Have you ever pitched a new idea or process improvement where everyone agreed, but you kept running into road blocks once you began the implementation? It seems that most everyone believes in “change” until it starts to affect them. The more you can manage or mitigate change, the more successful you will be. There are several approaches to help reduce the heartburn associated with change management. Everything from basic education to even some mild underhandedness is fair play in my book; whatever it takes to make the implementation successful.
One key approach is to leverage power. This should be executed with forethought and care. And when I say this, I mean that you really have to do your homework in order to find out who your “ace” is going to be. Don’t necessarily go straight to the CEO; that may not be your best bet. If the CEO is too busy, you may not get the attention you need when you need it. You need to find someone with horsepower who is available when you need them. Gain their support by speaking their language; if your “ace” is the CFO, your approach should focus on saving money. If your “ace” is the VP of Sales, focus on better supply. You need to “Sell” the benefits of the new process in a way that your “ace” will understand it.
I was into year two of pitching my new forecasting process and was fighting an uphill battle when I got a call from the president of the company. He had seen my presentation and had heard my pitch many times before, so I was thrilled when he asked me for a “one on one” to explain, in detail, exactly how the new process would work. I’m not sure what prompted him to ask for the meeting, but it changed everything for me. He wanted to know it all; how the current process worked, how the new process would work, when we would be able to utilize the first forecast, and what kind of accuracy was I expecting? When I left that meeting, I knew he had an intimate understanding of what I wanted to do and that I finally had my “ace”. From then on, it was clear to everyone that the forecast project was “per the president” and things became quite a bit easier…
Everyone wants sound and efficient processes; the trick is getting them to implement one with the least amount of heartburn. Having some “Horsepower” in your back pocket is essential in helping you achieve your goals.
Michael Morris CSCP, CPIM, CPF, PLS
Inventory and Planning Manager, Keyboard Division
Yamaha Corporation of America
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