Firstly I want to wish you a very Happy New Year and good luck in achieving all your goals in 2013.

The Christmas break provides many of us with a welcome opportunity to reflect on the year gone by and a chance to think about what we want to achieve in the coming year. Many of us will be thinking about what we want to do better, what we want to avoid, what we need to change. We’ll probably be setting ourselves some objectives and targets and formulating plans to achieve them. New Year resolutions if you like – although personally I don’t refer to such objectives and targets in this way because resolutions seem to be based more on hope than plans and targets. One just needs to compare how quiet your local gym is in February compared to January each year.

If you are involved in change activities this is a good time to get some momentum. It’s a time to harness that fresh energy and ambition, including that of your colleagues and it comes as a welcome change from the postponements, timeouts and at times general lethargy that we have to fight against leading up to Christmas.

The idea for this article and indeed the driver behind the title is change. The need to embrace change. The need to implement change. The benefits of change. Out with the old – in with the new.

A good example is system and process changes. Professional developers spend years and years inventing and refining systems for us to undertake processes with.  Just pick up your mobile phone or Blackberry and think of all the things you can do today from a device that fits in the palm of your hand – make calls, send and receive messages, browse the internet, take photos, play music, measure speed, find our location, pay for our shopping, play games, store documents and, and, and………………………Not only has the technology changed to allow us to undertake such activities, but we ourselves have adapted the way we go about things because it’s better for us. Would you even bother asking a child to write thank you letters for their Christmas presents nowadays? They would sooner text, email or BBM. Whether you like it or not, they do things differently now and with good reason. They’ve embraced the technology and are reaping the benefits in terms of effort, speed and cost.

So what about in the workplace? Are we doing the same? I’ve been doing some research recently into system implementations and in particular why they run into problems. It’s been quite an interesting education. One of the common themes to emerge about poor implementations is that organisations seem to fail to adapt their processes to the new system. They sometimes seem to prefer to keep their old processes and force the new system, sometimes by customizing it, to execute their work the old way.

In other words, rather than thinking ‘we can do this a better way’ the organisations have thought ‘this is how we do it, we need a system that does it our way’.  Customisations to the system then have to be developed to trick it into working in a different way to how it was intended. The problem with customisations is that the suppliers will not support them if they go wrong so not only does customisation increase the risk of the system failing, it removes the support of the people who built the thing to fix the problem too!

A friend of mine has just bought himself a new car. It performs way better than his old one, it uses way less fuel, it has all manner of gadgets and functionality to make the driving experience better and it looks stunning. It does everything he wants and more. He loves it. He wouldn’t dream of tinkering with it, adding bits to it, changing the way it functions – he wants to enjoy it, make full use of it and if something happens to go wrong he can rely on the manufacturer’s warranty to put it right. He has, however gone from a manual gearbox to an automatic. As a consequence he’s having to get used to driving slightly differently so he’s adapting – but with a big smile on his face.

New car, new system – it’s going to be different and it’s going to be better, but if you want to get the best out of it you have to accept the change and be prepared to do things differently.

Out with the old – in with the new!

December 28, 2012 at 8:15 pm
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Category: Suppliers, Uncategorized
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