The development of business processes involve both people and technology to execute. It is our belief and experience that the people change management or organizational change management aspects of business process development consume in excess of 60 percent of a BPM program effort.
Unless the people (all stakeholders, both internal and external) are fully engaged and enthusiastic then your BPM implementation will be significantly more difficult and have a higher risk factor.
So how do you get ready for the changes that will be coming?
Simplistically, getting ready for change falls into two categories:
- Creating an environment that will allow and encourage people to change.
- Ensure that there is consultation and feedback regarding the change program.
Create an environment
There are essentially three broad components involved in creating the environment that allows people to change: trust, caring and ownership.
Trust is critical. People must feel they can trust their leaders and the environment within which they function, at all levels within the organization. They must believe that leaders are honest with them, have high levels of integrity and are reliable and open. People must believe that they can ask any question and get an honest answer. Table 1 shows a number of actions that do and do not fulfill these criteria. The criticality of trust is also discussed later in this Column.
Caring is about respect and empathy for others. It is about acknowledging and thanking people for their contribution and effort. Respect includes many of the trust builders mentioned in table 1. People will feel they have respect from leaders when the leaders always tell the truth, keep their word and respect each other.
Ownership is about providing people with as much control over their own destiny as is possible. It is about empowering people with information that will allow them to be responsible for their own decisions and actions, and to be held accountable for them.
To encourage ownership clarify expectations (what the organization expects from its people) and responsibility (how the organization expects its people to be responsible in their actions and behavior) – don't delegate, elevate. Provide a sense of ownership by providing people with access to feedback before the boss gets it, thus allowing people to make corrections themselves before the boss provides the feedback.
Criticality of trust
In a very real sense, the level of trust is a thermometer of individual and group (organization) health. With trust, we all function naturally and directly.
The research and findings of neuroeconomists1 are causing other economists to rethink theories that have been based on the assumptions that people act in pure self-interest. Zak discovered that our brains are wired to guide us towards both socially and individually beneficial behavior and that this motivation to cooperate happens on an unconscious level2.
“Trust is among the strongest known predictors of a country's wealth; nations with low levels tend to be poor. Our model showed that societies with low levels are poor because the inhabitants undertake too few of the long-term investments that create jobs and raise incomes. Such investments depend on mutual trust that both parties will fulfill their contractual obligations”.3
Figure 1 shows the results, by country, of the answer to a simple question: “Do you think most people can be trusted?”
Why should we be concerned about trust at a cultural level? It turns out that the standard of living in a country is directly related to the degree to which people in the country trust each other. That is, wealth is correlated to the trust levels. Why? Because when trust levels are high, financial transactions costs are low and efficient – there is no need for elaborate contracts to protect the parties involved. Whereas, in low trust environments, elaborate, inefficient means are necessary to protect the parties, making transaction costs high.
Personal income will rise 1% for every 15% increase in the proportion of people in the country who think others are trustworthy; the reverse is also true. Trust begets trust; fear escalates fear.
The national or country relationship with trust translates to individuals and organizations. So trust within an organization plays a critical role and an organization comprises a group of individuals. Trust beginning with each of us. Think about this next time you interact with another person.
Trust is essential in all our interpersonal relationships. Maister5, in The Trusted Advisor, suggests that the Trust Equation is made up of the four components shown in figure 2.
Some of the behaviors and traits to be considered within each of these components are:
- Be honest and authentic; no lies – not even a hint of a lie
- Speak with confidence and expression
- Be prepared; say when you don't know
- Do what you say you will
- Link words with deeds and intention with action
- Honor all commitments
- Set clear goals and meet them
- Announce changes early
- Be the first to open up
- Share emotions
- Establish clear and safe boundaries
- Connect with people at many levels
- Be yourself
- “It's all about me” mindset
- Not listening
- Take over conversations
- Have to have last word
- Can't say “I don't know”
Involve all stakeholders as much as is possible within your BPM programs. They will be the ones who will make it work, not the project team.
1Zak, Paul. J., The Neurobiology of Trust, Scientific American, June 2008
2Somehow this little chemical (oxytocins) is not only telling us what’s good for society, be cooperative, trust other people, allowing us to live in big cities, it also tells you what’s good for you as an individual. (Zak in Horstman, M. 2005. Catalyst: Trust – ABC TV Science, ABC Online, http://www.net.au/catalyst/stories/s 1481749.htm
3Zak, et al, p.88
4Zak, et al, p.95
5Maister,D, Green,C H, Galford, R M, The Trusted Advisor,2001