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Installation versus Implementation – that is the question?

A question that is asked constantly....what is change management and why is it necessary? Most organisations want their bottom line to grow, have satisfied customers, employees to be engaged and productive and importantly, get on with work. Yet when a project is set up, there can be some common issues that arise that do not set the project up for success ie. they get stood up without the right due diligence, impact assessment conducted to understand if the organisation has the capacity to absorb the change, they tend to be approved without the right level of governance and pushed through an already an overworked and exhausted workforce.

To simplify, the real question that needs to be asked is, does the organisation want to ‘install’ a change or do they want to implement a change? Let me explain – installation is all about function, getting from a to b, usually a 'just get it done' mantra attached. It can have a technical focus, or can also be a cultural change, process change or all of the above. This usually means people are just going to be ‘told’ about the change, not engaged. From a change management perspective, the focus is ‘communicating’ when the change is to occur, with minimal ‘training’, if that.

Whereas implementation, is where you are interested in the benefits, the risks if the benefits aren't realised, how people understand and assist the process of what is indeed changing. From a change management perspective, focus is on stakeholder engagement and management, impact assessments being conducted to truly understand how the project will change existing processes, behaviours, or technical landscape.

There is ongoing consultation with all involved, communication is targeted and comprehensively organised to touch the right people at the right time, as is training, there is business readiness planning, to ensure the impacted stakeholders are ready and available to accept the upcoming go live timelines and it is clear who will take ownership of the project once it is ready to close. This is what a ‘true’ implementation should foster and is what change management is all about, it facilitates and fosters the acceptance of the change.

So if you are grappling with a lack of transparency or understanding with Leaders or Managers in your organisation about whether to apply change management, raise the question, do you want the change to be an installation? or implementation? If you are clear up front which it is, you can accommodate, plan for it and manage accordingly with stakeholders.


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