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, that kicked off this series, 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. Behavioral-based Roadmap [charting]
- Alignment Pulse Issue 5. Vision Culture Translations [navigating]
Alignment Pulse Issue 3: Executive level of authenticity [leading]
We mentioned earlier about how a sense of urgency is a necessary success factor. It is also a baseline critical change readiness metric.
Another critical metric is executive modeling or what we at N&A call, Leader-authenticity. Leader authenticity is a daily demonstration of the VISION culture which means the top-leaders most know [implicitly and explicitly] how to translate planned change into visible, tangible behaviors. These behaviors need to reflect through word and DEED how the culture that they have committed to developing will indeed manifest.
Whatever the new leadership behaviors ARE…they are the new culture. This is where executives must collaborate and hold each other scrupulously accountable (Dawson). One way to think about how to do this is to make decisions and communications transparent with an emphasis on their connection] to the collective vision culture values and goals. This is no easy task, but we know that if the leadership does not embrace the effort in a strong collective way, or perhaps fails to fully articulate and model the new culture, then failure will come quickly and painfully. Authority devolves swiftly when an organization perceives its leaders are not authentic and act in overtly hypocritical ways.
At N&A, and what sets us apart, is our attention [and skill] devoted to serving the executive cadre in their attempt to model authenticity. We have assembled some of the most experienced culture development professionals in the ERP organizational change arena.