Implementation is normally the hardest and most frustrating part of any business planning or business development activity. You have to implement a plan that has not yet been proven successful, in addition to dealing with new and ever-occurring crises and unanticipated obstacles along the way. Sure, the planning process was tough, but the actual implementation can be brutal.
To implement any major business plan successfully, expect to spend several months to several years in the actual implementation process. Why? Because in addition to "simply" changing the way your business operates, you have to change your employees' behavior patterns along with their attitudes—and that all takes time.
It’s relatively easy to re-set a production line or relocate an office. The real challenge comes into play when we have to help our employees understand and support a new way of doing business. In actuality, plan to spend 3 to 4 times as much time training for new behaviors as opposed to training new business procedures. Employees can quickly learn ‘How’ to perform a new or modified task. It is the ‘Why’ do they have to do it the new way that can create problems for all of us.
I’ve helped several manufacturers initiate employee project or product teams. For many people, working in somewhat, self-contained teams, is a new concept and, therefore, not the norm. Furthermore, where resetting production lines is relatively straightforward, helping employees understand ‘why and how’ the line resets and ‘why and how’ teams will benefit them is not. Because we’re trying to change behaviors, this process will take time, training, and communication (in abundance).
As old as each of your employee’s is, that’s how many years he or she has been developing specific behavior patterns. So when we ask them to learn a new procedure, and possibly, modify their behaviors and beliefs to implement the change effectively, there is resistance. Intentional or not, the resistance is there. Think about it. We are forcing people to behave in ways that are not normal to them and, to most of us, “not normal” is wrong.
The solution: We have to help to develop a mindset that the Change Is Normal—the act, the journey, the move from here to there (physically or behaviorally)—normal, normal, normal. Because (listen to me now) unless we keep an intense focus on changing behavior patterns before, during, and after the business changes occur, we will not be able to successfully implement any plan.
Copyright MCMXCVII Liz Weber, CMC, CSP - Weber Business Services, LLC.