Change Management In Your Construction Business – Part 1

Part #1: Get PERSONAL About Change

So you’ve decided to integrate a new software system into your construction business. A system that requires the active participation of both your field workers and admin staff and that vastly changes your capacity to identify and report on the people, asset and process efficiencies (or not) of your business. Your biggest challenge in this scenario isn’t the software and the required learning that will need to take place, business-wide. It’s change.

But change need not be such a big deal. In this 5-part series, we’ve taken a look at the major considerations you’ll need to make, to implement ANY systematic change into your construction business.

Business transformation is challenging for any organisation. In the construction industry, with safety & project delivery timeframes compounding the ubiquitous commercial reality & bottom line targets, instigating & managing change must be undertaken with a macro ‘whole-of-project’ approach.

Piecemeal implementation of change will potentially jeopardise the speed, success and cost of the change project – especially where change affects business fundamentals such as processes or management software, AND where the entire organisation is required to get on-board.

By tackling the human side of change in a way that is formalised and methodical, your construction business will be better equipped to successfully garner stakeholder support, and to adopt to the required changes. A top down approach is ideal – whereby you firstly engage the leadership team for project buy-in. Change is challenging for most people. It’s a known fact. So when the business foresees change on the horizon, before the water-cooler chatter gets out of control, be prepared by having the leaders in your corner. As the remainder of the business looks to these senior people for support, you’ll have them ready to respond, support, direct and encourage the rest of the team, to embrace the new order.

In encouraging the executive team to support the change project, remember they as a team, must also be considered as a group. They’ll only be able to support the project if they are aligned, committed and of shared vision.

Once the leadership is on board, and the progressive engagement of all other stakeholders comes to pass, the approach will require ongoing adoption as change is gradually implemented throughout the organisation.

By meticulously involving every rank, team & individual in the change management process, you need to be mindful that each category of the workforce will respond differently and may require different information, insight and rationale. The ideal scenario is to nominate change leaders across key divisions of the business: individuals who take ownership of the transformation for their department, and who become accountable for change milestones. As the change starts to transmute across the business, you’ll be in a great position to see which departments are moving forward, and which may need more involvement from the change project team. Having nominated these departmental leaders in the project, you’ll also have great insight into the future executives of the business.

Whilst on this journey, keep your stakeholders close. At the very commencement of the people engagement process, ensure you’ve undertaken a robust assessment of the entire organisation to determine the readiness for change. Culturally this is critical – especially for field workers who may require additional training, guidance and learning, and hence more communications and potential ‘hand holding’.

In the next part, we’ll explore the role of project planning when implementing change into your construction business. To Part 2 (Project Planning Your Change).

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