How to let it go – Embracing the Change
Automating manual or complex processes can involve substantial organisational change. Be it the efficiency saving which allows you to save on staff costs, or the increase in effectiveness which allows your team to reach even more supports with the same effort.
Our previous article, From Manual to Automatic talked about some of the advantages and gave an example where change was going to be particularly tough.
This article is a series of small tips on how you can make the process a little less imposing and allow the change to be embraced.
Be honest with yourself and your staff
Acknowledging that there is, in all of us, an element of not wanting to let go – a fear of the unknown and the natural response to hold on to whatever control we have is perhaps the most important first step. It allows us to be prepared for when we are confronted with the unknown so we can accept it and choose the right path forward.
Take small steps
There is nothing so daunting as standing at the bottom of a mountain and facing the prospect of having to walk all the way to the top. If we break the journey into bite size chunks, each is attainable on their own and all lead upwards. Don’t try to automate everything in one go. Choose some small and less consequential things to automate first and allow those small successes to build your – and your team’s – confidence for the larger ones.
Identify your support network
It is generally the responsibility of managers to decide what to automate and how to do it, but that’s not to say that they don’t need support from their peers and senior managers. Certainly we CRM experts are here to be leaned on and provide advice and support. Either way, it will be helpful to know who is willing-and-able to support your efforts to make positive changes – and who isn’t!
Following breaking the process of automating elements into small steps, ensure that there is a plan for each and every one. Even if the plan is to do nothing about it for the foreseeable future, it is imperative that it is captured and acknowledged. Plan for success and plan for failure. Expect that some supporters will complain and/or stop supporting but have faith that the changes actually allow your organisation to reach further and achieve more by freeing up time, money and resources that can be put to good use elsewhere.
Beware of the illusion of effort
The letting go and trusting of a machine to do something that previously took half a dozen people a full day to do can appear to be a big leap of faith. Especially when the system can then process it within an hour or so. The difference in time and effort can be disconcertingly large. Don’t let it fool you – just because something previously took huge effort and much time to do, doesn’t mean it still has to once it’s been automated.
It was fairly easy to see how, in the first part of this pair of articles on automating processes, the technology could radically help the organisation, but it is also a good example of how a CRM can uncover technological, process, organisational and even managerial change needs. Be open to it and consider the above steps to help keep on top of the changes and remember to keep the end goals of the project in sight.
One last thought to ponder over your next cup of tea: Planning does not equal preparing.
About the author
Ben White is a specialist CRM consultant and owner of Rescue CRM with over 10 years of cross-sector and system experience implementing, fixing, relaunching and replacing CRM and related systems. Ben spent 3 years at Blackbaud in the enterprise team as a consultant and engagement manager implementing Blackbaud CRM and Raiser’s Edge.