8 Steps to Implementing Change, with Jennifer Dayce and Brooks Parker

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AccountingWEB Workshop: November 21, 2000
Presenters: Jennifer Dayce and Brooks Parker, Professional Development Consultants
Results Accountants' Systems

Session Moderator: Today we are happy to welcome Jennifer Dayce and Brooks Parker of Results Accountants' Systems.

Jennifer Dayce has a Masters in Human Resources and Organization Development from the University of San Francisco. While employed at Ford Motor Credit Company, where she worked for six and a half years, she facilitated trainings such as "Getting Back to Basics", "Effective Communication," and "Diversity Awareness." While at Ford, she always strived to look for opportunities for improvement. The challenge to create a process to exceed customers' expectations and increase profitability has always been invigorating to Jennifer. It was this determination that allowed her to create a process improvement document saving the company over $50k a year. It was this same determination that led her to RAS, where she is dedicated to helping accountants reach their full potential.

Brooks Parker is a native of Boston, and he studied Marketing Communications at Plymouth State College in New Hampshire. This enhanced what he learned as co-founder and owner of The Parker Twins Co. Brooks and his twin brother founded the company back in 1993 and built a well-established business that served hundreds of satisfied customers. They developed a systematized approach, which increased yearly revenue and delivered value-added services to their client base. After a six-month adventure, driving across 30+ states from Boston to the San Francisco Bay Area, Brooks found himself loving the Bay Area so much that he hasn't been home since. Now that he's a team member at RAS, he enjoys working with both his team and yours. Having common business sense through both the successes of his company and by achieving his undergraduate degree in marketing, he accepts the challenge of turning your business into a more successful one.

Welcome, Jennifer and Brooks!

Brooks Parker: Well thank you and welcome everyone else!

Jennifer Dayce: Thank you! Hello everyone!

Brooks Parker: First, before I begin, I'd like to thank everyone for taking the time to attend. We have a lot of material to over so let's get started. Before I dive into the material, does anyone have any immediate questions for either Jennifer or myself regarding today's main topic?

OK so today's main topic is on Leading Change and we'll address ways in which you can over come that change with your clients, as well as with your team.

Today's agenda is as follows!

1. Why Talk about Change?
2. The 7 Dynamics of Change
3. Techniques for Reducing Resistance to Change
4. The 8 Steps to Implementing Change
5. Change and Your Clients
6. Close with some suggested reading

Jennifer Dayce: Change is inevitable. Why is it so important to be prepared for it?

Brooks Parker: Some of today's material will be derived from John P. Kotter. For those who aren't familiar with John's work, he's a Professor of Leadership at the Harvard Business School in Boston, Massachusetts.

Before we begin today's chat we need to understand why it's important to talk about change. Change is an organizational reality and handling that change is part of every manager and/or leader's job. Without change, tomorrow would be no different than today.

Most small businesses remain small, or ultimately fail, because of refusal to change. By embracing new systems, change can greatly enhance productivity, team, owner delight and the overall value provided to clients. It's also important to note that change does not mean revolution.

Jennifer Dayce: Does anyone have any comments on why we should be addressing the urgency on preparing for change? What are some of you doing to handle change?

Mark Guercio: Partly because without a plan-- implementation is doomed to fail??

Jennifer Dayce: How do you plan for change?

Brooks Parker: Let's review the 7 Dynamics of Change so you can become familiar with the change process and how to manage it. But first it's important to understand that some people really want to change. Others may see the need to change but don't yet want to or are afraid to. So let's think of the people within your organization that may be opposed to change. Make a note of those people so that you can think about how you can use the information on today's chat to help them through this process.

Let's visit the 7 Dynamics of Change as it illustrates the feelings people will experience during the change process.

  • People will feel awkward, ill at ease and self-conscious
  • People will think about the sacrifices that they need to make
  • People can only take so much change
  • People will be concerned that they don't have enough resources (time, money, and skills)
  • Jennifer Dayce: Has anyone experienced any of these so far?

    Brooks Parker: Any thoughts from the group?

    Brooks Parker: It's important to realize that these feelings are not only natural, but in many ways necessary.

    Mark Guercio: Yes resources to finish a project often aren't available as the changes are mostly technological today.

    Brenda Richter: Non technological changes are harder to deal with

    Jennifer Dayce: Brenda, how are non tech changes harder to deal with?

    Brenda Richter: Technology has been changing rapidly over the last five yrs or so - most people are used to that. Changing the attitudes or corporate culture (a.k.a. habits) of people is much harder than buying a new computer

    Jennifer Dayce: Why do you think there is resistance?

    Mark Guercio: a lot of it may stem from re-assignment of work due to work flow changes resulting from change

    Jennifer Dayce: What are some attitudes that you and others are experiencing in the resistance to changing?

    Brooks Parker: Let's touch on some Techniques for Reducing This Resistance to Change:

    Education and Communication: Resistance can be reduced through openly communicating with Team Members to help them see the logic of change. This can be achieved through one-on-one discussions, memos, group presentations or reports.

    Brooks Parker: Participation: This is where we suggest you involve your Team Members in the proposed changes at the outset. Before a change is introduced, those who are opposed to it can be brought into the decision process. Involve the Team in the decision making process-people will rarely reject their own ideas.

    Negotiation: Another way is to exchange something of value for a lessening of the resistance. For instance, if the resistance is centered in a few powerful individuals, a specific reward package can be negotiated that will meet their individual needs.
    Jennifer Dayce: Has anyone tried doing this and what was the feedback like?

    Brooks Parker: Any ideas as to how this could be done?

    Mark Guercio: Possibly by letting major resistors become part of the process?

    Jennifer Dayce: Good point Mark. So would you say because the industry is changing that new tasks and duties will be assigned to team members and they could resist doing the new duties

    How would you let major resistors become part of the process?

    Mark Guercio: Because often lone resistors are decision makers... and project won't get needed resources without approval

    Brooks Parker: Thank you Mark excellent point!

    Jennifer Dayce: Why is an excellent idea to get buy in from the team that is resisting the change?

    Debra Banach: Status quo is often easier; finances might also have to be considered

    Jennifer Dayce: How would you consider finances?

    An excellent 3rd party resource is John Kotter's Harvard Business School CD, "Realizing Change" if you'd like to invest in it (you can find in our RASTOWN online store). This next section draws on Kotter and his research of leading companies around the world. Through this research he has highlighted 8 steps the most successful companies implement to lead the change process. The following steps may require a total of 3-5 years of continued effort, so keep this in mind as we review these eight points:

    Jennifer Dayce: Does anyone else have any feed back as to why people resist change?

    Brooks Parker: Let's get into the 8 steps.

    Step One: Is to establish a Sense of Urgency:

    Does anyone know why we should make it urgent? Introduce a crisis to get people to react! Be sure to set high goals and lift your goals so that you always need to go one step further. Hear from the dissatisfied, so get feedback from your team members and customer's. Remember to celebrate wins!

    Jennifer Dayce: How can introducing a crisis get people to react? Have any of you tried this?

    Brenda Richter: Everybody rushes to put out a fire

    Jennifer Dayce: Absolutely!

    Dave Jongleux: What if it's not a crisis but it is a change that you would like to see happen? How do you "manufacture" the sense of urgency?

    Jennifer Dayce: Dave good point!

    John Morrell: Put it on a very short timeline, with measurements, and then measure and hold people accountable

    Mark Guercio: I've often gotten financing for critical projects by emphasizing the cost of NOT buying in.

    Jennifer Dayce: That's it Mark. Showing what would the results be if it were not done

    Also, John made an awesome observation of measuring the project. "What you can't measure, you can't manage"

    Brooks Parker: Get feedback from your team as to why it's important! A good question to ask is what impact will the change bring. Is it worth it? If so, it's crucial you act on it!

    Jennifer Dayce: Managing change is crucial

    Brooks Parker: Step Two: Create a Guiding Coalition:

    Identify a Team with enough influence at all the right levels-Bring in those who may be opposed to change. Establish a reward mechanism! This does not necessarily have to be financial it could simply be acknowledgment. Complete an implementation schedule to distribute to all team members. Delegation can be a powerful tool!

    Jennifer Dayce: Brenda said that everyone rushes to put out a fire. This goes into the next point of building a coalition. Has any tried doing this when they discovered resistance to change?

    Brooks Parker: Has anyone experience difficulties with the team buying in?
    Dave Jongleux: We have. One team member feels very threatened by any change.

    Brooks Parker: How did you deal with that Dave? Was the change unrealistic or a reasonable goal?

    Dave Jongleux: Lots of one on one support and pointing out the benefits.

    Jennifer Dayce: Good Dave! Many times when people don't see the benefits they can cope with the change.

    Mark Guercio: We have one person on our team who equates change with loss of control... a big hurdle sometimes

    Jennifer Dayce: How did you handle that?

    Mark Guercio: Give delegation responsibility to that team member, restore sense of control.

    Jennifer Dayce: Have you or anyone else thought about establishing a reward mechanism to get these type of team members to embrace the change?

    Brooks Parker: Step Three: Developing a Vision and Strategy

    Create opportunity so that team member feels important and has more responsibilities.

    Project 10 years ahead-Where do you want to be? Make this part of your vision. Begin with the end in mind. Draft a "useable" Vision that you can explain easily. A good vision describes a picture of the future. It compels team members to act. It should be realistic, focused, flexible and is easy to communicate. What will the business look like when it's finally done?

    Who has a vision and does it fit these criteria?

    Jennifer Dayce: That's important, if the team doesn't know where they are going, then how will they get on board and embrace the change?

    Brooks Parker: Step Four: Communicating the Change Vision (Turning the Vision into Reality)

    Some guidelines for communicating the Vision within your Firm are: repeat it often, keep it simple, use different channels, walk your talk, be consistent and listen to your clients and team members. We suggest you have team members and your clients have said as to what your vision should say!

    Jennifer Dayce: What are some things that can assist in reducing change just by sharing your vision? Has anyone tried this?

    Mark Guercio: Yes it sets the goal.. keeps project on track

    Brenda Richter: A shared vision lets the whole team know where you're going

    Jennifer Dayce: Good point Mark and Brenda

    Brooks Parker: Thank you Brenda but it also gives the team a sense of how they fit in with the businesses corporate strategy.

    Step Five: Empowerment to Act on the Vision

    Get rid of obstacles. Change systems and/or structures that undermine the change Vision. Encourage non-traditional ideas, activities and actions that support the change vision. Think outside of the box!

    Any thoughts on our topic of vision and why it's important when trying to implement the change process?

    Jennifer Dayce: Having a vision will allow you to describes a picture of the future and keeps everyone focused.

    Brooks Parker: Step Six: Generating Short-term Wins

    It gives you time to catch up and it creates an opportunity to fine-tune your plans. By generating these wins, it keeps the Team and Partners on-board. It also builds momentum to go to the next step. Remember celebrate your wins!

    Step Seven: Consolidating Improvement and Producing More Change

    Highlight the successes your firm has achieved as a result of the change. Use successes that support the change Vision. Use successes to justify an investment in the future such as hiring and developing new Team Members.

    Jennifer Dayce: Why would anyone want to produce more change?

    Brenda Richter: Synergy

    Brooks Parker: Ah, Steven Covey's book! I believe the 7th habit?

    Jennifer Dayce: What are some ways to produce more change?

    Mark Guercio: By objectively observing the effectiveness of past change..

    Jennifer Dayce: Good Mark!

    Brooks Parker: How about team member's feedback on to WOW your clients!

    Step Eight: Embedding New Approaches in the Culture

    This is merely the way we do things. Remember to "think outside the box!"

    Any questions regarding the 8 steps to implementing change?

    Mark Guercio: At what point would observations be made to ensure the change is still what everyone thought it would be?

    Jennifer Dayce: Mark, those past changes would have identified and aid in developing some type of procedures and processes that keeps businesses running

    Does anyone have any comments to Marks question as to when observations are made to ensure change is important?

    Brenda Richter: Measuring is an on going process

    Jennifer Dayce: That's it Brenda! Why would you want to measure change as an ongoing process?

    Brenda Richter: If you set a monthly sales goal you don't wait until the end of the month to see what happened.

    Brooks Parker: Let's quickly touch on How you implement change with your clients!

    How about once you have achieved your vision.

    Session Moderator: We just have a few minutes left - if there are any other questions for Jennifer and Brooks, please post them now!

    Brooks Parker: There are a number of great books available on the issue of Leading or Managing Change. We recommend you add the selections in the list below to your bookshelf as they emphasize on today's topic. You can find and order all of these books from Amazon.com, which you can access via RASTOWN.

    “Harvard Business Review on Change.” This book contains a collection of HBR Articles & Case Studies on Change Management. Harvard Business School Press, Boston USA, 1998.

    “Dealing With People You Can't Stand: How to Bring Out the Best in People at Their Worst”-Rick Brinkman, Rick Kirschner

    “Built to Last”-James Collins

    ”From Worst to First”-Gordon Buthune

    “Managing for Results”-Peter F. Drucker

    Drucker is, for many, the absolute "guru" of management authors. This is one of his best, and a no-nonsense look at getting results through people and systems.

    It's important you realize the importance of this material and act upon this process of Leading Change. If no one is driving the process it won't go anywhere. So appoint someone to drive it, then allow them the time to do that role justice.

    Jennifer Dayce: Ok. Would you say that measuring has kept you on focused to where you want to go? Brooks has identified some really good books to read to assist in reducing change

    Brooks Parker: Have monthly meetings to track performance!

    Session Moderator: Any other questions, comments?

    Jennifer Dayce: As stated earlier, when you set goals high you will have that urgency in place and other will see the importance of reaching them

    Session Moderator: We really want to thank Jennifer and Brooks for a great workshop! And thank you to all of you who attended today! The transcript of this workshop will be posted later this afternoon on our site.

    Brooks Parker: I thank everyone for attending today's chat and I hope you gained value from today's topic. Remember, change does not mean revolution! It is difficult to change but remember to celebrate those wins!

    Brooks Parker: Good bye from Results' Accountants Systems and have a great day!

    Jennifer Dayce: Good bye!

    Workshop sponsored by: Arthur Andersen

    Arthur Andersen

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