A Compelling Case for Change

From an Andrew Spanyi article…

Creating a compelling case for change is the foundational first step in any operational improvement.

A compelling case for change is typically built on either an imminent threat or a perceived major opportunity.  The best tests of a compelling the case for change is whether people step forward as willing followers and whether they are motivated to act with urgency.  Executives, middle managers and front line employees need to understand the point of change and also agree with it. That’s why the case for change needs to tell a compelling story that speaks both to the head and the heart.  This is where viewing operations from the customer’s point of view becomes important.  Many companies do not measure the performance factors that are truly important to the customer such as responsiveness (first time right) and flawless delivery of product or service (on-time, complete and error free).  In building a compelling case for change, highlighting the gap between current and desired performance for customers can be a powerful way to touch people’s emotions.

The likelihood of success in any significant improvement of operational performance is low unless the leader crafts a compelling case for change.  There are simply too many people, too many departments, and too many competing initiatives involved.  A compelling case for change must address the why and what of the needed improvement in operational performance and provide both logical and emotional reasons for people to be wholeheartedly committed to a common course of action.

My Thoughts…

Many BPM efforts never get off the ground because the person driving the project has not created a compelling case for change.  Maybe the reason for change is unclear or involvement from key departments is missing.  Most often, the return on investment is not obvious.

Generally speaking, companies won’t take on a project to improve business processes unless there is a problem.  The problem could be that a process takes too long; or the process is error prone; or the process doesn’t function properly if a person is out sick; I think you get the picture.  So, what are the costs associated with these issues?  How much is this troubled process costing your company?  How much can be saved if it is fixed?  How will fixing the process help you improve the relationships you have with your customers?  Will you be able to get more products to market faster?

A BPM project needs a ‘champion’.  A champion is a person that is respected within the company [it doesn’t have to be by title].  This champion will be the internal sales person for the project.  They will develop and present the ‘compelling case for change’.  They will be the cheerleader as the project is developed and rolled out.  They will help employees through their fear of change – ‘this is not just good for the company, this is good for you’.  A champion greatly increases your chances for success.

What is the compelling case for change within your company?  Why expend the energy?

More efficient business processes lead to increased revenues, lower costs and improved customer relationships.  It can differentiate you from your competitors.  It can be the key that allows your company to break out as the market leader.

Your Thoughts…

What steps has your company taken to be a market leader?

Keeping it Real!


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