By Matthew V. Brown, Ph.D. & Jack G. Nestell
At Nestell & Associates, as highly experienced ERP practitioners, ERP researchers, and organizational change researchers, the significant value and impact of organizational culture on the success, or failure, of ERP organizational change projects is well understood. This is why we not only place emphasis on organizational culture within our implementation methodology, we also measure culture.
There is some great work that presents, suggests, and demonstrates the value of organizational culture specifically in the context of ERP organizational change success which would include: Al-Mashari, 2018; Yongyi & Ying, 2005; Shao, Feng, & Hu, 2017; Ifinedo, 2016; Altamony, Tarhini, Al-Salti, Gharaibeh,& Elyas, 2016; and Stanciu & Tinca, 2013.
In a previous post, we provided a brief typology of corporate culture because not being able to distinguish the influences and perceptions associated with ACTUAL culture could lead to project errors and possible failure.
So, what can we do to better ensure ERP project success? Just like we do for assessing and evaluating legacy and new ERP systems, we can also assess the legacy culture [ACTUAL] and the new culture [VISION] culture. When assessing any firm’s culture, the assessment begins just prior to high-level project planning. The reason for this priority is that several “alignment” issues can be addressed BEFORE a project plan is conceived.
- Alignment Pulse Issue 1. Actual level of project urgency [priority]:
- Alignment Pulse Issue 2. History of change projects [learning]
- Alignment Pulse Issue 3. Executive level of authenticity [leading]
- Alignment Pulse Issue 4. Vision Culture Translations [navigating]
- Alignment Pulse Issue 5. Behavioral-based Roadmap [charting]
5) Behavior-oriented Roadmaps
A culture roadmap is the master plan document that helps steer a large-scale enterprise-level effort. At a minimum, this document should include:
- a clear explanation of the behavioral activities where change readiness will be fully articulated and demonstrated-modeled;
- a clear exposition of objectives (with milestones) that are observable and measurable [change readiness language use and metric composition should be fully explained];
- a clear delineation of role responsibilities for each objective and milestone measures.
Such a roadmap needs to be a co-created document that has employee involvement in its composition at its heart. At N&A, we insist that our clients invest in the use of this simple tool.
There will be those uncomfortable with drafting measures that have cultural metrics which means non-numerical…it is a serious challenge (and for some a matter of faith) to accept the measuring of social and culture-based outcomes. We work to convince our clients that there are robust and consistent ways to measure, interpret, and facilitate culture change.
What we do is first help the leadership team for a project plan that requires first and foremost the identification, prioritization, and definition of their most important culture outcomes. Then we co-create a problem-solving method that will clearly measure demonstrable progress and realistic success. This is where N&A differs from all of the rest, we simply know how to reshape your culture as you employ your new technology system. This is a key capability of N&A.
One of the hidden assets that is created through this process is the meta-capability of how organizational change works around here…what I like to call culture-intelligence. A well-conceived and fully utilized roadmap will outline this new capability with reference to adaptive structural changes, leadership practices, human capital development, and new forms of compensation and reward. It can also reveal potential new capabilities and asset creation.