The Truth Behind Change Management


You’re about to start a project to change your organisation’s current enterprise system to better meet the needs of the business. You’ve done your research, you know that effective Change Management correlates to a 6x increase in your chances of implementing the system on time and on budget, you know that you need people engaged, you may even have copies of “Who Moved My Cheese?” on order and you’re delegating to a Change Management Team to do the work while you focus on more important things. Or, perhaps you’re a little more eager, and have invested in a few online courses, an “extensive” training program, spoken to a few Change Managers and are confident that you’ve got this Change Management thing down pat. Sound familiar?

Over the past decade Change Management has been widely acknowledged by organisations, consultancies, academics and just about everyone, as one of the major contributors to ERP project success! This has led to a host of organisations allocating significant money, time and resources for Change Management in their projects, either putting their faith fully in an external party to handle it for them or upskilling themselves and other’s in their organisation by taking on all Change Management activities after completing some sort of training. The truth is effective Change Management is essential to success, but neither of the scenarios above constitutes as effective Change Management for ERP Success.

The Components of effective change management

Change Management Sponsorship

1. Sponsors That Champion Change

The 2015 Best Practices in Change Management report by Prosci, which pull the results of studies conducted over the past decade, have found that the number one contributor to the success of a project is active and visible executive sponsorship by the project sponsor.

The majority of projects that had ineffective sponsors indicated that the one of the biggest mistakes they had made was that they delegated or abdicated the sponsorship to other people without the authority to make decisions or gather support from people who could (such as external consultants, internal change management leads).

 Unfortunately, this mistake is made more often than not. Even by the most enthusiastic and well-meaning of sponsors. Often it is because either:

  • The Sponsor is unaware of what is required from them to be able to remain visible and active in the project.
  • The Sponsor does not know how best to communicate their support of the project to the organisation, in their words or actions.
  • The Sponsor is unable to communicate change messages effectively.
  • The Sponsor does not understand the importance of change management in comparison to other objectives.

An effective sponsor is one that is seen by the organisation as walking the walk and not just talking the talk.  

2. A Team of Charismatic Evangelical Change Agents

As important a role as a project sponsor has in championing change, alone, they are but a whisper in a wind of other voices, opinions and noise that infiltrates the ears and minds of the end user who will be required to change the way they work and start using a new system. This is why it is important that a project, creates a network of change agents to help spread the message of the upcoming change to end users from a trust worthy and reliable source and filter back feedback key messages and issues experienced from end users to the project team.

An effective change agent:

I. Is an Evangelist of the Change –

As the name implies a change agent has to be someone that visibly champions the change. That is, through their actions and words are seen by their peer group as pro-change.

II. Is Credible, Charismatic and Influential –

Being seen as an advocate for change by peer groups is not enough to be an effective change agent. This is akin to, a vagrant with the repent signs in the corner of the streets. To get people to change their mind sets and behaviour and to open up about issues and problems faced, a change agent should be influential. That means that they must hold a high level of trust and respect from their peer group and others within the business gained through reputation, perception and real relationships.

III. Coaches end users through the transition –

With the projects Solution Minds has been involved with over the last decade, the primary role of a change agent in successful ERP implementations is to help others through the transition. This means that effective change agents are good mentors and coaches, that understand their peers and are able to guide them into new ways of working.

The trick to having the right agents, is to ensure that they support the change, have the right level of influence over the targeted end user population and that they have the skills required to coach people through change.

3. Quality External Support and Advice from Experienced Consultants

Ok, so this last point might have some reader saying “Wait? Aren’t change agents and sponsors the silver bullet to successful change management initiatives? If we focus on them, then why do we need external consultants?” Too right, observant readers, if effective sponsors and a supporting change network of effective agents are the silver bullet, then  the experienced consultants are the gun powder that propels them to their target.

In the harsh world of real projects, we at Solution Minds have found more often than not, that organisations do not always have the most effective sponsors or agents mainly because of a lack change management and/or ERP project experience. This is why experienced external change consultants are needed to guide, coach, support and advise internal resources through the transition, not do it all for them nor just train them on how to do it.

The SM Approach to CM – Let us Guide you on the Road to ERP Success

This is why at Solution Minds our experience Change Management Consultants follow a robust Change Management methodology that looks at enabling our clients to smoothly transition from one way of working to another.

Want to know more…

Contact Us

Jamon Johnston

Director – Solution Minds

Mob: +61 400 729 559

jamon.johnston@solutionminds.com.au