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A lesson in change readiness

Elissa Farrow
January 15, 2013

The scene was set or so we thought
A new system was on its way

The plan was clear, the investment made
The push from leadership was ‘don’t delay’

Twelve months had passed, much money was spent
The technicians were flying high

Then I independently reviewed the project
I commenced and just had to sigh.

The people change had been forgotten
Though the technical solution was state of the art

The go-live date was looming
The staff would not know how to start

The review illuminated a common theme
Where the people change is left till last

The training they said was in the schedule
But would have to happen fast

The results of my review to the project board
Clearly outlined that an adjustment was needed

Sadly the project board focused on the delivery date and cost only
So my advice this time went unheeded.

What happened in that organisation
Was what most stakeholders remember as the ‘Big Stuff Up’

The staff disengaged and resisted
They used old systems as work-arounds with minimal take up

The benefits that glowed in the business case
Were never going to be achieved

The CEO started pointing at the board and project teams planning
Thinking she had been deceived

The Project Executive in charge was fired
Given customers and staff were leaving dissatisfied

If only they had made those few key adjustments
Focusing on people the problems could have been rectified

A focus on people and the behavioural change required
Needed to have been planned in from day one.

Bringing staff and customers along for the journey
The ‘Big Stuff Up’ would have become the ‘well done’.

Elissa Farrow
Elissa is a founder and lead consultant for About Your Transition and has extensive experience in strategic organisational adaptation design, facilitation and delivery. Elissa has supported organisations to define positive futures and then successfully transform to bring lasting benefits. She has proven adaptative capacity and can successfully transfer her skills to different contexts. In 2018, Elissa commenced her doctoral studies through the University of the Sunshine Coast. Her published research is exploring organisational adaptation to the evolving field of artificial intelligence using qualitative and participatory research methodologies. Elissa is an experienced board director and considered a thought leader in her field having won a number of national and local awards for contributing to Women in Project Management and for Change Management Research.
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