You may have heard the quote, “The only constant in life is change” – Heraclitus. Why then is change resistance such a powerful force? So powerful in fact, that it is necessary to develop a strong process (change management) for implementing a new process. As we are progressing in our final projects and designing possible solutions for our identified process pain points and UX shortcomings, I found myself wondering how many of these process changes will actually take root within the respective companies represented? What process will those responsible for implementation use to engage current stakeholders who may be affected by the proposed changes and therefore possibly resistant?
Asana, ranked #1 Leader in Project Management by G2 in the Spring 2021 Grid Report for Project Management, had this question in mind while developing a plan of support for launching Asana to teams. Their solution is referred to as the “Asana Way of Change.” By analyzing what the most successful teams had in common, considering the expertise of their Customer Success Managers, and incorporating proven change management strategies, they have come up with the following 6 pillars which I’ve summarized here:
- Answer “Why Asana?” by envisioning success, identifying pain points, writing a why statement and assembling the early adopters.
- Discover your NOW by deciding what workflow, process, or project you want to try out first and establishing an Asana team structure.
- Create your first project and start collaborating, remembering to encourage the documentation of time saved, problems solved, and how Asana works with existing tools.
- Enable your team and celebrate wins by providing additional training resources as well as setting and reinforcing Asana conventions.
- Get set up for future success by continuing to enforce conventions and having a plan to onboard new employees.
- Measure and expand use by reflecting back to step 1 and tracking results, communicating these results to the key stakeholders, and adding additional processes, projects, and workflows.
Change is constant; I believe that the ability to plan for and adapt with is directly proportional to success… but we all know this right? This concept pretty much goes without saying. The real question is, how practical are the above suggestions when the root of the struggle to change is company culture? There are more than a few books written about this topic so why hasn’t this issue been solved by now? According to Industry Week, there are 4 main reasons companies continue to struggle with continuous improvement:
- Leading with physical paraphernalia. – “Without the appropriate management values and attitudes, these accoutrements become just more examples of meaningless corporate flotsam and jetsam…”
- Focusing on culture rather than behaviors. – “It is easier to act your way to a new way of thinking than to think your way to a new way of acting.”
- Lack of investment. – You seldom see a commitment to investing time on a daily basis for practicing lean and solving problems.
- Poor framing. – Mindsets must include that fixing problems is a worker’s obligation and leadership’s obligation is to cherish problems and respond accordingly when they are presented.
Implementing a new change is not easy, shifting a company’s culture is even more challenging, but by focusing more on leadership mindset and desired behaviors companies can begin to intentionally shape the culture of continuous improvement that will allow them to thrive.