The Change Management Paradox

When we go to the doctor for a checkup, something that is good for us and we should all do, it's fairly common that most of us will hear, "you need to exercise more and watch your diet". Therein lies the paradox. We go to the Dr. for a check-up, which is the right thing to do. We listen to the recommendations intently; we know we need to exercise more; we know we need to eat right, yet we don't. That defies logic. Why? Because it's too hard or we don't have the time or we just plain don't want to. A paradox. The same thinking is applied when it comes to Change Management.


In a recent article by Swapan Jha in the August issue of "Profit Online, The Executive's Guide to Oracle Applications", Mr. Jha stated that in a recent "Aberdeen Group study, 63 percent of surveyed executives from manufacturing-intensive industries feel reducing time to market is the top driver for changing core product engineering processes. Indeed, numerous pressures are slowing down and/or complicating product development: compliance with new regulations, adoption of global teams and outsourcing, increasing product complexity, global competition and cost pressure, higher cost of quality, and customer satisfaction and loyalty. However, 54 percent of companies lack a single repository for reviewing, analyzing, approving, and tracking engineering changes across products—despite the fact that efficient engineering change processes can reduce typical product development cycles by 33 percent."


When applying this concept to the ERP industry as a whole, the paradox here seems to be that most organizations who have an ERP, be it Oracle EBusiness, PeopleSoft and others, understand the need for an effective centralized Change Management System, yet, in some cases, many are not willing to take the necessary and difficult steps to change the way they do things, or, as I like to call it, the "well we've always done it this way" syndrome, which prevents them from implementing an effective Change Management system to improve productivity and efficiencies related to the maintenance and management of their ERP systems.


Having been in this space since 1998, I've consistently been left scratching my head as to the recognition by virtually every organization with whom I've ever spoken, that they need to implement change management, but right now is just not the time. So, similar to the need to exercise and eat right, we know we need to do it. We went to the Dr. because we wanted to hear we need to do it, yet we drive by the gym and make our way to the nearest fast food place that, 2 hours later, cause us to think, "what the H-E-Double Toothpicks was I thinking when I ate that X earlier!" Had I stopped at the gym, I would've taken the difficult step to challenge myself and work hard for a short period of time that would have also encouraged me to follow up my workout with a healthy meal that would've led me to feel better and ultimately be more productive in other aspects of my life. The point being, changing one's thinking with respect to "well, we've always done it this way" is tough but, if done for the right reasons and it helps to improve results, then it's a no brainer. Why wouldn't you? More to the point, why wouldn't you proceed with logic rather than defy it? I'm just sayin'.