not bad—in fact, when changing for the right reasons, change is good. Often, change is what is absolutely required for organizations to thrive, stay competitive, cut costs, and even survive. And while change may be hard, it is by no means impossible.
It’s also true that implementing a Shared Services model is a big change for organizations in the private and public sectors alike—technology, processes, and people all face major changes. When taking into account the historical pace at which the Federal government has progressed in the evolution of its technology and processes and the unique aspects of its culture, such a big change may be even harder for Federal employees. Effective change management is absolutely essential for project success when transitioning to a Shared Services model. To help employees prepare for and cope with the transformation to Shared Services, stakeholders and change leaders should keep in mind the five Cs for effective change:
Every Shared Services implementation should have one or more designated sponsors from within the agency or organization. These sponsors should be highly visible, and be trusted and respected by all employees—in their actions as role models and program champions, in the decisions they make as leaders, and in the way they communicate as change agents. Absent, silent, or insincere leaders do little to encourage others to adopt new technology and processes.
When people don’t know the facts, they often assume the worst—this is how the rumor mills begin. Consistent communication across multiple vehicles and to all employees affected by a new Shared Services program keep the rumors from starting or continuing. Clearly communicate the purpose of the change, what the organization is hoping to get out of it, and when. FAQ websites, all-hands and team meetings, webcasts, roadshows, newsletters, and speakers bureaus are all effective ways to share a consistent message and leave little room for unnecessary angst.
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Caryn Reedy is a Senior Managing Consultant in IBM’s Organizational and People Practice. Over the last 15+ years, she has gained expertise in change management, organizational transformation, training, strategy, and strategic communications across a number of industries, including telecommunications, publishing, e-Commerce, and consulting for both private and public sector clients. Since joining IBM in early 2011, Ms. Reedy has leveraged her experience across a number of workforce transformation projects.
Ms. Reedy has been awarded dual professional certifications as a Project Management Professional (PMP) and Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR), and has a Masters degree in Industrial and Organizational Psychology.
Caryn Reedy (email@example.com)
Adam Jelic has over 18 years of Business Transformation and Information Technology experience. He has deep expertise across several industries including financial, industrial, communications, and the public sector. Mr. Jelic has led large and complex programs including Strategic Business planning, Shared Services, Enterprise Infrastructure, Supply Chain, Human Resources, and Customer Relationship Management.
He has an excellent track record of delivering successful programs for Fortune 50 firms and government agencies in the United States and Canada.
Adam Jelic (firstname.lastname@example.org)