Enabling Valued Change

(The only constant is change. This post form our Service Management Team shares some thoughts about this inevitable occurance.)

Our previous blog we talked about the importance of measurement for service improvement. But what do you do when the data paints a less than pretty picture and a significant change needs to happen? Won’t it just be obvious and the right thing will happen?

In a perfect world, all it takes to create change is a good idea and basically cooperative people. So in a place where we are surrounded by incredibly smart and hard working people all trying to do the right thing, why is change so hard? Because people in a fast moving, highly visible business have immediate needs and priorities that confuse and contort their view of the big picture and what the right long term decision might be. We cannot ignore that people are generally rewarded for what has recently happened as opposed to some yet to be realized future state.

What makes this even more difficult is that suppliers, inputs, processes, outputs, customers, and requirements can seemingly pull a group of people working towards a common endpoint in different directions. You want it quickly but you want high quality? You want agility but you want predictability? Why is it every time we turn around, something else has hit the fan and we are grinding gears again? The end result is that even with the evidence that change is necessary, making that additional or different investment theoretically puts at risk everything that has made us successful thus far.

Once in this situation, getting back to basics provides a cleansing and clarifying influence.

  • Step away from the mayhem
  • Reconnect with the customer and/or business driver
  • Re-validate the importance of the change being proposed to the business goal
  • Understand the constraints and trade offs
  • Invest in the improvement with the right resources and the right air cover for those doing the work so it can be completed with the appropriate level of quality
  • Change the underlying process so the improvement is sustained (i.e. monitor the input/root cause that was fixed so the output failure doesn’t happen again)

It all seems so simple and easy when the pressure isn’t on but fixing the same pain point again and again is not change. It is just frustrating and borderline insanity. Make sure those involve understand the value of what they are doing, get them the help to do it right, and maintain the improvement. By doing so, you create support for change and things actually get better for everyone involved.

Once you have credibility with customers and partners to enable valuable change, you can have the right conversation up front that minimizes the need for change in the first place. It seems logical just to do it right from the beginning but until you can illustrate insight into their business priorities and driving change towards those goals, you are asking them to take a lot on faith.