Usually we think in terms of steps we should be taking on a project or strategy or implementation. I’m here to tell you what not to do this time around. Sometimes we can be successful just by avoiding the bad practices (and, of course, still incorporating best practices as a logical path to success).
Implementing a new process or technology – either on a project or in a business unit or throughout the enterprise – can be a challenging thing. Every person brings a different skill set, mindset, learning curve, and potential reason for adoption resistance. Knowing how to handle most of the more common situations or issues will get you most of the way there. But also knowing what buttons not to push or concepts not to utilize can bring about a successful execution. Let’s consider our 5 don’ts for this action…
Never think in terms of the short-term win.
When thinking strategic execution of a process or technology, the most wasteful thing you can do is think in the short-term. It’s the equivalent of buying a hired arm (ie. outstanding, available pitcher) for the major league baseball playoff run and hopeful World Series Championship only to fall way short of your goal after spending millions of dollars on this team savior trying to get there. Sometimes it works, most times it does not.
Think in terms of building strategy and processes for long-term success and good, solid customer wins and retention. That’s where your company stability comes from – that’s where your good employee base retention comes from and that’s where your customer retention and reference-ability come from.
Profits are not always the top priority.
Remember – it’s not always about project or company profits. It is about putting your dollars and efforts in the right places and toward the meaningful ends. Overtime, if you do it right, you’ll get there. Success and profits will happen. But they never happen Day One. You just pray they happen before everything financially falls apart because too much strife and struggle can be the death of less focused young organizations.
Partial adoption is not an option.
Partial adoption of any enterprise change that is being strategically planned out and executed upon is not an option. Partial adoption can divide and defeat. It must be a cohesive effort. Set up a focus group or whatever needs to happen before ever undergoing the first steps of the strategic execution – don’t waste time and effort and valuable company dollars on something that isn’t going to fly with the mass population of the organization. Know your implementation limitations if there are any. And if the limitations are significant and time and education won’t change that, then abandon it or go back to the drawing board. Knowingly walking into failure is ill advised. Not knowing something will fail when you could know that in advance should be avoided at all costs.
Employee turnover is ok – don’t stop forward progress because of it.
If forward progress – good forward progress – means you lose some employees along the way, then so be it. It might be one sure way to weed out the slow or non-adopters anyway. But keep track of the exiting population – you don’t want to lose the best of the best either. If those are leaving there might be some flaws in your planning or strategy. Take exiting employees aside and conduct exit interviews before it’s too late. You may learn something that tells you to halt or alter your strategic execution of the process or technology changes or make some drastic changes to avoid this type of major transition and turnover.
Don’t forget your clients.
Don’t forget about your most important clients. Client retention is important, and you need to fully understand how any process or technology changes will be affecting them or at least how they perceive they will be affected. It may be a matter of changing direction if you are faced with losing significant work and revenue. Or it may be a case of needing to educate your important customer base, so they understand what you’re doing and even possibly provide some input into the transition.
Strategic execution is good – great planning and proper execution of those plans lead to the best possible project outcomes and the best employee adoption of process and technology changes. But knowing what NOT to do is very important and by making sure you don’t do these five things it will help you get to successful end implementation of the project or enterprise changes you are executing.
Learn how University of Chicago Medicine navigated a long term strategy with adoption as one of their key priorities.