I had a great comment on a previous post of mine about change and ROI.
I received this comment from a new friend of mine and it was so good (much better than I probably could have written) that I thought I would just repost it here and treat it as a guest post. This is from Ken Stewart at Kearns Corp.
(Hey, Ken, when you get your own blog... I'll link to you).
Here were his comments:
"I firmly believe change is hard, and people generally only want change because they are unsatisfied with the current situation, but is the grass really greener on the other side?
Of course, this is a rhetorical question in the grander sense of this reply, but a question that should, nonetheless, be asked by those change agents within a business and really examined. It is my humble opinion that only two things should dictate change: 1) an internal desire to positively impact the business and 2) an external market pressure or development that dictates change to survive.
People by their very nature are experiential. This is to say that they must generally experience a great deal of pain or pleasure to enable the catalysts for change to take root. It is my submission that change only occurs in any form of permanence with the former as it takes an increasing amount of pleasure to perpetuate lasting change (see economics 101: the law of diminishing returns).
So in a nutshell, change for its own sake never succeeds, and you are dead-on in stating change can indeed be painful. However, it is that very vision of change from the leader given to the troops, and reinforced by line managers that keeps change on track - along with a good business plan of course!
What I would submit, however, is that change management can be positive, and much quicker to realize ROI, and much less painful, even to the point of being positive, if you have spent the time building a culture that is high capacity and dedicated to the grander vision of a leader...
You must consistently remind people why we are changing, but most importantly, as a technologist and business process improvement advocate, I have found that gaining not only C-level buy-in but grass roots buy-in to be the real key. This is why my number 1 metric is always long-term cultural adoption.
Communistic you say? Not in the least. I have found that your associates can often tell you what is screwed up most in the business. Why is this? Because they are often closest to your customer... This is of course to say you have built a high-capacity team and that you have the right people on the bus -- and in the right seats on the bus (to use a line from Jim Collins).
Culture is king and how change can be accomplished in both good and bad situations."