We are all cutting costs. Have to. There is simply no choice for most companies because most companies are facing greater competition for lesser total demand.
One problem this can create is a set of competing motives in the area of change management. On one hand, austerity programs create the need for more change, change that creates efficiencies and, therefore, reduces overall costs. At the same time, many of these change programs require some resources to execute. And those resources can be difficult to find.
A simple example is in the area of customer support. We all know that not solving the customer’s problem on the first call is expensive. It results in follow-on calls, potentially other type of warranty work or, in the worst case, a lost customer. While additional, higher level contact center representatives may dramatically improve “first call resolution,” the cost of adding the additional resources can be a challenge sale.
I found this graphic in my “Strategic Planning—Keep” file. The copy I have is attributed to the American Productivity and Quality Center. It is a simple graphic that puts forth the theory that you need 5 ingredients for successful change and shows the impact of missing ingredients.
A shortage of resources will lead to frustration as your people try to accomplish tasks without the right tools. Pretty intuitive. In tough times, this barrier moves way up the list. This is the barrier that I hear about most right now as companies are trying to do more with less.
The best way out of this jam is to prioritize your resource needs and focus on the changes that will be the most visible to your customers. Internal tasks or resources spent on internal non-value-added initiatives might be able to take a back seat to your customers during these times. This chart is an oldie, but it is a good reminder of the necessary ingredients and what we should expect when we fail to include them all.