The consolidation phase that follows the Avalanche is tough on everyone. Your people are worried about keeping their jobs—and many of them are probably already looking elsewhere. You’ve tried to introduce new processes and patch your sagging IT, but nothing’s working the way it should. Morale has bottomed out.
But look at it this way: Your business’s needs are pretty much the same during the consolidation phase that comes after an Avalanche as they were before the Tornado, when the company was a start-up; you’re just at a different conversation point. You have a different set of problems, but you’re still working with the same transformation triangle—people, process, and technology. It’s not a good time to shoot yourself in the foot, but here are three ways you might do just that.
#1. “If the back office can’t follow these new processes, maybe we need a new back office.” Keep in mind that when you introduce changes in processes, you’re not only modifying a job’s physical routines, you are also impacting individuals’ sense of their relationship to their work. The more secure they feel in that relationship, the less they will resist process changes. Don’t become so focused on new processes that will serve your company better that you forget how they may impact your staff. It doesn’t matter how valid and needed the changes are if your staff feels threatened by them.
#2. “I know my business; I don’t need to bring in a consultant to tell me how to fix it.” Reinvention or transformation can take weeks, months, or even years. It’s not easy work—and it’s not work you can expect your current team to know how to do without help. You’ll need to bring in an expert in process mapping, someone who knows how to lead the necessary conversations, while minimizing the inevitable conflicts. An expert will be able to help you make that conflict valuable and not personal so that you can get to the outcomes you need.
#3. “Our tech guy says this new system will fix all of our problems.” Don’t fall in love with shiny new IT systems that promise miracles! If you can’t be objective, then you need to make sure the people making the IT decisions can be. As Mary Logan, president of the Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation, told Modern Healthcare, “The team that does the technology assessment should not be driven by the one person who wants the shiny object.” Take the time during the consolidation phase to get everyone involved with IT who needs to be, everyone trained who needs to be, and every aspect of IT on board for your next Tornado when it comes.