BPM Change – Getting Colleagues to Come Along

Organizational change in any form, evokes much the same feeling you have when you are on a diving board looking down at the cold water below. Although you know it will all be fine in under 20 seconds after you’ve left the board, for the 20 seconds before that actually happens though, you display emotions that seem to suggest you are about to confront a most dreadful event.

The thing is, that hesitation, that sense of apprehension, is not really about diving nor about swimming. It is about those few moments when it can get incredibly jarring as your body splashes through that cold water. It shakes you up for a few moments.

Much the same way, I like to think employees really do not have a fundamental disagreement to the reasons why they need that ‘change’ that is being introduced – that new software, those process changes, those revised roles and responsibilities, those new user interfaces. It may not be any of those at all.

It may really be that ‘jarring’ effect of stepping out of one comfort zone into a new zone that they need to warm up to all over again.

With BPM, the extent of change is significant – it is not just about change in the proverbial ‘run-time’. There are change implications to the very approach right from conceptualization of the solution, stakeholder participation, design, through to roll out. And no, it doesn’t end there either!

So there definitely is some level of inertia to most every organizational change and more so for BPM related change. I had made a post on this sometime back where I had noted “change issues threaten BPM success much more than you ever cared to admit. If you really want to tackle every force adversely affecting your BPM success, you need to stand up and look at that BPM Inertia in the eye.”

And the big challenge really is what you do after you are done looking at it in the eye. 🙂

Chris Taylor posted few weeks ago a very good piece titled “Selling BPM – Three things that make the difference”. This post in fact achieved the feat of breaking my silence here, which is incredible considering the widening gaps between my posts. 🙂

The third among Chris’ ‘list of ‘things’, was “Getting colleagues to come along”. This struck a chord with me.

Chris goes on to say about “Getting colleagues to come along”,

“Your management has accepted your analysis and signed off on your business idea…but your idea is only meaningful when everyone comes along. They will follow your lead when they realize that it is in their interest to do so. Sure, management can require people to behave a certain way, but that only gets you so far. ThyssenKrupp was able to get everyone onboard by by training small groups at a time and showing them a relevant, role-based view of the world. Finance was trained on what they care about and machine operators on machine operation.

There will always be resistance to factor in. Christian describes the ThyssenKrupp Stainless method of overcoming it by saying, “We didn’t tackle the people who were most resistant, but instead focused on those who seemed open. We built a critical mass gradually.” In the end, no person likes to be an island.”


Chris’ most important point is buried in the first paragraph and could almost go unnoticed – “They will follow your lead when they realize that it is in their interest to do so”.

This, I believe is really the crux. This is the real incentive and all the arsenal you need to sell the idea of ‘coming along’. I said before, and it is worth saying again,

One key pivot that I am increasingly beginning to believe Change Management success hinges on is when everyone involved is aware and truly believes that the ‘change’ can improve their daily work life, and can indeed help them work smarter, easier and better.


What are your thoughts? Are there other equally, if not more crucial aspects you can think of?

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By Jaisundar V @ Bouncing Thoughts | February 8, 2012

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