Why your EA will fail

Let’s get back to basics.

In a world where we are ever moving and changing to meet the needs and demands of our customers, we are constantly seeking out new methods to rise to the challenge and deliver on the promise.

Whether you are an EA, CEO, CIO, Department Lead, Six Sigma Blackbelt … it really makes no difference … the reality is we all have the same base scope … the only differing factor is the methodology and size of our plans.

Over the years I, like everyone else, have sought out the different methods, standards and frameworks … even implemented some of them in the never ending quest to improve delivery or reduce costs or streamline processes or whatever the goal at the time was.

While these met with varying degrees of success (and yes, hurdles too) I cannot think of one project that could be considered an outstanding success. Now, that doesn’t mean they didn’t improve things … but uncategorically all of them ended up showing the same root cause problems soon enough.

Why is this?

Simple. The enterprise is a concept. It’s a combination of legal paperwork, a bank account and some bricks and mortar. That’s it.

Think about your workplace. If every employee was fired right now:
* how long before it stopped functioning?
* if you immediatly rehired new (skilled) blood … how long before it was back to it’s current state?
* at what point would the same root issues begin reappearing on the radar?

Chances are your answers would be like the majority of respondents. The reality is that people are the true strength (or downfall!) of an organisation.

Which leads me (finally!) to my point … whenever you are looking at implementing change – look at the people factor. Failure to do so is dooming the project from the get go.

So, how do we achieve this? There may be no single method … so instead, I’m going to focus on the easy target.

Every mission fails at the point it is launched. Regardless of the brilliance, research, dedication of the change team or the effectiveness of the delivery of the message to all employees.

Why? Generally, because the people at the bottom of the ladder do not see the benefits. The reality is that their job function hasn’t changed, neither have their operational goals, nor do their managers make it a priority and most importantly it’s not part of their key performance objectives.

However let’s assume you have ensured that the aspects of the mission statement have flowed through to your ground staff. What good is it if your spoken and unspoken performance appraisals are in direct contrast to each other?

If your sales staff are still offered commissions on the revenue they generate, what incentive do they have to ensure you achieve a higher ROIC ratio? If your tech teams are evaluated on their operational costs, why would they risk hiring or training staff to meet your best of breed policy?

As agents for change, we are responsible for implementing (radical?) forces of change. Too often, we forget that people are a huge variable in that equation and assume that simply disseminating the “plan” with corporate approval means that everyone will follow it and that all will right with the world.

To surmise, we need to remember to incorporate the human aspect into our plans.

So, how do we do this? Talk to your HR managers, to your business unit leads and work out a plan to roll out a cultural change along with your business and technology plans. It’s not an easy task, but even partial success in this arena could mean an exponential result in the realisation of your final goal.

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