In Part 1 of this series, we discussed an example of failed change management implementation. In this article, we’ll discuss howBizCocreationapproach could have resulted in a more successful implementation of the process change and enhanced learning within the organization.
BizCocreationApproach to Co-Creation
Co-creation has been discussed for three decades and popularized more recently as a business strategy focusing on joint creation of values by a company and its customers. Given the fast-evolving and collaborative nature of today’s market, it allows a company to leverage the experience of the customer, expanding the insights which can be gained to increase the value output of the project.
Informed by classic and emerging trends in stratey and technologies and insights of Cognitive Work Analysis, BizCocreationis a methodical approach to understanding and shaping the operations of a complex sociotechnical system. It starts with the business system analysis to capture the applicable work practices, using the insights garnered to design business processes or tools which facilitate effective team collaboration and set the foundation for innovative continuous improvements.
The BizCocreationmodel is built upon three pillars: Analysis, Reprocessing, and Engagement, each of which will be discussed below as applicable to the case discussed in the previous post.
1. Define Scope and Dependencies to Align Strategies and Operations
By abstracting the sociotechnical landscape and dependencies, as well as identifying gaps in organizational structure, tools, processes, or learning, BizCocreationprovides useful analysis as the foundation for success.
In the Analysis phase, a system analysis framework is used to capture business processes and work practices to highlight gaps and opportunities for improvements. Through interviews, meetings, site visits, online surveys, and key document reviews, a complete view of the project, program, or operations is created.The results may include the overall interactions between organizational departments and layers and includes cost analysis to ensure budgets are able to be allocated appropriately. The diagramming and understanding is an evolving process and often employs rounds of clarifying goals, identifyin dependencies between process and organizational elements, and performing iterative organizational groupings for alignment within the business structure and goals. From this, customized workshops and detailed training opportunities are planned to socializethe insights gathered to key stakeholders.
In the instance of the software company implementing a new risk analysis tool, having a broader picture of the process dependencies—as well as the employee-centric mindset—could have led to stronger and more sustainable adoption. In an article for McKinsey (Fine, Hansen, & Roggenhofer, 2008), David Fine, Maia A. Hansen, and Stefan Roggenhofer describe the impact soft skills can have on the success of a project. They admit the difficulty of the situation (“Mastering lean’s softer side is difficult because it forces all employees to commit themselves to new ways of thinking and working.”) but point out how important it is to dialogue with team members. This isn’t just falling short of the mark: it has business implications.
BizCocreationemphasizes leverageing the knowledge and experience of all levels of employeesto understand the “true structure of the organization” or “the reality on the ground.” Establishing a holistic picture is the key to engaging employees proactively, anticipating resistance and providing them with the tools and training to make the transition as seamless as possible. It may also be useful to discuss and introduce emerging technologies such as tools for analytics, data workflow automation, customized apps or interactive dashboards to ensure organizations build in scalbility and agility.
2. Collect Data for the Right Metrics
In operations, metrics are essential to know if people, processes, and tools are meeting goals and what improvements are needed to increase performance. The company mentioned in the case launched the project without embedding metrics as KPIs so management had no way to determine if the project was succeeding or not.
It is also important to select the right metrics or else it may actually sabotage the efforts by encouraging the counterproductive behaviors. For example, using “Error Rate” as a metric can lead to minimization or hiding of errors. In contrast, using a proactive metric like “Right First Time” can lead to more positive results without blame or shame. In areas where quantitative metrics are hard to implement, survey and subjective responses may be an effective method for gaining feedback thus support project progress.
This is another aspect of the Analysis phase which also can be followed through with the Reprocessing and Engagement phases in BizCocreationprogram implementation. Assistance in designing system elements to enable tracking the right KPIs is a key early step which cannot be neglected.
3. Leverage Meaningful Abstractionfor Effective Learning
With up to 70% of change management initiatives failing and resistance of employees being a key driver of failure[i], effective presentation of information during change management can significantly improve the chances of success. When rolling out a change, leaders can either assume a certain level of knowledge is present in all employees affected by the change and provide minimal training or acknolwedge that current and future employees need well-designed training to ensure effective learning and application of knowledgeto perform. As individual employees inevitably have varying levels of knowledge and competence despite the qualification for a position as expected. Robust training sets clear expectations of knowledge to be mastered while also providing a vehicle for the employees to gain the requisite expertise.
The Reprocessing step presents the preliminary analysis results as constructed knowledge around the change and could be used in meetings or workshop in several ways to support learning:
- Set up and provide orientation for initial project portal at kickoff meeting
- Facilitate discussions of common goals, the project charter and planning, anticipated issues, required monitoring metrics, and efficient data collection
- Translate information to compelling visual management materials for ongoing progress tracking
4. Develop a Comprehensive Project Portal
In the case discussed in Part I, the lack of a comprehensive project portal and a designated person for the portal created confusion, decreased compliance, and reduced uniformity of the desirable outcomes. No repository of knowledge existed for quick reference if there was a question on how to fill out a certain portion of the form, or guidance on the overall principles which dictated the levels of risk and how to assess individual items. If the primary contacts for the project were unavailable, experienced help was out of reach.
Conscientious, hard-working employees who want to comply with a new process can be frustrated when they are overly reliant on an individual for help. Subject matter experts may also be overburdened with the request for consultation. Making the information available in a self-service format can help high-performers answer their own questions and keep development moving. A well-organized wiki site can provide everything a team needs to succeed, from giving them links to important documents, to providing ongoing guidance and a forum for discussing ongoing issues.
The BizCocreationapproach would suggest a portal which grows out of the information gathered throughout the Analysis, Reprocessing, and Engagement steps. At each step, stakeholders communicated valuable information to the leaders implementing the change management. These discussions, as well as the independent analysis, gives a holistic view of the team’s needs. Leveraging this information and including it in an easy-to-access, well-organized project portal empowers employees to carry out their duties without the time and money wasted on seeking answers or correcting errors and operational non-compliance.
5. Employ and Develop Effective Leadership
When initiating change which contains a highly novel approach or process, leadership is the most important aspect. Collaborating with multiple levels of stakeholders, getting buy-in from key decision makers, and guiding the project through to completion requires leadership which is capable of assessing the situation across departments and possesses the knowledge needed to initiate thoroughgoing change. By creating tools and processes which are based on the information gathered in the previous steps, a holistic approach is implemented which eliminates gaps and inefficiencies and fuels adoption.
McKinsey emphasizes how important it is to effectively engage employees by instilling in them the influencing skills needed to highlight the new system’s benefits and to convince doubters that the importance of the changes. This can have an enlivening effect on employees to sustain the changes. Experts can catalyze changes as coaches and managers can lead by serving as a long-term role models
BizCocreationuses mapping of the ideal decision processes to enable the engaging of leadership and coordination amongst hierarchies, divisions, and departments. By engaging all levels of employees, from the board room to the shop floor, the leadership model guides change management through each stage and toward a sustainable ongoing implementation.
The Engagement phase takes the information gathered and actions the findings in practical ways engineered to decrease resistance and increase compliance. This typically takes the format of:
- Customizing a project portal based on initial objectives and evolving situations
- Organizing relevant knowledge in project portal designed for end-user efficiency
- Establishing mechanisms for appropriate visibility and accountability
- Supporting data workflow, dashboards, and continuous improvement programs
Cocreating for Future Success
In their article “What Apple, Lending Club, and AirBnB Know About Collaborating with Customers”, authors Marry Libert, Jerry Wind, and Megan Beck recommend a five-step process called PIVOT: Pinpoint, Identify, Visualize, Operate, and Track. Their model seeks to “invite…customers into the value equation” by understanding areas where customers may co-create, and providing a platform for them to do so, and then operate and track its success. BizCocreationseeks to do this through partnering with organizations at a deep level, working with them to implement Analysis, Re-Processing, and Engagement in a manner that meets business goals and drives future success.
[i]Dinkelmann M., Siegert J., Bauernhansl T. (2014) Change Management through Learning Factories. In: Zaeh M. (eds) Enabling Manufacturing Competitiveness and Economic Sustainability. Springer, Cham; p. 395