The Hidden Harm of Organizational “Change Resistance”

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Posted by: briansittley Comments: 0 0 Post Date: April 27, 2017

Anyone who’s gone through the rigors of an ERP implementation and its associated process analysis knows something about “resistance” to organizational change.  After all, no one likes to have their world rocked, or to see the comfort or regularity of their daily lives (work, or otherwise) suddenly changed.
But change is always a part – or certainly should be – of any enterprise improvement initiative.  So here are 5 ways (according to Panorama Consulting) in which organizational change resistance “will hurt your operational efficiency if you are not adequately addressing it during your ERP implementation.”  We’ll take their points and add our commentary from experience below…

  1. Your business processes become misaligned.Resistance to change is natural, but if your team is resisting the corporate standard, “then they are instead creating their own operational reality,” which is going to create misalignment of your business processes, and defeats the entire purpose of an ERP software initiative.  A thorough analysis prior to implementation, along with healthy and ongoing discussion among all affected parties from the outset, will go a long way toward mitigating change concerns and making all participants feel like active change agents themselves.
  1. You are fostering “black market” ERP systems.“Although it may be the opposite of your intent, not addressing organizational change results in people creating their own systems and workarounds.”   It’s not for no reason that companies have multiple, redundant spreadsheets and other “silos of information” that fail to give the company the one thing it needs: a common, unified view of the company “truth.”  But when all stakeholders and team members are actively involved, they become part of the solution, and will work with you to eliminate those redundancies.
  1. End-user training is typically a mess.“When employee resistance is high, you can forget about effective end-user training. Instead of learning to use the new system, your employees will spend their time reacting to all the changes they don’t agree with, and they won’t be absorbing how they should be implementing new processes in systems and in their day-to-day responsibilities.”  In fact, training should be the end point “that finalizes all the acceptance of change that has led up to that point in the project.”
  1. Your project team will get blamed for the resistance. ERP implementations can fail when change resistance overwhelms all of management’s good intentions.  That’s why organizational change must come at the start of your project, and issues managed all along the way so they don’t turn into operational failures. 
  1. Business benefits aren’t realized. The bottom line, right?  If we simply replicate the often redundant and inefficient processes of the past in a new ERP system, will anything have really changed?  Without attention to change management, process review and improvement, the “new” system simply makes the bad old ways faster (maybe, and even then not always) but real business benefits are never realized.


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