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Mastering the Challenges of Leading Change by H. James Dallas

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Chapter 11Institutionalize and Leverage Change

Imagine this scenario: Two companies implement the same IT system. They use the same vendors to manage the project and implement the changes. They use the same outsourcing and contract manufacturing companies. And yet, they achieve very different results. Five years out, company A has seen incredible, direct benefits from the change. Company B is struggling, hindered by the same problems the system was supposed to fix.

I've seen this happen many times, and the question becomes, how could two companies that implemented similar changes get such different results?

The answer often ends up being fairly straightforward: Company B changed the infrastructure but never changed the culture by making needed changes to processes, behaviors, organization charts, decision-making authority, and so on. Even small holdovers of the old ways can eat away at gains. For example, the ERP system we implemented at Medtronic made real-time information accessible to all. But we couldn't reap the benefits of that until we had also increased the decision-making authority of front-line people so that they could act on what they learned. Processes had to change, too. The system allowed us to increase the use of automated orders, at least in theory. But I sat down with a representative in our customer care group one day and found out that all those electronic orders were being manually reviewed before being released to the warehouse, eating up all the efficiency ...

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