Part III: Making it Happen

By: Joseph Pfund

Get buy-in from your team by including them in the planning and execution.

 

After everyone is familiar with your training schedule and knows what to expect, it’s time to put the schedule to work. You’ll want to share the calendar with everyone that needs to be trained or otherwise involved. Once the plan is in action, try to avoid making any changes to it or the dates you’ve set. If you must make adjustments, update the calendar immediately and let everyone know. Make sure those affected are aware of the changes and why they’re being made. Remember, making your team feel included is important for securing their buy-in.

During the first few training sessions, you will probably get feedback and questions that you didn’t anticipate. That’s totally normal; it’s impossible to plan for every tiny detail. If you don’t know the answer when a question arises, ensure your staff that you will get back to them with an answer. Then, actually follow up with your staff. That’s the most important part.

As training comes to an end and you are phasing out your prior product or service, you definitely should not terminate the other product or service until your new product is functioning 100%. If things don’t work out as planned, this will save a lot of time, chaos, and loss of data that could be critical to your business. As a good rule of thumb, your organization should participate in two complete pay periods, or four weeks of service with the new system, before terminating the old one.

If I’ve learned one thing during my time leading multiple different implementations with different businesses of every shape and size, it’s this: the alphabet has 25 other letters. Stay cool. If plan A doesn’t work, move on to the next letter, and so on. No implementation is ever 100% flawless, so remain calm. If you freak out, your team will think they need to freak out, too. Have a contingency plan ahead of time for things you predict might be weak areas for you and your team.  When a problem occurs, get a clear definition of the problem, reach out to the support chain, and plan a work-around. Following that, communicate this information to those affected.

Before long, your new system will be fully integrated into your business operations and things will be running smoothly. Once this happens, it’s time to celebrate your success! This is a huge milestone and something to be proud of. Deliver a congratulations to your team for their hard work and commitment. Also, consider what you learned from this endeavor. What was good and bad about the experience? Are there other issues that this implementation brought to light that you previously didn’t know existed? What would you do differently next time?

Implementing new and better systems is a very effective way to improve your business, but it can be a real challenge for many. If you learn from your past experiences, it’s sure to get easier every time.