We discussed in this blog a few weeks ago the restructuring of projects (see: http://www.managementism.com/2012/restructuring-is-necessary-but-it-has-to-be-done-with-the-target-in-mind/ ). We already discussed the target setting of a restructuring project. A restructuring project is normally focused on improvements. It helps only in the evaluation of the situation. If a real change in a business model and product portfolio is necessary, we must amend the restructuring project with a change project. What is the difference between a restructuring project and a change project?
Restructuring adjusts the weak points of a company and implements improvement actions, which strengthen the weak points. These adjustments are normally implemented by the organization itself and are followed up by management. In single cases, small projects are implemented to assist the organization in implementing the defined actions. Real change in a company always requires a project structure to be implemented. Very large changes will alter the organization of a company, changing business models and product portfolios, as well as the qualifications of employees. Implementing these changes using the existing organizational structure will fail, because the organization must change itself. No organization can do this.
An independent change project can do this, however. The project team can work out solutions for organizational changes or changes in qualifications. The need for these changes can be explained without having a personal impact on the team members involved. For a change project, it is necessary to have project leaders with very strong psychological skills. The different interests of the people who are impacted by the changes must be understood perfectly. If these preconditions are not fulfilled, the change in the company will fail.
Another key to making change projects successful is explaining the necessity of these changes and why exactly the defined changes will lead to success. The better this is done, the better will be the acceptance of the company, and the fewer will be the number of opponents. Opponents can slow down the speed of changes drastically. It is necessary to convince opponents or to eliminate them. To assure that the explanation for a change is accepted, it must indicate the clear direction of the changes. For this, the management must assure consistent and clear information.
Let us summarize: If drastic changes in a company are necessary, they should be carried within the context of a change project with independent project leaders. Important during the phase of changes is consistent and clear information being provided by management.