As the narrative for change takes shape, it’s important to amplify the voices sharing it. One of the easiest ways to do this is to have more voices throughout the business who are aligned and driving the message of innovation. Internal teams are going to look to key influencers for how they should react to any situation. By ensuring that those voices are promoting a message of acceptance and receptivity to the impending changes, your business will be able to accelerate past a pivotal moment in any implementation. With a culture of change acceptance in place, your teams will be primed to tackle the complexities of the project at hand.
Start every implementation by identifying who your influencers are. These are the individuals whose opinion holds the most weight amongst their peers and are plugged into critical areas of the business. Although many of these people will be understanding of the proposed change, it’s important to note that not all of your influencers will be quick to adopt the new way. Identify the loud voices of resistance and do what you can to change (or isolate) their voices to help ingrain the narrative of change across the business. If left unchecked, resistance, especially from influencers, can metastasize into a cancer that hinders progress and the overall success of the project.
Enterprise software implementations will never be perfect. The best implementations will still have their fair share of obstacles to overcome. But, having positive influencers to act as project champions and communicate priorities to their respective teams will promote alignment and support a smooth rollout of the new solution. In addition to influencers, there are critical project members that should be given a seat at the table. The 80/20 rule—80% of the knowledge is held within 20% of the people—goes into effect here. Surface these experts and involve them from the beginning. A common misconception is that the process of implementation begins at contract signature. The reality is the project begins during evaluation, when your teams architect the initial requirements for the new solution. Having these experts involved throughout the evaluation gives them an opportunity to share invaluable details about the pitfalls of the current process, help prototype the upcoming project, and feel more direct ownership over the project and its intended success.