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Change Management
Complex Computer Conversion Owes Success to Well Constructed and Implemented Change Plan

 Challenge:

Prepare the organization to convert to five new computer systems for merchandising, warehousing, financial accounting, office automation and human resources. 

The Go Live date was in six months and this was the most comprehensive change the organization had faced. 

During the conversion, it was critical to maintain operations as the stores were a major source of supplies, merchandise and gas for military personnel.

Action:

Since so many functions were involved, a cross-functional team was charged with developing and then implementing a plan over a 2 year period to ensure a successful conversion.

Our first step was to design and facilitate a project planning approach for the executive steering council.  The key management from every function spent an initial two days developing a high level change approach.  This included not only the technical changes required but a communication plan, training plan and a change management plan.

Each system was individually mapped out and then integrated into one comprehensive plan to assess flow, staffing, and to identify potential problems.  All this information was converted to Microsoft project software.  An individual was appointed to maintain oversight of the plan, conduct project reviews and adjust the plan as necessary.

Detailed plans were then developed down through all affected departments.  This was followed by sessions with the departments, the general managers of the 17 store locations affected by the change and other key stakeholder groups (vendors, other base personnel)

Results:

This region was recognized for implementing the most successful conversion.  They met schedule, budget, and quality goals that had been set as targets at the beginning.

Our firm was acknowledged for our consulting skill in guiding the organization in this conversion process and our continuous focus on planning for flawless execution.

Competency Model

 Challenge:

A forward-thinking vice president of a prestigious international consumer products company wanted to design a Competency Model that could be used as the foundation for all its human resources processes.

This model had to encompass the diverse skills needed for successful leadership within the complex organization as well as serve as a guide to the organization’s future selection and leadership development efforts.

Action:

Successful leaders were identified from across the organization. Interviews were conducted to gather stories that illustrated moments when these leaders felt they were most successful, and also, moments when they were not successful. These stories were collected and analyzed to extract the competencies they represented. Behavior-based descriptions were developed for each competency. A preliminary competency model was established.

A survey was designed to validate the preliminary competencies. The survey was administered to a representative sample of the organization’s management. The results were subjected to statistical analysis, and each competency was rated for its validity across the organization. Findings were presented to senior management for approval.

Results:

The competency model was approved by senior management and was quickly and widely embraced by the organization.

It was immediately put to use as the foundation for the development of a 360 degree management survey, and as the impetus for the revision of the organization’s job descriptions and performance management systems. This competency model was also used to develop a competency-based selection and interview program, and competency-based assessment centers.

 

Performance Management Redesign

Challenge

A local community college district wanted to redesign its obsolete “checklist” style performance management system. The existing, ancient system was widely disparaged and rarely used.

Any changes to the existing system had to gain the acceptance and approval by the colleges’ two employee unions, faculty, management and Governing Board. Tension was high, and relationships strained between the employee unions and  management.

Action

Preliminary meetings were held with representatives from the vice chancellor’s office and employee unions. A facilitated, off-site workshop was conducted where the combined group discussed its goals and ideas, resulting in the development of mission, vision and values statements for the new plan. At the conclusion of this event, the client requested a research report on performance management research and practices.

We prepared, delivered and presented an in-depth report to the various stakeholder groups. Shortly thereafter, two of the employee union groups decided to join forces to form a steering committee to further the work started at the off-site workshop. We facilitated their monthly planning meetings. Early in the planning process, representatives from the management team were invited to participate on the planning committee. The group worked diligently over many months to construct a new system that would meet their diverse needs: to create a competency-based system that incorporated individual and departmental goals, provided ongoing, constructive and timely feedback, and not pose an unreasonable administrative burden.

Three departments were chosen as pilot groups to implement the new system over an 18-24 month period. The pilot groups’ employees and managers received training at the onset of the trial period, along with initial meeting facilitation support. A support group was established to provide additional help as needed. An anonymous employee survey administered to the pilot groups at the end of the trial period was debriefed at a meeting attended by all three departments. There, pilot participants shared the feelings, successes, and difficulties encountered during the trial period.

A second pilot group consisting of three additional departments was launched. The combined pilot results were overwhelmingly encouraging and the program was rolled out to the entire staff population.

Results

The joint steering committee made up of representatives from two employee unions, management, human resources and the vice chancellor’s office worked together to produce an innovative, state-of-the-art performance management system, that was embraced by all stakeholder groups.

The elements of the system included 360 degree surveys for all employees and a structured annual process that guided employees to develop personal goals in support of departmental goals, which subsequently supported college and district goals. This process allowed individual employees, many with twenty or more years of service, to, for the first time, have a voice in how their tasks were structured. Comments such as “no one ever asked for my opinion before” were common. New alliances were made within and between departments as employees took initiative to meet their ambitious goals. The creativity, communication, energy and enthusiasm unleashed by the new process was astounding.

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