In principal, people do not want to change. They like when things in life and work improve, but for most of us the process of change is something that we try to avoid if possible. Nonetheless, changes are the daily reality of our lives.
About a year and a half ago I went through the process of implementing a change in my work environment. The existing system of work distribution among event coordinators needed to be improved, so that the requests for event management support coming from program teams would be gathered at one place to be properly summed up, standardized and later on distributed to the assigned event coordinator in the event management team.
Introducing the so-called Event Order was not an easy task. I developed a simple version to present it to the management. The first reactions were quite typical: there were questions and doubts how it will affect our work, whether it will burden us more, what is the benefit of it, will it simplify the work flow, and so on.
The easiest way to answer these questions was to present the drawbacks of the existing system: information coming from various channels to different people, uneven distribution of work among event coordinators, lack of information among crucial actors, large amounts of unnecessary e-mail correspondence, receiving information too late, and other similar problems. After comparing how the new system would benefit us versus how the existing one is functioning, I got the green light for introducing a change.
I first invited one program team with four members to test the new solution for two months. The first testing gave positive results, although some improvements were necessary. Next, jointly with the IT team we introduced an updated and more user-friendly version of the Event Order in our intranet system. In this phase, good communication with the IT expert was crucial, as he was the one to incorporate the solution in our daily reality.
The next step was the hardest one: introducing the change to the entire CEF staff. The main question for me was how to present the new Event Order in a simple and attractive way, so that it would become our regular practice. In other words, how to sell the idea to the colleagues. First, I drafted visual instructions and asked myself many times if they are clear enough for others. While preparing the presentation I thought of potential questions and doubts while convincing the colleagues about the necessity of the change. Finally, I presented the Event Order at our regular internal breakfast. The first impressions were highly positive, naturally accompanied with dozens of questions and doubts. I believe that my own initial brainstorming of potential questions was very necessary, as my colleagues raised the same questions, for which they needed answers.
Many would consider it a task completed: we had an idea, which we developed further and introduced, and apparently no further actions are needed. In fact, this is far from the truth. After the implementation of an idea comes the phase of monitoring: you need to provide user support, make sure that people use it correctly, communicate when things are not done properly, and keep an eye on the necessary updates.
Our working processes are constantly challenged. You cannot rest on your laurels, enjoy your accomplishment and believe that it will last forever. After all, changes are the engine of development…