Five questions to answer before your next change initiative

Below are five question that are crucial to answer upfront, repeatedly, and through multiple mediums.

By Shon Isenhour August 25, 2016

We all are part of change initiatives. Interestingly, the majority of them fail to deliver the results expected or projected. When we look back at the ones that failed to deliver, we find many that were destined to fail from the beginning because of the way the change was unveiled and communicated to the affected individuals. Below are five question that are crucial to answer upfront, repeatedly, and through multiple mediums. I will demonstrate the questions using a hypothetical enterprise asset management system (EAM) or computerized maintenance management system (CMMS) implementation as the example and share a few elements that satisfy a portion of the questions.

1. Why are we doing this?

Example: Tell them about the transparency the new EAM provides. You might also share the fact that it is connected with all of the other management systems, from procurement to human resources, and it allows the business to be better managed by tearing down the walls between these departments. In the end, it will make the business more efficient and will help us to surpass our competitors.

2. What does this look like?

Example: Show them the master project plan for the EAM rollout with the dates and areas of focus. Allow them to drill down into the plan so they can see the details where it is of interest. This will help with the next question.

3. How will it affect me? What’s in it for me?

Example: Show them how the new system will change their current role. Whenever possible, show them areas where the new system is easier and better for them. This can be done with the workflow process maps or the RASI or RACI documents that were created during the blueprinting phase of the EAM implementation.

4. What do you expect from me?

Example: This is where you can take them through the "Rs": responsibilities relating to their role. These are shown in the RASI documents. These responsibilities are required for the process to work effectively and they show what you need for them to do specifically to meet the needs of the change.

5. What can I expect from you?

Example: This is where you might share the Rs that you own and what you will also provide from an "A," or accountability, standpoint.

These examples only begin to scratch the surface of the information that you need to provide, but they should give you some context for each question. Please take the time to plan out how you are going to communicate each of these points to all the different groups that will be affected by the change.

Shon Isenhour is a founding partner at Eruditio and is a part of Plant Engineering’s Editorial Advisory Board. This article originally appeared on Eruditio’s blog. Eruditio is a CFE Media content partner.

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