Manager's Corner: Successfully Implementing Plans

Manager's Corner
Successfully Implementing Plans

Implementing plans is normally the hardest and most frustrating part of any business planning or business development activity. You have to implement a plan that has not yet been proven successful, in addition to dealing with new crises and unanticipated obstacles. The planning process was tough, but implementation can be brutal.
To implement any major business plan successfully, expect to spend several months to several years in the implementation process. Why? Because in addition to "simply" changing the way your business operates, you have to change your employees' behavior patterns along with their attitudes, and that takes time.
It's relatively easy to re-set a production line or move offices. The real challenge comes into play when we have to help our employees understand and support the new way of doing business. We have to plan to spend 3-to-4 times as much time training for new behaviors as we do in training for new business procedures. Employees can quickly learn 'How' to perform a new or modified task, it's the 'Why' they have to do it the new way that can create problems for us.
For example, I've helped several manufacturers initiate employee project or product teams. Working in somewhat, self-contained teams, is new and "not normal" for many people. Resetting production lines is relatively easy. Helping employees understand why and how the line resets and teams will benefit from them are not--and that takes time, training, and communication--because we're trying to change behaviors.
As old as each of your employees is, that's as long as he or she has been developing specific behavior patterns. So when we ask them to learn a new procedure, and possibly, modify their behaviors and beliefs to implement the change effectively, we run into resistance. Intentional or not, the resistance is there. We're forcing people to behave in ways that are not "normal" to them. And to most of us "not normal" is wrong.
To successfully implement change, we have to help develo0p a mindset that the change is "normal and necessary." Because, unless we focus heavily on changing behavior patterns before, during, and after the "business changes" occur, we won't be able to successfully implement any plan.

Liz Weber of Weber Business Services, LLC. WBS specializes in Strategic, Business, and Succession Planning, as well as employee and leadership training. Contact: or 717-597-8890.