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How to Tame the Change Management Dragon with Amazing Results

July 23, 2019 | By Cheryl Hammer

The human brain’s capacity has been lauded as more powerful than a supercomputer, supposedly running at 10% of its potential — but that latter statement proved to be a myth. The brain is always active; however, it actively resists change, too. Change equates to energy spent, and energy equates to stone-age protection mechanisms, triggering the freeze, fight, or flight reactions. Instinctively, the brain conserves energy. 

Corporations, like humans, have a brain-trust that operates as a holistic entity. The decisions to implement change may be customer-driven or forward-thinking initiated.

  • A customer-driven change, like the one General Mills initiated in the early 2000s, resulted from a loss of market share when consumers desired healthy alternatives to cereal, such as oatmeal. In response, General Mills successfully created an organizational change to convert all cereal brands to whole grain products.
  • A self-initiating change example (one not prompted by customer demand) is like the one that Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella took when he wanted a culture shift to spark new possibilities for the stalwart technology company. The results have been impressive, including revenue exceeding $100 billion for the first time in 2018.

Change Management Infographic

Implementing changes among thousands of employees requires energy and, like the human brain, often impedes encounters in a primitive manner. Change can be a beast, a formidable dragon of sorts. The preference is for things to remain the same, and it’s why the process known as change management is necessary to shield the allegorical dragon that breathes a fire of resistance within organizations.

One technology platform in particular can accelerate change management by empowering successful frameworks such as the award-winning methodology the 8-Step Process for Leading Change by subject matter expert, author, and Harvard professor John P. Kotter. The technology is prescriptive analytics, a subset of advanced analytics that prescribes the best plans of action considering a company’s constraints and objectives. Advantages of this tool include:

  • Rapid implementation (weeks vs. months or years)
  • Significant results within months
  • Easily scales from a specific pain point solution to a full-scale enterprise analytics tool
  • Profit improvements up to 5% of additional revenues
  • Cost savings of up to 10%
  • Visual representation of the company (digital twin)
  • Code-free programming for more employee participation

A study by McKinsey and Company reports 60 to 70% of companies fail to maintain the desired results after implementing change management practices. Prescriptive analytics not only tames the resistance to change but avoids these kinds of failure rates. By allowing companies and their stakeholders to measure and monitor ongoing plans, and make adjustments as necessary, the reluctance to change management is gone.

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