Leading Change and Process Re-engineering
- Focus on the Fundamentals!
by Rick Sidorowicz

Major initiatives in change management and business process re-engineering can quickly become sidetracked if the 'champions' of the effort become overly preoccupied with ‘quick wins’ and short term ‘hits’. A focus on the fundamentals of re-design is the imperative, to keep the change effort on track to the longer term strategic objectives.

‘Quick wins’ can indeed generate enthusiasm for the initiatives, and are an important facet of a carefully managed and executed change effort. Demonstrated improvements and tangible results are important in engaging individuals in the processes of change, and in keeping the effort focused on the achievement of key business priorities. ‘Bottom line’ impact builds credibility for the effort and can instill confidence in the team to have a positive impact and indeed ‘move the action’ forward. 

There is danger however, if the focus of the effort shifts to the short term, especially where organizations are struggling and desperate for short term improvements in their bottom line. A preoccupation with ‘picking the low hanging fruit’ can easily fall into disarray and accelerated mindlessness, characterized by superficial analyses of the important interrelationships of business processes and activities, and ‘railroading’ under the guise of process improvement. In highly ‘political’ cultures the change effort may often be perceived by the leader or ‘champion’ as a quick career hit, and the initiative will often reflect this bias to short term impact and superficiality. 

The work of changing organizations and process re-engineering is not easy. It is work in which knowledgeable individuals carefully examine the fundamental ways in which business gets done and carefully craft new and more appropriate processes, activities, roles, and relationships to support the achievement of new business imperatives. 

How can you ensure your re-engineering effort stays focused on the fundamentals?

Deal with significant business processes!
Focus on fundamental processes with significant long term competitive advantage. ‘Pick the low hanging fruit’ as you go but keep in mind our task is to triple the yield next year. 

Deal with the processes that are critical to your customers!
The ‘business’ processes that significantly enhance your capability to ‘win’ in the longer term.

Select your ‘champions’ with care!
The mandate for the effort is not to ‘feel good’ or ‘look good’, but to ‘do good’.

Get the right people on the project!
Dig down deep and assign the most knowledgeable resources to the effort. Involve those who live in it everyday. They have the grasp of the detail and will often astound you with their insights.

Manage the process!
Select, approve, intervene, direct, clarify, focus, teach, lecture, demand - do whatever it takes to ensure that the right thinking takes place. And be leery and skeptical of the ‘quick wins’ in a very serious and long term ‘game’.

Rick Sidorowicz is the Publisher and Editor of The CEO Refresher and
the Minister of Culture of High Performance Retail.

Many more articles in Leading Change in The CEO Refresher Archives


Copyright 2000 by Rick Sidorowicz. All rights reserved.

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