A large, national insurance organization had established a Continuous Improvement (CI) program to ensure that all of its technology development processes were executed with regularity and rigor. A CI Leadership Council was created to provide governance and guidance to the team and drive commitment to newly defined ways of working. This team would ultimately have a full cadre of Value Stream Owners (VSOs) and Process Owners (POs). The business problem facing the team related to the need for a culture shift and a collective commitment to the broad set of disciplines, processes and tools of continuous improvement and the structure of the CI Program itself. The CI leadership team was looking for a partner that could articulate a cohesive change management strategy and communication plan, as well as help guide the CI Leadership Council’s articulation of a long-term vision and strategy.
LSA’s project work over the past thirteen years has addressed the organizational resistance often found in large strategic business and technology initiatives. The Ignite CI change management solution was designed to support the change effort for the CI Program in its entirety and, at the same time, support the specific process change efforts necessary to further mature the organization. Unless the primary focus on the overall program was impactful, however, the change support for the individual CI projects had little chance for sustainability. This program was as much a shift in culture as it was a shift to six sigma, Kanban and other lean-based disciplines. The change effort required a comprehensive approach to igniting the culture with CI champions, events, training, communications, and unbridled enthusiasm for the accomplishment of measurable results. This initial phase of the solution combined insights informed by feedback from the collective team with a top down, clearly articulated change strategy communicated and championed by the CI Leadership Council. Prosci’s ADKAR model addressed all dimensions of resistance from awareness and desire … to knowledge and ability … to reinforcement.
The overall work effort was broken into three phases, aligned to the ADKAR operating model. The initial phase of work (Prepare phase) involved an outreach to key stakeholder groups at all levels to gain insights around their understanding of and resistance to the CI program, including ways to mitigate that resistance. This work focused on a risk/readiness assessment, communication talking points, and the development of the longer-term change strategy. Following the development of a stakeholder map, interviews and focus groups were conducted with key audiences who showed on the map as highly powerful and less engaged. Detailed conversations revealed a number of barriers associated with the Ignite CI that included higher levels of recognition for individual efforts, senior level commitment to a new culture around CI, a more targeted and prioritized deployment approach around CI targets, and an effective communication strategy that highlighted success stories and promoted knowledge sharing.
Based on the insights gathered, the team developed a risk and readiness profile and drafted a set of key messages related to Ignite CI. These inputs informed a comprehensive change management strategy that would guide the team’s efforts as the CI program gained footing and became more fully instituted across the enterprise.
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