Managing The Curve

Invest in your people and make them part of the process from the start, upskilling them, engaging them and alleviating the potential for change crisis to occur, as well as enabling a faster return on investment…

In my last article we explored the three cornerstones of successful change: People, Process and Technology.

We looked at why, by simply overlooking one of these cornerstones, around 60% of projects fail. That cornerstone is People.

Budgets for implementation projects will look at the costs associated with the planning, process and project work, and the costs associated with the technology. Research and (sometimes very long) procurement processes will look and focus on these two cornerstones, but if time and effort are not included to develop your people ready for that change, then you are looking at the worst scenario – false economy. Throwing your money away.

We must ask – what is a better outcome? Invest in your people and make them part of the process from the start, upskilling them, engaging them and alleviating the potential for change crisis to occur, as well as enabling a faster return on investment…


Forget that – there’s a bit of training towards the end of the project anyway and that should cover it. We’ll deal with resistance by winging it when it happens and that should sort it. So we’ll cut that bit out of the budget, planning and timing and we’re sure it will be absolutely fine…

Spoiler alert: it won’t be. You’ll end up either losing key staff, see a massive dip in morale, performance and productivity, and your staff will end up reintroducing old processes by stealth because they are resistant to the change, so you’ll end up with a very expensive version of what you already had which doesn’t work for you anymore, which is why you went through the whole project in the first place…

You end up with a shinier version of the defunct system and processes you had before. Lots of money effectively down the drain and you’re no further forward than you were before you started.

I’m not embellishing for effect. I’ve seen it happen. Many, many times.

Your people are your business. You need them, otherwise all organisations would be people-free. The system you have in place is their day to day working activity. It is the tool they use to make sure that your invoices are sent, and debts collected, that your suppliers are paid, and your credit status maintained, that your people are remunerated and that your budget holders manage and see their costs. Without the system your people would not be able to work; without your people, your system would not produce anything. It’s a symbiotic relationship, so it is logical and common sense that when you invest in one, you invest in both.

Developing your people and readying them for change need not be a horrendous undertaking, it need not be laborious or costly. By analysing what it would entail and how it could be managed effectively, efficiently and efficaciously (the three ‘F’s again!) it becomes clear that by taking a measured and planned approach to business change management and people development, you resolve a lot of your project problems before they even appear.

So what happens when change is announced? What could you expect?

The Kubler-Ross Change Curve

The Change Curve is based on a model originally developed in the 1960s by Elisabeth Kubler-Ross to explain the grieving process. It was developed and became a solid and sound indicator of how people react emotionally and emotively to any change.

We can use the Change Curve, and the Kubler-Ross Model, to predict people’s reactions to change, and help them adapt to it more quickly and more successfully.

By anticipating the key stages which occur when people are notified of change, you can properly plan for the resolving actions needed to mitigate the negative feelings and promote the positive ones. You can use the Change Curve to motivate your people, create communication strategies and support your people throughout the change.

That’s all well and good, I hear you say, but what are we actually meant to do with that?

By approaching each stage in a methodical and planned way, you can actually flatten the curve and achieve a quicker time to integration and embedding of the new, more modern processes and productivity you are looking to achieve.

Here are the key points at the key stages in how to manage that change curve in an effective, supportive and productive way. We have indicated where these align within the four key milestones that we covered in our last article: Prepare, Engage, Involve, Embed.

By developing your people from the start of your change program, you will gain the following results:

–        Fully enabled and engaged staff

–        100% commitment to the new, defined best practice processes and technology

–        Faster Return on Investment

–        More for your money

There are many drivers to organisational change and here in a series of articles I am going to look at the key phases, stages, pitfalls and resolution mechanisms essential for successful digital business transformation.

Whatever digital transformation path you are looking at undertaking, Embridge Consulting will be able to assist you through your business change management and people development in preparation for digital change.

Don’t ignore the curve. Be ahead of it.

We hope that our series of articles will provide useful direction and information on areas businesses can consider and where investment can be made for the most fruitful return.

Develop your people; develop your digital future.


Published by

Emma O'Brien
Founder of Embridge Consulting, Entrepreneur, Leader, Women in Business
7 articles
Preparing Your People for Change – Managing the Curve! Are you considering a digital transformation in the near future. Then this article may provide you with some food for thought…. hashtagdigitaltransformation hashtagchange hashtagleadership hashtagstrategy hashtagbusinesschange hashtagchangemanagement hashtagchangeleadership hashtagerp hashtagpeople

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