Consistency Spells Capability
Driving Worldwide Standards for Technical Practices
Today’s industry leading companies operate on a global scale, conducting business around the world and around the clock. Even with modern communications, implementing a consistent set of workflows and processes for such far-flung teams can be easier said than done. Our client, a centralized technical center of excellence within a major energy corporation, called on Expressworks to promote a new, standardized way of working that would boost productivity and performance without reinventing the wheel time after time.
Prepared for resistance
After extensive research of internal best practices, our client had developed and documented a universal approach to certain scientific and engineering workflows. The new technical framework established a standard set of tools and techniques, to help bring new employees up to speed quickly and allow the company’s most experienced practitioners to focus on advancing higher-level technical work.
Expressworks’ challenge was to drive adoption of the framework among more than 4,000 key stakeholders scattered around the globe. But like any major change project, truly engaging employees in a transformative process was going to take a lot more than handing off a documented set of standards. Generally, the affected employees were said to be confident in their current methods and not overly fond of wholesale directives from headquarters.
Change works best when the target audience has its say in the solution. So we started by engaging the business-based technical leads, to discuss the rationale for the standard framework and hear their concerns and suggestions. We modified the standards based on their input and developed a comprehensive set of communications and training/learning materials to clearly convey the benefits of the initiative. By providing the practical details they needed to take action, we were able to win the favor of even the toughest critics. Determined to make the new framework more than a flash in the pan, we worked with the technical center to develop a model of governance, transitioning ownership of the standards to the technical leaders in the business.
As change sticks, business grows
As with every project we pursue, our goal is not only to introduce the change, but to implement it in a way that engages the audience and incorporates their expertise, so the results are sustainable. Today the technical framework is firmly rooted as the go-to guide for our client’s engineers in every corner of the globe. Most importantly, the leaders who once resisted change are now vocal advocates and governors of the standardized system that they had a hand in developing. As the productivity gains add up, so does the return on investment.
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