Situation: The CEO of a service company is concerned about lost income from uncaptured billing. He has identified the cause – failure to capture extra hours that haven’t been billed – but is struggling to get employees to monitor this more effectively. How do you implement a process change?
Advice from the CEOs:
- The group presented two options for growth: bring in experienced outside people to develop additional systems to run the company, or a hybrid model using internal resources, augmented with outside expertise.
- Bring in Experienced Outside Resources: Hire an experienced outsider with a track record in your industry to design and implement the needed systems.
- Pros for this solution: the outsider will bring a fresh vision and new energy, plus the experience and know-how to make the desired changes.
- Cons: impact on current business culture. This may generate resentment among employees who can no longer make decisions on the spot and may remove a path to management for existing staff. Possible negative impact on customers who receive larger bills due to change orders.
- Hybrid Model: Outside person creates model and trains employees to implement it, then monitors the system and progress long-term. The key is to change expectations and behavior within the team.
- Pros for this solution: more opportunity for current employee participation; involves employees in the design of the system, providing better buy-in to the solution.
- Cons: as with any change, this won’t provide the full expected return. Just the fact that things are being changed impacts the efficiency of implementation. Unanticipated blocks and resistance may hinder progress – don’t be surprised by this, it is predictable.
- Implement SOPs that facilitate rapid response to change orders – starting now and with whichever option is chosen.
- Generate a pick list of all possible change orders with pre-calculated costs to guide employee choices and keep customers informed.
- Whatever solution is chosen, be sure to communicate frequently and consistently with employees to facilitate the change.