Shelly Sweet (i4process) published a great article about Change Management in Business Process Improvement (BPI) projects: part 1, part 2.Shelly refers to Anna Ewins, who adapted the famous Elisabeth Kubler-Ross stages of people’s reaction to a tradegy: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance (the fans of “All This Jazz” should recall it vividely) to organization’s changes. Anna introduces the following stages: denial, resistance, exploration and commitment.
So the first thing we should acknowledge is that change is a tradegy for most people.
But it’s OK - point #2
Seriously, we should keep it in mind all the time, be patient in helping them to cross the barrier and use any occasion to win people’s hearts.
One particular mistake Shelly addresses is informing people about changes at the last minute - when the implementation project starts. Start managing changes early (during project chartering and staffing), involve people in the process analysis and design, inform them frequently and honestly, face their concerns and give them chances to respond with feedback, address rumors and misinformation.
It does not mean there will be no resistance, but some managers and employees may have passed denial and even resistance, instead of just beginning during implementation.