Elo de Mul is the Director of Services, overseeing all customer services that the Shared Service Center of four Dutch Cities provides.
‘Looking back, a year after the change, many people are very satisfied with the change process and we did not even spent the entire budget. Our colleagues spontaneously say that they are positive about the change. The process went more smoothly than expected and their work has become more rewarding.’
The amalgamation of four service centers into one Shared Service Center was considered a challenge because of multiple locations, different ways of working, different cultures and local governance structures.
Why is change management important?
Going to one service organization with four municipalities is a big change. The municipality of Dordrecht initiated the change. Since I was the director of services, I had manage the change process. Fun, but challenging: this project was under a huge magnifying glass from the participating organizations and politics. Right from the start we were aware that we had to engage the teams in the change process. With previous initiatives, we had poor results without knowing the causes or sources of resistance.’
Structure provides tools and focus
“We had a lot of experience with change, but we had never used a structured methodology before. The Prosci method made it possible for us to tackle the change challenge differently this time. The ADKAR model is powerful tool to ensure that you as a change team are in the know of the points of attention. It provides concrete actions to manage the change as well. Focus points include: sufficient communication towards different stakeholders, involvement from the executives and our own employees in dealing with resistance. As a result, we were able to manage the change more effectively and, above all, to focus on what we needed to do. Issues can now be addressed immediately. ‘
A of Awareness
“In all new minor and major changes, we now take into account that you must always start with A of Awareness: why is the change necessary? We started to communicate early in the process and repeated the “why” question consistently. In addition, we were able to engage the executives more often to explain the purpose and necessity. They must explain the business reasons because they are also those who can take away any resistance. I find it easier now to involve sponsors internally but even externally of the organization because Prosci provided me the reasons and results from the research. It does not feel like I’m asking for a favor; I offer them an opportunity to manage the change process. For me personally, I learned from Prosci that I have to repeat things more often than I feel comfortable: the power is really in consistent repetition. ”
“We have completed the Prosci Practitioner training with the entire project team. That created a flying start, we could easily talk about the change because we had the same conceptual framework and consistent wording. You need a certain mass of people who embrace and adopt the methodology. To make full use of the methodology, we are considering to train more people. As an organization, you must really focus yourself on using the method straight from the start of an initiative. Success makes it easier, but it remains tempting to lean back in old change behavior: even change managers are just people. ”