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September Newsletter

(Vol. 1, No. 1)
Implementing ManagePro in Your Workgroup

In this Issue:

Successful Team Roll-outs; the Value of Buy-in vs. Concensus

Successful Roll-outs

If you are having difficulty getting your team or direct reports to use ManagePro donít feel alone. In consulting with a number of our customers, we commonly find executives and managers struggling to successfully implement or roll-out ManagePro. Our findings also indicate the 98% of the time the lack of success is due to people issues, not technical or configuration problems.

It seems that having a successful roll-out of ManagePro is directly related to being clear and proactive about managing two issues:

  • Gaining buy-in and understanding the value of buy-in versus consensus, and
  • Being familiar with how to successfully drive change.

Letís go over both of these issues so you know how to make them work for you.

Buy-in. You need it from both above and below you in the typical organization. You create it in two fundamental ways. First you create buy-in by uncovering the extent of the problem you are intent on resolving by using ManagePro. You need to talk about it in terms of lost dollars, lost time, lost opportunity and lost recognition. If people arenít saying some form of "Oh " by the time you finish presenting the facts, you havenít been specific enough, or you havenít cracked their denial system, or worse yet you are trying to implement a solution (ManagePro) without a problem that requires fixing.

When people donít sense either an urgency to fix a problem, or feel some level of individual or corporate pain about its existence, employing a new solution looks like an unacceptable load of extra work. It is very important that you understand that employing a software solution first starts with identifying a problem to be solved. If people are unaware of the problem or are in some form of denial about the extent of the problem and its ramifications, you must point to specific examples (i.e.details falling through the cracks) of the problem and directly challenge their perceptions. If you are struggling with an individual or group in denial about the extent of the problem, directly address their denial, and explain how that perpetuates the problemÖ because it does. Step one of generating buy-in is all about uncovering the existence and the "cost" of the problem. The more discomfort raised about the cost, the easier time you will have implementing a solution.

Step two is about demonstrating why current tools and habits are no longer an effective solution (or effective enough) and why ManagePro is. Buy-in at this level is a call to action, and you are looking for a verbal if not written commitment to act. An agreement to "check it out" is not a substitute for action, and will, in fact, ensure a failed roll out.

Action from above looks like a commitment to invest in software and training. It is also a commitment to insist (when confronted with resistance) that staff will all implement and comply with usage standards pertaining to ManagePro. More about this later. A call to action from below is acceptance from the group that they are to integrate this tool into their work process. This is a form of agreement that looks like consensus on the outside, but realistically involves people cooperating but at various points of personal buy-in. Buy-in here is agreement to fully implement a solution. Sanders spoke to this issue in a recent article stating, "Companies must have in place project management processes, must train people to use them, and must hold team leaders accountable for adherence to the processes. Only then will teams develop the consistent results needed to remain competitive in todayís market."*

Buy-in is not consensus about a solution anymore than democracy is a consensus about the right candidate. Buy-in does facilitate a team successfully implementing a common solution. Attempting to create consensus, especially when you havenít created enough buy-in (including not having fully made the implementation decision yourself), leads to watered down invitations to "give it a try." As nice as they sound, these donít work. Letís talk about why.

Appeals to consensus donít work because implementing ManagePro across a team or organization means implementing CHANGE. Owen Gadeken, in his article Third Wave Project Leadership, states, "To be truly successful, our emphasis must shift from that of project management professionals to leaders of organizational change."** 2/3ís of the world are uncomfortable with change, prefer the familiar, and resist having to do or adopt something new. Consensus and a welcoming adoption of change donít go together.

Research suggests that you get what approaches group consensus in reference to change when you have either: a) a visionary leader, or b) an immediate threat to survival. What does that mean for all of us that didnít receive an A+ in being visionary, or donít have the barbarians immediately outside of the office door? It means that to successfully roll out ManagePro, you can expect to encounter resistance ( voiced as "I donít have time." "Not one more thing to learn?" "Iím using another program/planner instead."). What it also means is that you need to expect that most people donít welcome change, but will adapt and adjust to it if a leader builds a case for change and provides the energy to drive toward the change goal.

In summary, success at implementing ManagePro across a team is a function of successfully creating buy-in and driving change in the face of resistance. Remember that the better you do the job of creating buy-in, the less resistance you will encounter, and the quicker you will move through it. If you need a boost while managing resistance, remember Henry Ford encountered quite a bit as well, but the outcome ultimately favored his persistence and not those of the eventually converted equestrians.

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