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Here’s one definition of Business Readiness. It’s a bit long, please bear with me or skip it to get to the good stuff.

“Business Readiness is a term designed to describe the process of controlling any business change, by ensuring employees and management teams are able to efficiently and safely move from one mind set or environment to another.” Capita

I define Business Readiness as:

Ensuring successful change by engaging people to minimise disruption and distress

Definitely no ‘control’ of people and their mindsets!

Business Readiness enhances all projects, all technology introductions. You can call it Employee Readiness, Community Readiness, Patient Readiness, Supply Chain Readiness, etc.

Who helps the business prepare for change?

Even when part of the same organisation, the gulf between business and project can be huge. Business Readiness sits between them, advocating for both or – at worst – mediating. An individual or team can manage Business Readiness. Their roles and responsibilities depend on the size of the gulf.

Appoint your Business Readiness leader outside the project and your sponsor’s business function to gain a fresh perspective. A consultant, contractor or agency also brings experience and impartiality.

Regardless of the relationship between business and project, Business Readiness must be:

  • Transparent
  • Respectful
  • Flexible
  • Persuasive

Transparent

Excellent communications translate business, process and technology speak into compelling stories. They present the need for change, destination, goals and impact on people. And they do it continuously and consistently. Each time updating information, answering questions and adapting the project implementation strategy.

Tools

communications plan, project initiation (business case, charter), reporting tools, feedback mechanism, communications channels, impact assessment

Respectful

Great Business Readiness treats people as people, not account ids, user groups or the downside of implementing change.

No matter how important your change, it does not deliver business goals. The people your change affects make the business money, represent the brand and innovate. Your project should ease their lives by reducing waste and repetitive tasks, improving the quality of their work or giving them tools to better serve the customer.

If you hamper their efforts longer than necessary, ignore their concerns or assume the project has the information it needs, you are not just disrespectful. You are compromising their ability to deliver their goals. In return, they will resist your change.

Tools

collaborative process / TOM design, gather and act on feedback and requirements, impact assessment

Flexible

The project the board approved and used to appoint the project team isn’t the project the team will deliver. The business case made assumptions, the job descriptions and Requests for Proposal didn’t touch the minutia of the status quo, let alone the Target Operating Model.

Excellent Business Readiness knows blind adherence to ‘the brief’ and, worse, the costing assumptions, ignores business needs and reduces the effectiveness of the project.

This isn’t a call to ignore budgeting. Enhance your chance of success by building flexibility into the business case and Business Readiness goals into your project. Budget for risk and learn lessons from other projects.

Tools

project initiation (business case, charter), discovery, risk and issue management, change management, checklists, agility, post change support and lessons learnt

Persausive

Businesses prepare for change when they understand and accept the reason. The business case shows the business value, getting to know the teams and their struggles exposes ‘what’s in it for me’.

Business Readiness must move beyond arguments for and against change; its listens, learns and adapts plans. By building change advocates and supporting them, Business Readiness brings people on board.

Build credibility by showing how you are preventing disruption and helping people do their jobs. And influence the project, show how changing its plans delivers benefits or reduces costs.

Tools

communications, team briefings and meetings, champions / advocates, transparency, respectfulness and flexibility

My next post considers the tools mentioned above and on 16 June 2020 I speak at the Digital Leaders Virtual Summit.

Book your free consultation
to see if I can help you succeed in change.

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