Bear with me for a moment… Close your eyes and imagine someone handing you a large block of your favorite cheese and saying, “eat this whole thing right now.” How appetizing does that sound? If you’re like me, and I’m a fan of cheese, the answer is probably “not very.”
Now, imagine a beautiful charcuterie board with rows of nicely arranged slices, wedges, and chunks of your favorite cheese. It suddenly seems much more appealing, doesn’t it? You could probably eat the same volume as the big block, but you’re doing it one carefully arranged bite at a time, so it’s more appetizing.
The cheese becomes delicious instead of stomach-turning.
That’s exactly how procurement should approach leading change management, said Chandell Shorter, Senior Consultant of Change Management, and Joe Payne, SVP Source-to-Pay both at Corcentric, in a recent AOP Live session “Maximizing Procurement’s Potential: An Expert’s Guide to Effective Change Management.”
Change management can be a long, complex process that leads to overwhelm, resistance, and a lot of questions and uncertainty along the way. By breaking this process down into more manageable, “bite-sized pieces,” procurement can mitigate many of those roadblocks before they ever surface.
This also requires bringing in the right stakeholders and leaders at the right time to help manage and communicate those micro-changes that make up the larger change management project. Serve the business the bites, and they’ll end up eating the block’s worth. Chandell recommended bringing in middle management teams early and often in the process because they are closest to the frontline employees and can offer the kind of consistent engagement required to reassure any nervousness and influence people’s perceptions in a positive way.
“We need to be able to engage, let people get excited about it, let people feel things out about the change, and let them talk about it and how they are going to benefit from it,” said Chandell.
By starting at the middle management level and then expanding outward, procurement can build an ecosystem of “change champions” who can not only communicate the value proposition of the change but also be a part of UAT testing or even design and implementation.
If you get people excited about change, get them involved and engaged with what’s coming, she said, “they will be able to eat all the cheese.”