The top management must remain present during the project

Implementing changes in a company often fails due to very specific factors.

Dr. Andreas Suter explains what these factors are and what the use of interim managers can achieve.

Dr. Suter, change projects are constantly taking place in many companies - with the aim of implementing strategic plans, being more successful in competition and becoming more profitable. Which ones could those be?
Establishing new channels to customers, restructuring the supply chain or relocating sites are just a few examples. But also the development of new forms of cooperation, the optimisation of processes or the introduction of new IT systems occupies many a company. It is always about getting better. However, the fact is that not only the concrete project topics are different. The same applies to the constellations in which the projects are located. 

Don't these implementation projects also have something in common?
Absolutely! They change processes in the company and thus the roles and responsibilities and ultimately also the demands on the employees. This often leads to uncertainty and resistance
to the project. This is the reason why projects are always associated with major implementation risks.

Which do you think of as a priority?
Many projects fail to meet the targets. Change projects are always unique for the respective company and for the vast majority of the employees involved, they are also the first time. It is no wonder that the projects then often get into trouble and ultimately remain unsuccessful. And because such projects are rarely repeated, it is often difficult to learn anything from them.

Can't you profit from successful models?
So-called best practices have, as mentioned, emerged in very specific constellations. Many company-specific factors had to be right for success to occur. Because many of these factors are
unknown or cannot be transferred to the own situation, best practices are often not helpful. On the contrary, they lull a company into a supposed security.

What do you recommend instead?
It is much more promising to focus on unsuccessful projects. In retrospect, similar error patterns repeatedly occur in projects in difficulties. For example, when the executive management withdraws from a project or when an inexperienced junior employee is assigned as project manager. Equally unsuccessful are measures that merely combat the symptoms instead of eliminating the causes.

How do you explain these error patterns?
The focus on symptoms initially promises little effort and very limited changes. The young newcomer is still full of zest for action and is considered to be unspent. The lack of experience, however, quickly leads to the junior staff being worn down by internal resistance. The fact that the interest of the management is waning is mostly due to the many positive, sometimes embellished feedbacks which they receive from the team at the beginning of the project. This allows the management to address new issues and to be absent, especially in the critical phase of implementation.

So that such projects succeed better in the future and companies continue to tackle them, there is the GroNova AG as a suitable implementation expert ...
Right, for more than 20 years we have been implementing such projects with experienced managers and experts. These are "50+" and have many years of experience with many successful
implementation projects.

How do you manage to send the perfect expert for a project?
We translate the customer's tasks into a requirement profile that takes into account not only the hard but also the soft factors in order to move successfully with our customers. Ultimately, the project is only successful if the cooperation with our managers works and the chemistry is right. In addition to experience, constant further development is essential. 

What does GroNova actively do for the further education of your seconded managers?
The project experiences are continuously evaluated, condensed and passed on to our managers and experts within the GroNova Academy. Since a few years these events are also visited by our customers. Furthermore, we have recently summarised the 50 top topics with just as many case studies in an implementation handbook.



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