Organizations tend to develop far-reaching plans to describe their strategic ambitions, tactics, goals, milestones, and budgets. However, these plans in and of themselves do not create value. Instead, they merely describe the path and the prize. Value can be realized only through the unremitting, collective actions of the hundreds or thousands of employees who are ultimately responsible for designing, executing, and living with the changed environment.
Unless an organization successfully aligns its culture, values, people, and behaviors to encourage the desired results, failure is highly predictable.
This challenge becomes even more acute when considering transformation efforts that are enabled through the introduction of enterprise resource planning (ERP) or other technology-enabled solutions. As is frequently the case in these deployments, companies often pay a lot of attention to new processes and technologies. However, they limit their focus on the essential resource — people — and how they must work and behave in the “future state.” Though deployment success demands that employees adopt new business processes, ways of working, new behaviors, communication channels, software tools, and so on, many initiatives frequently focus the dominant portion of a change budget on how to operate the new tool and, as a consequence, underachieve or fail.
Unless enterprise leaders foster meaningful engagement, insightful understanding, and effective cooperation across employees, the value projected as part of a systems-enabled change initiative is likely to fall short of its goals.
In short, leadership teams that do not adequately understand, address, and energetically plan for the human side of change will frequently find themselves wondering why their strategic ambitions have not borne fruit or worse.
Clearly most leaders understand that people matter. However, it is frequently easier, amidst the exigencies of the moment, for leaders to maintain focus on clinical plans, processes, and burn rate. After all, these artifacts of change will not emote or lash out. Cutter’s approach empowers a change program to embrace the more difficult and more critical human issues. As a consequence, it allows the enterprise to better master the “soft” side of change management.