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#501: Make Sure Your Client Can Implement

Posted By Mark Haas CMC FIMC, Monday, February 14, 2011
Updated: Monday, February 14, 2011
After training my client's workers on how to correctly perform a revised process, I returned a month to find that they were not only performing the new process incorrectly, but they had misassembled the lion’s share of the products produced resulting in the client needing to issue an emergency call back. Is this my fault? I clearly showed them exactly what to do and I put it in writing.

Although it is unclear who could have improved this situation, it is useful to reiterate two items. First, remember the adage, "when process meets culture, culture wins." This refers to the situation where, when a new process is introduced, its logic, reasonableness and clarity pale in importance when compared the power of emotion, habit and resistance to change. Explaining in is just not enough.

Second, there is always the clear benefit of asking, "what more could I have done?" At a minimum, make sure you are aware when your implementation is not going according to plan. When you first know that whatever new process you recommend is going to be applied many, many times over, be sure to monitor that application until you (and your client) feel certain that the process is firmly in place and is being followed.

Tip: You have a professional and ethical responsibility to assure your directives are fully understood by the client and you leave the client with the capability to sustain use of your recommendations beyong the initial implementation. Would you instruct your teenager how to install fence posts by demonstrating the process once and then not checking back to be sure that everything is okay until after the remaining 29 posts have been installed? If you wait beyond the early opportunities to waver from your desired implementation, it will be too late for you and the client to recognize that you weren't clear about how to line up the posts, make them straight and level, etc.

© 2011 Institute of Management Consultants USA

Tags:  advice  communication  consulting process  implementation  recommendations 

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