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#322: Shaking Things Up

Posted By Mark Haas CMC FIMC, Tuesday, June 8, 2010
Updated: Wednesday, June 9, 2010
I've got a client whose business is going through some very rough times and I can't seem to get them to accept and implement my recommendations. They seem very hesitant to commit to the sweeping changes I believe are necessary to pull them out of this slump. They agree with the initiatives in principle, but are concerned that employees won't support the initiatives. How can I help them with this?

Here are a handful of thoughts/questions that just might help:
  1. Avoid the "all or nothing" approach and phase in the components of the initiative in a gradual, non-disruptive manner, implementing the least risky and widely accepted steps first.
  2. If you are unable to phase in the changes, ensure that you gain alignment with the core leadership group before proceeding.
  3. Identify the key dissenters and identify the facts behind their perceived resistance. Deal with each individually and try to address their concerns prior to proceeding with any implementation steps.
Tip: This is not uncommon for organizations under pressure. You may want to enlist the help of someone who specializes in the management of corporate transformations and change initiatives, particularly one possessing expertise on the on the human-side of change). This should be someone who has experience and a proven track record in this area. Bringing in vital extra resources is a sign of strength, not of weakness.

© 2010 Institute of Management Consultants USA

Tags:  client service  crisis management 

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Comments on this post...

Ira S. Miller says...
Posted Wednesday, June 9, 2010
Over the last 25 years we've developed and refined a change management process that has been 100% successful. At it's core is getting the organization aligned around the problem, not the solution. The techniques are completely transparent.

I would gladly discuss our methodology with you.
Ira Miller
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Michael E. Cohen CMC MBA says...
Posted Wednesday, June 9, 2010
I agree with the points in the original post. Here are some addtional suggestions to consider:

1. Build some successes early. These can be minor, but significnat benefits to the organziation, which may help build credibility for the broader recommendations.

2. Start building a case for your major recommendations early on, whne things start to be apparent. This can take the form of bouncing ideas off some of your client representatives. But always do this in the form of questions in the context of preliminary ideas.

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Michael E. Cohen CMC MBA says...
Posted Wednesday, June 9, 2010
3. Propose options. This may not always be useful in that you don't want to minimize the strnght of and your conviction in your major recommendations.

4. Avid surprises. Review your major recommendations wiht key clinet represetatives befiore you present them in a final report or major briefing. As Mark said, you should try to surface objections and the reasons for them. This will also help in uncovering possible flaws in your research and analysis.

5. As far as reaching out to consultnats wiht expertise in change management, it may be better late than never. But it is hard to imagine undertaking an assignment such as the one Mark describes without having that expertise or much of it on your team at the outset. Waiting until the end may be too late. I'm not sure why mark made this point, as the inherent nature of the assignmnet seems to require such skills.
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