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November 19, 2015

An unexpected IWMS implementation is hard to digest

This blog is a summary of the chapter 'People, culture and change?' taken from the book 'A quest for excellence: Guidance for CRE & FM executives implementing a global IWMS'. Would you like to read more? Find out more and click here to download the complete chapter.

When you want the support of your employees during a change, it is vital not to just push it down their throats, but to serve it in nice bite-size portions. This is only one of the parallels between successful change processes, such as software implementations, and good restaurants.

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A peek in the kitchen of the world called IWMS
When a restaurant owner strikes out on a new course, it’s important that the cook can cook the new dishes, the waiters can sell them and the guests like them. If there's a hitch in one of these components, it will affect the other components. How do you create the right balance so that the new concept becomes a success?

The implementation of an Integrated Workplace Management System (IWMS) usually takes some doing and is more than just the implementation of software. In addition to paying attention to the system, you should also pay attention to the implications for the structure, the culture and the people. These four key pillars of the organization constantly affect each other. A change in one key pillar also demands attention for the other three, so that the right balance is created.

Everything is interrelated
In previous blogs, we emphasised how important good communication is during change projects. Interventions can eliminate resistance from employees and create movement. We need these interventions, partially to steer changes in the key pillars of structure and systems. But they also need to mobilize people and are sometimes even aimed at changing the culture. Everything is interrelated, after all.

These interventions are done by and for people, they have to match the culture of the organization and fit in with what causes the resistance (having to, wanting to, and being able to). An intervention plan can help here. It provides insight into which intervention you carry out at which level, by already taking into account the moments when you expect specific forms of resistance.

Change strategies have matching interventions
There are eight change strategies you can apply. These are geared to the causes of the resistance and have matching interventions. These interventions are: negotiate, coach, convince, mobilize, train, support, plan and simplify.

Good preparation means good cooking

Back to the restaurant where the owner wants to introduce a new concept. The owner is wise to communicate the change clearly to staff and customers. After they have been convinced, the cooks and waiting staff have to be trained to actually execute the plan. Preparation is vital here, to ensure that the actual cooking process goes well too.

To steer the change process proactively in the right direction, a choice should be made for an integral approach in which the four key pillars of the organization are geared to each other. When you cook, it takes a while before the dish is ready and this kind of patience is also essential to a change project. This makes the IWMS implementation a finger-licking process.

Geert-Jan Blom
Business Consultant Planon Netherlands