Many safety or loss prevention implementation efforts fail, not because they don’t have a good implementation plan, but leaders don’t prepare properly. In the previous article, we discussed one of the first steps in the implementation of a safety or loss prevention system––developing a case for change. In this article, we’d like to address further steps that leaders should conduct to prepare the organization for the system implementation by (a) recognizing how the system implementation is connected to other organizational systems and processes; (b) being aware of and reflecting on their own beliefs and assumptions regarding previous implementations that may impact their openness and willingness to change; (c) accepting responsibility for new ways of thinking; and (d) challenging beliefs of others in the organization that, if left unchallenged, can significantly hinder the success of the system implementation.
Leaders need to see how the implementation “interacts with and is connected to” other systems and processes within the organization, so it becomes how the organization functions. This is an important part of the process so leaders don’t implement the system that "exists in a silo" from other organizational systems and processes. Systems that are not connected to other organizational systems and processes lose their essential function, and are less successful because the organization views and acts as these systems are an add-on or an after thought.
Leaders must also be aware of and reflect on their own beliefs and assumptions regarding previous safety or loss prevention implementations that can negatively affect their openness and willingness to change. How people view a particular type of change is based on their past experiences regarding what they believe worked best. Very often people are unaware of how their beliefs and assumptions affect their decisions, actions, and behavior. This is why people are often jaded by previous change efforts and they don’t “let go” of these experiences. In other words, it’s ok for leaders to reflect and learn from past experiences, but they shouldn’t let these experiences cloud their judgement or negatively impact future initiatives. What this means is that leaders must assume responsibility for adopting new ways of thinking to create an environment where they are open to new learning and possibilities.
Challenging their own beliefs and assumptions and assuming responsibility for new ways of thinking is critical for leaders to do, but in order for the organization to be as open minded as them, leaders must also engage their direct reports and line chain to do the same; otherwise, these deep-rooted organizational beliefs and assumptions will hinder progress. As a result, the larger organization is better prepared for change and is open to new learning. By accepting responsibility for new ways of thinking and challenging beliefs and assumptions of others, leaders can lay the proper stepping stones to a successful implementation.
At Loss Prevention Systems, Inc., we help leaders prepare their organizations for our Loss Prevention System™ to ensure the implementation is not only effective, but also sustainable. Preparing leaders and the organization is a vital component in the system implementation and must be conducted effectively for long term success.
In our next article, we’ll discuss the importance of developing a shared vision for the implementation and designing the system into day-to-day operations so it becomes “how” the organization performs.