Chief Financial Officers are unanimous in declaring that the conduct of change (also called transformation project management) has become for them an indispensable skill related to the management of a project. The human aspect is obviously decisive in driving change. Not applying a few key principles often condemns the project to be a total or partial failure.
Change management: A Challenge for 95% of Chief Financial Officer
According to a study conducted by the firm Columbus Consulting in the first half of 2015, change management constitutes 95% of CFOs a strong or very strong issue.
They are of course called to drive the change within their function, for example: digitization of contents, dematerialization of invoices, optimization of a financial process, implementation of an ERP coming to modify the working methods, merger of the teams after an acquisition
The general management also asks them to conduct a project outside their scope, particularly when it is linked to economic performance: BFR reduction project, change of economic model
What are the keys to help you in your role as a Driver of Transformation?
- Obtaining the explicit support of senior management is a sine qua non condition for success in driving change. Only this support will unite the various actors, some of whom might otherwise be recalcitrant.
- Build a team of actors for change, bringing together expertise and leadership. It is a mistake to wait until everyone is convinced to move forward. To move forward, the driver of change must rely on convinced people with whom he will team.
- This does not prevent it from recognizing and accepting resistance to change. It is not a question of ignoring or opposing those who are against change, but of understanding their reasons, of continuing to communicate with them, and of conveying a positive vision. This is the only way for them to come together at some point in the change.
- Knowing how to play on different time horizons by combining a clear long-term vision of the expected medium-term benefits of change and creating successes in small, intermediate steps.
- Many projects will only be completed after several months. Communicate on the duration of the project a coherent and objective vision of the expected benefits of the project even if we have not yet found the means to achieve it. The project often has a winding path; the actors go through phases of enthusiasm but also discouragement and doubt. For this reason, the driver of change must regularly remind these objective benefits expected so that the players do not let themselves be dominated by a possible sense of discouragement.
- Even if the project is going to last a long time, it is essential to look for quick results, to create small victories , to communicate on it with your team to keep it motivated, to transmit energy to it. This leads to fragmenting the project by creating intermediate steps. Seeking long-term efforts without communicating short-term results would certainly demotivated actors.
- Implement persuasion techniques: Make desirable the expected result by showing interest in the business. Conversely, dramatize the consequences in case of inaction; transmit a sense of urgency in relation to the achievement of expected results. People often wait to be back to the wall to act.
- Solicit his team by organizing creative sessions. Setting an ambitious goal further stimulates the search for new solutions.
- Give yourself the right and give explicitly the right to the actors of the change to carry out experiments which will not succeed for sure, the important thing is to try, to draw officially the lessons of these tests to better rebound then.
- Avoid shouting victory too quickly, which would also demotivated the players, it is important to keep a cool head.