SUBMITTED BY Troy Hupp, APPSC

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Any of those messages make you break out in a cold sweat? If so, you’ve probably survived a big business process change...and you’d probably rather endure a root canal from a three-year-old wielding a hammer and chisel than go through it again.

At the recent Institute of Finance & Management APP2P Fall Conference & Expo, a speaker featured the Kubler-Ross Change Curve as the de facto process employees go through in a business process change. If you’re unfamiliar with the Kubler-Ross Change Curve, here’s the CliffsNotes version that’ll make you sound cool (kind of) at parties – it’s a business adaptation of the famed 5 stages of grief first outlined by famed “On Death and Dying” psychiatrist Elisabeth Kubler-Ross.

So it’s already promising that we’re equating business process change to death, right?

In the Kubler-Ross Change Curve, employees move through 7 stages of change starting with shock, moving through frustration and depression, and ending (you hope sooner rather than later) with integration. The question is, no matter how well you plan and prepare, is it inevitable that you’ll have to experience all the ups and downs of the Change Curve? Does a business process change, such as automating your Accounts Payable process, really have to mean buying ibuprofen and tissues in bulk for the next year? Reallocate those particular line items – you can take away the pain in a process change.

You can start, as DataServ clients do, with an Initialization Team and a Rapid Adoption Kit to help employees and vendors successfully transition and quickly embrace change. If a major full process change still sounds too much to handle at once, that’s OK (and common). Start small with bite-sized chunks and slowly work your way through the process while minimizing disruption. For example, companies sometimes partner with DataServ simply to automate the ingestion point of the AP process, handling all the paper and electronic files that come in. It’s one area that’s usually a point of particular pain, making employees eager to embrace a solution. Once that solution is in place and showing employees value without angst, they’re much more willing to welcome broader change.

So, if you’re considering a process change but are hesitant to put your employees through the stress, know that – while death may be inevitable – every step on the Change Curve isn’t. With the right planning, preparation, and support, you can leapfrog your way through change management and emerge stronger and more efficient than ever.

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