Blog Archive

Ivo knew he had a problem. He had chaired yet another executive committee at his government agency where he felt like he was the only one who knew what direction the organization needed to take. The politicians responsible for the agency wanted it to become a modern service center that helped the government implement its policies. And Ivo knew exactly where the digital transformation should lead them. Unfortunately, most of the employees, including their managers, remained stuck in their ways. Change management was needed.

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Typically, the following topics are considered as common traps of ERP implementations: process flow definition, program management, globalization/localization, underestimating technical architecture, underestimating the necessary resources, too much customization and insufficient testing.
Although these are certainly traps to take into account, it is striking that almost none of them consider the human impact.

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Do you want to be more influential? Of course you do. Everybody wants to have an effect on how others think, feel and act. If you are committed to an outcome or result, influence is something you’re interested in.

The only problem is that being influential doesn’t come naturally. In fact, you’ve probably had some experiences that started out as an attempt at influencing others that quickly turned into manipulation. The only result left was nothing but a bad taste in everyone’s mouth; to say nothing of not getting the desired result.

Better results with a small BIG

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From Windows to Yosemite

I recently bought a MacBook Air. As I have worked on Microsoft Windows laptops my entire life, I was a bit apprehensive about quickly getting the hang of the specific Mac user interface. Making abstraction of the fact that the store offers a free 3-hour training course with the purchase (which I still need to schedule by the way), the 30-minute demo given by the sales clerk in the store enabled me to start working right away.

The interactions between me – the user – and the laptop are actually quite intuitive. It does take some practice to get used to it. Sometimes, I still find myself trying to right-click to get the menu of options displayed, but this habit is quickly fading. In fact it is slowly reversing. Sometimes, I now try gestures that work on the Mac but are useless on a Windows laptop.

Why am I telling all this? Well, there is a clear parallel between my transition from a Windows laptop to a Mac and the introduction of a new system in your company. Granted, the analogy doesn’t hold completely, but the similarities are significant enough to make this comparison.

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Good or bad?

People often ask experts: “How do you do it?”. The response frequently is: “I do not know, I just do it.” When you admire the skill of the expert, you tend to marvel and would like to learn that skill as well. However, if the skill is perceived as “a problem”, you typically criticize and want to change that person’s behavior, e.g. someone who is always late. In both instances, we are talking about a skill, a habit, a comfort zone, an automated behavior. It is something that you can learn and acquire.

When my son was three, he used to throw away anything he got his hands on. Is that good or bad? In my kitchen I considered it bad. In the basketball team, he is now one of the top players. This shows that the context often determines how we perceive habits.

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People just do not want change!

The generally accepted theorem in change management is that people are change-averse. People prefer things to stay the way they are. In reality, however, there are numerous examples that prove this is not always the case. People actually seek out change, even you. You move houses, get married, have a baby, buy a new car, move to a new country, change jobs, etc.

In all these cases, you are not averse to changing your current situation. You are excited about the change and are looking forward to it. This does not prevent you from also being somewhat anxious and nervous about these changes, but the positive and motivating aspects trump the anxiety about the step into the unknown.

Would it not be fantastic if you could get people in your organization equally motivated about your change projects? Is that even possible?

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The title of this blog post is a statement of a CEO of a major retailer I worked for. He is convinced that every manager should be able to manage change, and that we do not need to invent a separate job called “change manager”.

He is right. Every manager should be able to manage change, like every manager should know how to monitor, measure, motivate, delegate, manage projects, coach, have a vision, follow up, and a thousand things more.

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Getting started is never easy. How do you start your implementation project? Unfortunately, there is no easy ‘Press here’ start button. There are numerous best practices available, but these are quite subjective. What works for one business unit can partially or even totally not work for other departments. However, actions can be adapted for your organization in order to help you in moving into the right direction.

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You are about to introduce a new project to your organization. But are your co-workers up for it? Are they ready for this kind of change? You can identify the potential risks of the successful delivery of your project by conducting a change readiness survey. We strongly recommend you using this kind of survey as we consider it to be one of the fundamental building blocks of change management – as we already mentioned in our previous article “The DNA of change management”.

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As mentioned in the previous episode “Do not underestimate the power of change management”, the true nature of change management activities is not close to the intangible, fluffy image that a lot of people still associate it with.

Our approach

At Delaware Consulting, we emphasize the tangible nature of change management by focusing on concrete activities with specific and measurable deliverables. We divide our change management approach into 3 distinct chunks of work that build on each other:

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