Change Management or creating the "PUSH & PULL" in your organization


At a recent conference I was approached with several questions regarding "Change Management" at the corporate and factory level. How did we achieve the speed of deployment and scaling of digital solutions including Augury.

First we had to adopt a paradigm shift regarding change management and the project planning process. Prior to our digital transformation, we arrived with the big project plan (with a 1000 task) and greeted the operators with a "Hi, we are from corporate change management and we are here to help you do your jobs better!". Okay, that may not be what we specifically said, but that is what operators and team leaders heard. We needed to move away from a push process and create a pull process at the operator level to succeed. This required changing our approach early on in the project:

  1. Project creation and planning was completed with operator and team leader guidance thru a series of on-site meetings to ensure we were solving the right problem and creating the right project plan.
  2. Once a simplified project plan (inclusive of meeting cadence and success metrics) was completed, ownership of the plan was moved to the factory team. We moved back into a support and coaching role addressing any vendor, technical or resource issues the team had with moving forward.
  3. Regardless of project success or failure, we celebrated the efforts of the team. We were very public about the recognition. If the project was successful, we looked to the team leaders and operators for what they would change going forward. If the project was not a success, we immediately asked what the team wanted to try next as the problem obviously had not gone away.

What this created was a "pull" by team leaders and operators to expand successful projects at a faster pace or requesting to lead the next project pilot. Our biggest issue was keeping up with the level of demand.

On corporate side, we had a regular report out of all projects (Status, success, escalations, etc). If a project was successful, we often found ourselves being pushed by the Corporate Stakeholders to accelerate the roll-out or scaling of the digital tool. Since they controlled our budget and resource allocations, we were able explain what was needed to accelerate and they could determine if additional funding or reprioritization of other projects was needed to support there desired outcomes.

For our Digitial Manufacturing team, this was scary! We are being pushed from one side and pulled from the other. Our answer was to always look to our strategic partners (digital Software vendors) to aid in this resource constraint. Fortunately for us, all our partners were at the ready to accelerate our implementation.

As I continue to speaking with others is the industry, I am am very interested in how others have performed change management (successful and unsuccessful). Would any of you being willing to share with the community your change management approach?

Thanks in advance for sharing.