In a recent blog, we discussed how a lack of interest or enthusiasm in an ERP selection or implementation can sabotage the project. What about if there’s too much interest or too many cooks in the kitchen who are all trying to make decisions that favor their area of the business? Can you really have too much of a good thing? Absolutely. It’s all about finding the right balance in terms of engagement and knowing what to do if you discover there are some imbalances in the involvement levels.
Spoiling the Dish
If you have too many cooks in the kitchen, the dish isn’t going to work out. It’s virtually impossible to make decisions, especially time-sensitive ones when you have too many cooks. Projects are all built around a planning process and solution design, but it is possible to have too many people with wild ideas of what ‘should’ be. Many people become married to their ideas and fail to see the big picture or others’ points of view and ideas. This lack of awareness of upstream and downstream processes is not consistent with good change management.
One U.K. study found that the ramifications of conflict in the workplace include lower productivity and performance, lost time, increased stress, and a decrease in the ability to reach organizational goals. Departments fighting for control and influence can negatively affect the teams’ dynamics during different ERP selection or ERP implementation phases and unknowingly put the final product in jeopardy. Disagreements between teams can also impact project timelines because everyone is focusing on resolving the conflict instead of focusing on the project’s goals. While resolving the conflict is obviously important, we try to help clients avoid it in the first place if possible.
“There is no passion like that of a functionary for his function.”
— Georges Clemenceau
Eliminate Unproductive Friction
It’s fairly common to have friction between the sales and finance departments. Sales can be a trouble spot. They often get all the praise and glory, meanwhile, finance does a lot in the background to make everything happen and to keep the wheels turning. While the Accounting team touches everything, people need to be aware of how the data gets into the accounting system – from the finance team.
In a recent survey, employee recognition was most important to 37% of employees. People want to be acknowledged for their good work! Failing to do this and not providing recognition of the cross-departmental workflows, the how and the why things happen, evokes a sense of feeling undervalued and underappreciated. You want everyone on the teams to feel they have a voice, and that without them, the company is worse off. As long as everyone feels like they’re being heard and considered, then you can manage many cooks. Change leaders must recognize the tendency for users to protect their fiefdoms.
The Dangers of Silos
One of our Sage Intacct clients had sales and operations team members who always spoke about things on “their side” and “our side”. Wording like, “Our side needs…” is a big indication of thinking in silos and something you want to avoid because this type of mentality slows the flow of information, breeding inefficiencies and distrust. As this happens, employee disconnection increases and their engagement decreases. Eventually, the CEO of this company had to have an all-hands meeting and make it clear that “There are no sides, there’s just us.” This is how it should be, but sometimes people need the reminder.
In North America specifically, collaboration and communication silos cost about 7 hours per week totaling more than 350 hours per year. However, process silos and information hoarding aren’t the only concern with workplace silos. We’ve seen people’s behaviors undermine and try to sabotage ERP implementation phases when their silo feels threatened. Once it’s reached this point, it’s difficult to remedy it without directly taking it up with the individuals and team before the entire project becomes derailed.
We’ve seen how too much, or too little staff project involvement can be risky. Planning for the common pitfalls of an ERP selection or implementation keeps you on track with goals and reduces the chance of disappointment and stress if the desired outcome is not achieved. Many of these challenges are on the people’s side of change, which a lot of organizations tend to not put their efforts towards because they’re so enthralled with the ERP’s new features and the impact on the bottom line.
It’s good to learn from your mistakes, but it’s better to learn from others. Reach out to us, so we can teach you how to effectively manage people through the selection process or different ERP implementation phases and build the perfect team for your project’s success.