This latest blog is being shared before an upcoming joint presentation with the Construction Management Association of America’s (CMAA) Southern California Chapter on March 1st. Owners will be discussing their experiences going digital, in this case, using the CIPO Cloud construction program management software.
Implementing change, such as a new software solution to manage an Agency’s Capital Program, is not a simple task. Deploying the “right” technology at the appropriate time to deliver measurable results is only one part of the process. Yes, this is the “umbrella” to which we created CIPO. However, we want to discuss some of the common issues with organizational change and assist the Owners with a greater understanding of the issues you may face when increasing efficiency and accountability with a solution like CIPO. So let us begin.
Change must occur. Change is inevitable. Even an organization that has been around for 50, 60, 70 plus years must continue to change or face the harsh realities of becoming stagnant and behind the curve. The question isn’t if but when.
The best response occurs when change is planned and built into the culture.
The people within each Agency or Organization must drive change and promote the benefits of change, or the Agency will feel the stress of the situation. Staff will negatively react to new efficiencies. We’ve seen firsthand where the team considers the immediate impacts of what CIPO can do for their workgroup, and their initial reaction is, “will we still have a job?” Improving efficiency does not mean people will be expendable. It means the Agency can do more with less.
Hasn’t this been the engineering and construction management industry trend over the past decade? Consultants are expected to do more with less and lean in their approach and pricing. Agencies are forced to do more with less when retirees become an issue, and staffing with new talent becomes difficult. Thus, all sectors should welcome change as a positive.
A key pitfall for most organizations is a lack of transparency in the process. Staff wants to know management’s thoughts on the entire process. How will the change affect their current position? What are some of the firm’s positives from the change? Do your homework and prepare to be honest with your team. Also, get the organization’s critical leaders involved.
Find those change agents in your organization for whom the staff will carry the heavy water. Employees want to see leadership engaged and invested in joint efforts. Executive involvement shows that a clear plan is in place.
On the heels of transparency and pushing change in the culture from a top-down position comes communication. With the advent of technology, accurate communication in the workplace has taken a backseat. Common communication issues are relying on email to broadcast your information.
So much with the essential details, feelings, culture, emotions are lost in digital correspondence. Emails have become a reliable form of broadcasting information to staff; however, it lacks everything necessary for organizational change. We must stress that your organization will fail without multiple avenues for projecting the positives and negatives for change.
Make a communication strategy a crucial part of your change. Who will be the Champion? Who will present the information the best? There are so many factors involved in proper communication that this one paragraph will not do justice. But consider how your message is developed and sent when considering implementing change.
Without ruining our future speaking engagement with CMAA, we will leave you with one final issue: implementation.
We cannot stress enough to manage your expectations right out of the gate. While we intentionally created CIPO to be a turn-key, out-of-the-box application, we are not without the pains of implementing the change.
We are cognizant that few changes cause as many headaches for people at all levels of an organization as implementing technology. Staff may have been utilizing a system for decades and are now expected to switch gears and modify processes and procedures upon which they’ve built their careers. But new equipment, tools, and workflows change the way everyone works which requires a well-directed plan.
Throughout our history with implementing new Agencies, most do not put a plan in place that does not disrupt or significantly decrease productivity instead of increasing it, ultimately leading to frustration with both sides of the implementation team. Managing the expectations of staff is paramount. The need or design to get new technologies, processes, and procedures up and running fast and perfectly must be managed.
One key factor we’ve seen with implementing our software to one central Southern California Agency has been a phased roll-out. By introducing new technologies over weeks or months, you can overcome most of the issues presented—build-in extra time for testing, which will allow more time to weed out the problems before going live. Allow the Champion to provide weekly updates that must remain positive.
At CIPO, we try to offer multiple training opportunities to get the most out of training. We typically avoid the standard one-off training session approach where firms will naturally speed through the session just in hopes of collecting that structured payment. Instead, we plan for several sessions and provide opportunities for staff to attend more than one, thus empowering the team to become comfortable with the new software.
These few issues and many more will be discussed at our future engagement with the CMAA Southern California Chapter on March 1st.
If your firm has been flirting with the idea of making positive changes to your Capital Program and want to learn more about what we’ve experienced and how we can work together to implement better, we encourage you to attend. And at the least, please get in touch with us. Let us share our stories with you and assist you on your journey to improving upon what your firm has built. Become that coveted change agent for your organization.