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Waving "Buy-Buy" to Change

Best_Buyx2 Recently, in my commute to my client site, I thought I was seeing double. As one Best Buy store was being shelled out to make way for a new Whole Foods Market (my gastro side is giddy beyond belief), a new Best Buy store was being built right next store. What initially looked like a redundant marketing campaign was actually bridging a potential gap for electronics-seeking consumers.

Right now, I'm in the midst of managing a major software conversion for my client. They have the old software, and my job is to get them to new software. We're approaching this change like the dual-Best-Buy approach, but I don't have the luxury of making an obvious sign that points the users to one system one day and another system the next. That's where change management principles come into play.

  • First, my team and I have to assure the end users that when we switch over, they'll have a quality product. We have to build creditiblity through our testing to give them the best we can. Unlike a Best Buy shopper who can buy his or her latest iDrool at one property or another and know it will work equally well, we have to earn that assurance.
  • Second, we have to answer the never ending question of "What's In It For Me?" (WIIFM)  Unlike Best Buy customers, they don't have the option to shop elsewhere during construction. Still, they want to know how their professional lives will be affected. It's my job to make sure those messages go out.
  • Third, we have to bring them along on the journey. Where as passersby got to see one Best Buy sign go up and then the old one come down, my stakeholders will rely on me to tell them where we are in our journey and answer the age old question, "Are we there yet"?

Stephen Warrilow wrote a great piece on resistance to change about a year ago. Slightly different emphases but some great thoughts nonetheless.

The bottom line on change is how you as the change leader bridge the gap from the present to the future. Seizing the accomplishment means more than just hitting all of your milestones and staying within budget; it also means bringing the right stakeholders along for the ride.

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