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There Is No Free Pass to Success

The Absence of Significant Challenges Is Not a Prerequisite to ERP Organizational Change SuccessThe absence of significant challenges is not a prerequisite to ERP organizational change success. The diligent and detailed preparation and management of all aspects of ERP organizational change (organizational culture, process, and technology) greatly reduce risk as well as save considerable time, money, and effort. However, unforeseen and substantial challenges are inherent in organizational transformation. Although clearly critical, the proactive attempt to completely eliminate potentially significant and substantial challenges is certainly not the only precursor to success. Nor is the proactive attempt to counter and eliminate any/all significant and substantial challenges a reality or a truth. This is perhaps because, by default and by definition of large-scale ERP organization change, preventing any/all significant and substantial challenges is nearly impossible.

A Common Theme to Success

There is something else that may help explain why organizations are successful enough to be considered promising practices despite significant challenges. (A promising practice organization is one which has realized success and perhaps can offer up suggestions for others to learn from). That is, successful ERP organizational change certainly was not due to the complete prevention of any/all significant challenges. Some research suggests that organizations that realize great progress and ultimate success are not successful because they can prevent all significant and substantial challenges. Organizations are often successful due to other factors and influences that determine how they approach and address those potentially significant issues when they do occur. Perhaps, ERP success is as much about the response as it is about the prevention.

Besides the complete prevention of significant challenges, many other influences may explain why ERP organizational change success occurs. ERP success does not occur solely due to the prevention of substantial and significant issues.  ERP organizational change success also occurs based on how the organization decides to maneuver through those challenges when they do occur. That is, they recognize and accept the unexpected, or expected, challenges and not just attempt to prevent them in the first place. The successful organization recognizes the realities and sets honest expectations, and then collectively they are able to navigate through significant challenges. Some companies excel at navigating through significant change and challenges and some organizations fall short. What allows organizations to navigate significant challenges, especially the unexpected, successfully?

One thing that seems clear as suggested by research-based evidence; the absence of significant challenges is not a prerequisite to ERP success. Perhaps the glue is through transformational leadership? Transformational leadership begets transformational culture. Perhaps the glue that holds success together is an organizational culture that advocates for communication, managed risk-taking, organizational learning, shares a common vision, and is aware and honest of the endeavor realities is equally important as solely trying to prevent challenges and issues in the first place?  This is one reason why as a part of your ERP organizational change effort, your culture needs to be understood. Did you know that culture “temperature” can be measured?

By Dr. Jack G. Nestell

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