Does The Right Hand Know What All The Other Hands Are Doing?

CHANGE MATTERSTHE SENIOR MANAGEMENT of the organization has done a thorough analysis and assessment, and everyone’s agreed: The sales department is not producing the way they should be, and needs some radical change.

So you redraw the sales territory boundaries, give them some new CRM software, write a new sales training program and hold a 2-day retreat designed to get all the salespeople engaged in the new system. It seems to be working and everyone in the sales department is excited to be moving forward.


A month after the changes take effect, you discover that the supply chain is in disarray, the accounting department is fuming because they aren’t getting invoices in a timely manner, and the entire customer service team is about to mutiny because they’re getting so many angry calls from clients.

What the heck happened?

You forgot that changes to the Sales department didn’t happen in a vacuum. When you changed the way Sales functioned within the organization, you changed the way the whole organization worked. When Sales changed the way they processed orders, it had an impact on the way Accounting processed them; when Sales put a big push on Product X, that had an impact on the way Supply Chain sourced it; and when Sales changed the message it communicated to customers, it had an impact on Customer Service.

[bctt tweet=”Now of course this is a rooky mistake, and one you would NEVER make. But it illustrates a point.” via=”no”]

At its core, change management is really about being able to see the big picture and mapping out how a change – or set of changes – in one area is going to affect other areas of the organization, and what needs to happen in order for all the elements to work together effectively. No organization is an island, especially today. And speaking of today, the interdependencies in businesses make creating that map a critical success factor.

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When proposing a change that seems to affect only one department or division, here are some questions to ask:
  • How will this change affect the day-to-day activities of the key roles within this department?
  • How will this change affect the day-to-day activities of the key roles in other departments?
  • Can we draw before and after process maps of key procedures within the organization to identify what will happen as a result of these changes?
  • Have we asked for input for key stakeholders in other departments to help identify how a change in Department A will affect Departments B-F?
  • What communication and training will other departments/divisions need in order to be working in concert on Day 1 of the change?[/message][su_spacer]

As I said before, we all know this is a rooky mistake, but you’d be surprised how often it happens. So don’t take it for granted that everyone’s needs and interests are being taken into account by the project team. Make sure this step happens in the decision-making phase – before you even put a project team together.


Beth Banks Cohn
Beth Banks Cohn
BETH is dedicated to helping individuals and companies implement business changes that actually work. Beth believes in the ripple effect – that change handled well benefits everyone in an organization, over and over again. As a recognized expert in change as well as corporate culture, Beth consults domestically and internationally with a wide range of disciplines and businesses. Beth is the author of two books: ChangeSmart™: Implementing Change Without Lowering your Bottom Line and Taking the Leap: Managing Your Career in Turbulent Times…and Beyond (with Roz Usheroff).

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