The Politics of Change Management

The Most traveled path in Change Management Journey

Visualize this:

  • Omega Rubber Co. decides, after a lot of analysis, that they need to implement Workday as the new HRMS since the old system is outdated and cannot take care of current needs.
  • CHRO agrees and asks the team to prepare a Business Case and put a request in the next year budget for a large sum.
  • During the budget exercise, CFO says we can implement but the full amount is too large and they need to cut the budget. CHRO has kept some room and agrees to go ahead promising to be prudent and lean.
  • CIO says he is happy to support but HR Function will need to take on the cost of additional resources deployed by CIO on this project. CIO expects IT support to be much higher after looking at the plan. Also, since Finance function is working on SAP, he wants to keep consistency and ease in data management, upgrades, service cost etc. He wants the team to deploy SAP and not Workday.
  • In the meantime, Corporate and Holding company Omega Group initiates a project on HRMS and they are about to finalize the solution, that will be deployed. Everyone in all group companies will be mandated to follow the same solution.
  • Since a lot of work has been done by Omega Rubber, it is decided that the pilot will start from company X and they will be the showcase to the rest of the group.
  • Things start to warm up and project starts with communication, project charter, team meetings, requirement gathering etc.
  • CEO of Omega Rubber has a high probability of becoming the Omega Group CEO and she is working hard towards ticking all the boxes. She wants to bring the project timelines forward and starts to put pressure on CHRO to expedite the project Go Live.
  • Project team in the meantime is working very hard, sign-offs are tough to get but they continue to push the project forward.
  • In the meantime, real users from HR, employees and people managers start to complain that their needs are not being met with the solution agreed upon and they do not see the solution delivering the results they wanted out of this change.
  • The project goes Live, success dinners, awards and coverage in the internal magazine with great communication and praise follows.
  • Fast forward 12 months and you find usage and penetration of this new system at 30% and most modules not being used.

Does it sound familiar? Have you seen these symptoms or part of these in your current or past organization? No wonder almost 70% of ERP and large scale Change Management interventions fail. This is not only about ERP systems but you will find this happening in many Change initiatives.

About 70% of Change Initiatives Fail and the numbers are not getting any better.

Internal Politics is not always about throwing someone under the bus, many times it is also about healthy debate, real push back, keeping interest of the organization ahead of everything or those simple challenges of Matrix Organization structure. I hear many job seekers talking about the current organization being a political organization and hence a change.

Simple challenges of Matrix Organization structure may also look like Politics to many people.

We will do a deep dive on this topic of “Politics of Change Management”. I am writing a Series here on “Politics of Change Management” and will write multiple short stories, real examples and success stories. Follow me, if you are interested in keeping an eye on these real stories where I may have to change the names of the companies or people involved. I will share tips and tricks that I have seen working as well as failing. In the meantime, do share your story.