Are We There Yet?

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That was the line uttered by millions of kids as they were being driven to family vacations in their woodie suburbans – one Howard Johnson at a time.  Ahhh, those were the days my friend (and if you caught that reference, you’re getting old) but I digress.  I know that this topic has been covered multiple times by us since we started talking about it decades ago but the challenge doesn’t go away just because time has passed.  Change Management is and will always be the hardest part of our responsibilities – and the most critical.

And in terms of getting there, the fastest way is not always the shortest – even Waze users will admit sometimes they are perplexed at where they are directed to go.  We still run into client situations where it’s a challenge convincing them that the best and fastest way to get something new adopted requires some preparatory work.  If you attended our webinar series…The Journey from Strategic Sourcing to Category Management – The Secret Sauce…..(still available as a free recording for family and friends – just ask 😊) you may have seen this slide before:

There is a reason why Educate and Align are before Execute/ADOPT.  Without educating the “buyer” about your product(solution) and showing them how their interests are aligned with your product(solution), you will have diminished the chances of execution succeeding and significantly reduced the chances of Adoption – and without Adoption, there is no Value.  Yet, we continue to work with clients for whom not getting to execution right away is slowing down the process and Adoption is not something that they have explicitly thought of before.  This is not to knock these clients but to use them to illustrate that Change Management is something that is a constant need – it never goes away.  And thank god for that because it continues to feed my retirement fund.

This is why developing the Change Management competency is should be critical for your organization.  This is why we identify it as a Strategic competency and not  a soft skill.  And as we have said before, the Execute step has zero value – in fact it’s negative value because up to that point all you have done is incurred expense and consumed political capital.  Value creation only occurs when the solution is Adopted.  And this is another slide from the webinar series:

One of the basic messages from this slide was that approximately 50% of your overall “budget” for a solution should be focused on Adoption.  This is based om empirical research conducted over decades – not a gut opinion.  Without Adoption, Value realization diminishes significantly.  You may recall our attempt to add to this discussion when we disclosed our Value Conversion Efficiency Ratio(VCER) which discussed how to increase the amount of value realized not the amount of the value designed from a solution.

So to answer the question Are we there yet, I would ask a counter question:  do you want to get there the fastest with little to negative Value or do you want to get there the fastest with the highest value and that’s not just a rhetorical question.  The answer dictates whether we are going to Educate and Align before we Execute and whether we focus on Adoption.  And while those may feel like slowing us down and keeping us away from Execute, in fact those are the enablers and accelerators to Value.

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Dalip Raheja is President and CEO of The Mpower Group (TMG). Dalip has over 30 years of experience managing large organizations and change initiatives. He has worked across the spectrums of supply chain management, strategic sourcing, and management consulting.

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