A Heart-to-heart Talk About Process And Change Management

A friend of yours has just been told by his physician that he needs an artificial heart in order to have any chance of survival. Excited, you realize this situation has created the perfect opportunity for you to explore the relationship between process management and change management.

Googling artificial heart surgery reveals that the use of an artificial heart is now possible because of years of pioneering work in two separate but related fields…

* Artificial Heat Manufacture the design, engineering, manufacture, testing, and refining of an effective and efficient artificial heart

* Artificial Heart Surgery the surgical procedure for implanting the heart that maximize the patient’s changes of recovery

Obviously success in both areas is essential; a great heart ineffectively implanted won’t suffice, and effectively implanting a defective heart is just as bad.

The same relationship exists between process management and change management:

* Process Management is like the artificial heart. Process Management has been pioneered, tested, and refined and has been proven to improve organizational performance … if it can be implemented (implanted) and used on a day-by-day basis by an organization.

* Change Management is like the surgery. Change Management is a distinct discipline with principles, methods, and techniques that have been proven to work in making the kinds of comprehensive changes that are needed to put a new management discipline (like Process Management) into play.

Let’s take the heart analogy one final step and look at how Process Management and Change Management must work together to result in a healthy patient. Four things can happen during implementation, and three of them are bad…

1. Flawed PM content and invalid CM = organizational damage, wrong ideas about PM that are fortunately not implemented

2. Flawed PM content and valid CM = organizational disaster, spreading ideas and practices that hurt, not help the organization to get better results

3. Valid PM content and invalid CM = organizational boondoggle, a waste of time and money and a turn-off to the organization about PM value

4. Valid PM content and valid CM = organizational results … that come from more effective and efficient business processes

The bottom line is that Process Management can enable powerful improvements in business results, but getting Process Management into play implementing it as a change Management initiative – is the hardest part.

Like an artificial heart and the surgical equipment/procedures to implant it, Process Management and Change Management must be “joined at the hip” to achieve success.

Run The Business / Change The Business Dual Perspective Proves Key To Success

Change management is a lot like artificial heart transplant surgery: A crucial surgical objective during the implantation of an artificial heart is to keep the patient alive while the surgery is going on. Not exactly a minor detail!

Actually, keeping the patient alive turns out to be a pretty complicated process; it requires very special machinery that has been developed and tested over many years. In fact, there may be more patents on the stay-alive-during-surgery technology than on the artificial heart itself!

When we implement change, we use two kinds of technology as well; in this case the first technology is the body of knowledge or expertise associated with the change, which is analogous to the artificial heart. Let’s assume that the change in which we are interested in implementing is Process Management. In this example, we would need the Process Management body of knowledge which we are implementing (implanting) in the organization (patient).

The second technology is analogous to the surgical procedure. It is our Change Management system. And like our surgical procedure, it has the dual objectives of changing the business (implanting the heart) and running the business (keeping the patient alive during the procedure).

No change initiative (like Process Management) occurs in a vacuum. The initiative must necessarily go on while the organization is “staying alive,” doing its “day job” of producing products, serving customers, collecting monies, and so on… in order to make a profit for share/stakeholders.

While in most cases there will be a number of moving parts to a full-blown run-the-business / change-the-business system, simple examples do exist. Imagine a senior executive team that meets every Monday. They might use the morning session to focus only on run-the-business issues (e.g., progress toward financial targets, status on actions to fix customer upsets, manufacturing breakdowns, etc.) In the afternoon they might focus only on change-the-business issues like our Process Management implementation (e.g., who are the next managers to receive training, what is the progress on the pilot project in each department, how far along is the task force that is mapping core processes, how far along is HR in designing an incentive compensation system that supports Process Management, etc.).

The regular practice of the two executive meetings each Monday becomes a rudimentary “management system” that provides focus and balance to both running and changing the business. This simple but powerful idea can be extremely valuable to organizations trying to implement change because it moves their thinking from an unconscious “change the business OR run the business” to a conscious “change the business AND run the business.”

It takes heroic leadership to maintain this duality. Daily temptation lurks everywhere…

* “Let’s cancel the afternoon meeting; we don’t need it. We had a good change-the-business session two weeks ago.”

* “We really need the time this Monday afternoon to get to the details of the current customer problem in the southern region.”

Just as a heart patient makes a heroic decision to permit the implanting of an artificial heart, we need executive leadership at the very top making the heroic decisions the organization needs to stay the course of organizational change.

Senior executives must make the decision to lead a fully-committed change effort, providing the personal “in front of the troops” presence and direction, to provide the needed resources and organizational time… while continuing to run the business on a daily basis in order to meet or exceed the year’s business goals.

Change Management Will Help Your Business Succeed Over Time

The only thing constant in life – and in business – is change. If businesses do not change, they will cease to be competitive, and will lose their customers to new businesses who have innovative strategies and can more effectively reach the consumer with their products. Change management companies, which are designed to help businesses modify their policies and adopt new ways of thinking, exist primarily to prevent this phenomenon.

Newly created organizations as well as established companies all have use for business coaching services and change management companies. Business coaches help the company to tease out their ideas and integrate newer methodologies into their business practices to keep them current and viable in terms of today’s market. In this kind of coaching, there isn’t a problem that owners wish to alter or eradicate in the company, but a general advisor is needed to help push the business forward.

Coaching companies are used to fine tune businesses in the areas of marketing, public relations, and human resources. Each of these important areas can be affected by the strategies businesses use in order to be successful. Businesses must have a strong business plan in order to succeed and get the most out of their business.

Change management is essential to a business in order to keep it from becoming stagnant. Complacency with a business plan encourages the participants to ignore the changes in the world around them. When this happens, the business loses touch with the needs of its potential clients and customers. This is a guaranteed way to lose business and fail in today’s highly competitive commercial world.

Alongside companies offering services designed to enhance the overall competitiveness of a business, some business services companies take on the task of project management. Instead of taking a broad overview of the business strategy as a whole, these companies narrow their focus to a particular task or project within the business.

An example of a business branching off into a new field would be if, for instance, a computer manufacturer has an interest in the portable music industry, and must then decide whether entering into that field would be lucrative or not. This is when hiring a project management company may be a valuable decision. In an effort to maintain success in the new product market, a project management company can help a business determine how they should enter into a particular field.

The only thing constant in life – and in business – is change. Business coaching and change management services are beneficial resources to enlist by a company today. Starting out, a new organization will realize a benefit from coaching because it will help create and aid development of new competitive operating functions and methods. In addition to these types of companies that are available for businesses to use to ensure their competitiveness there are also companies that focus on project management. Changes in the business community often happen because a company has decided to expand its activity into a new field.