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You’ve done a lot of work to get a new system for your firm in place. You’ve pinpointed the problem, you’ve found the right solution, you got buy-in, the program is finally ready for company-wide use. Now what comes next can be the toughest. Implementation and acceptance of a new process takes time and patience but with the right help, it can be a great success. 

Heather Kourcklas, President of Golden Gait, LLC recently led a helpful and in-depth webinar with us about re-engineering your firm — specifically, how to audit your operations for a healthier bottom line. During the webinar, Heather spent some time sharing her advice for tackling change management and what it takes to do it right. Keep on reading to learn Heather’s tips for getting a new system off the ground and running in three phases.

Phase 1: Talk to Your Team

A well-thought-out plan is great but if the buy-in isn't there and people are pushing against it, that great plan might not see the light of day. Your team is what allows you to do what you want at your company and they matter the most. Present your plan to your team with the goal to educate them on the why:

  • Show what you did
  • Explain what was found 
  • Set goals and objectives 
  • Share the roadmap

When firms are re-engineering, some employees may start to feel the fear of “I'm going to lose my job” or that their work will be harder because it’s different. The more you share with them and the more they understand the “why” behind the change, the better you can help alleviate that fear. To gain their buy-in and commitment to the new plan, make sure to listen to what they have to say and evaluate any and all feedback. Gather as much information as you can! Knowledge is power. There may be employees who are resistant to change, so make sure to have a plan in place to respond to these sorts of issues.  

Phase 2: Kick Off & Implementation 

Before even getting started with the implementation of your new program, Heather recommends finding a planning software or tool that can help you get organized and stay organized about what objectives need to be accomplished. Make sure to keep it as simple as you can so it’s efficient and actually used by your team. You might not need all the bells and whistles that come with some software offered, but maybe you do. It’s all about finding what's right for your company and team. This could even be as simple as an Excel spreadsheet — you just need a place to track progress and deadlines. 

Next, it’s time to identify your work breakdown structure. It could have phases, milestones, activities, and tasks like in Heather’s example below. Sometimes you won’t need to have milestones and phases — activities and tasks are usually enough. 

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If you set up your project planner in the same way as your work breakdown structure, it’ll end up being your working document that you’ll use throughout your plan for updates, adjustments, and tracking changes. Since everyone will be using it, it’s important to get it right so you can stay on track of everything. 

Other things to keep in mind while planning:

  • Identify the personnel responsible for each area/each task 
  • Create estimated deadlines 
  • ALWAYS allow for issues and problems because they happen even with the best plans in place
  • Set up cost tracking against your re-engineering budget (this is really important!)

Phase 3: Monitor Progress & Track Results 

There are no silos. Every department is a piece of the puzzle and must have effective communication and process flows with others. Human resources, accounting, and operations all impact your bottom line. Make sure throughout the process, you’re monitoring progress, including feedback from all teams involved. Doing this will help you gauge if the new program is either hurting or helping specific departments, allowing you to adjust and tweak as needed. While you track the progress of your new program, make sure to also track the progress within the work breakdown structure, again, updating any necessary setbacks that come up along the way. Heather highly recommends having weekly change management team meetings to maintain a healthy line of communication and staying on top of important issues, project plans, and project statuses. 

More Expert Advice for Healthier Bottom Lines

Heather shared a ton of other helpful pieces of advice for re-engineering your firm during the webinar. Along with her tips for tackling change management, Heather also covered: 

  • Spotting operational inefficiencies within and across departments
  • Improving communication between teams
  • Analyzing the impact of change on your bottom line

Ready to learn? Watch the full webinar.