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Initially, the level of enthusiasm towards projects is al-

ways high. Especially when analysis and concept both

speak the same, clear language – when for example,

there is approximately €20 million to be saved by suc-

cessfully implementing a new contractor strategy. The

two primary goals are to reduce the number of contrac-

tor companies by half and engage cheaper companies.

The relevant Business Units agree to the plan with ap-

propriate speed.

And then? Just as quickly as it was ignited, the fire be-

hind the consultant concept burns out. As things begin

to get going, disputes arise, doubts emerge, quarrels be-

gin and plans are disputed again – and eventually ev-

eryone agrees to test the new strategy in a pilot project.

The next part is inevitable. During the pilot phase it

becomes clear that the new contractor doesn’t know the

plant as well as the old one, and therefore works more

slowly. As a result, the new contractor is engaged less

frequently. After six months, he removes his team from

the plant as the amount of work is lower than stated

in the contract. He is actually making losses. In short:

the strategy needs to be rethought; implementation has

failed. Who’s to blame?

More Than Two Thirds Of All Projects Fail

Most corporations can likely tell a similar story about

consulting projects – whether it’s the implementation

of a new strategy or the reorganization of the interface

between operations and maintenance – which haven’t

run according to plan. This is the reason why change

management exists as a discipline, why thousands of

books have been written about it and millions invested

in the necessary tools and training programs. Return-

ing to the old, functioning way of doing things seems

logical when the new way doesn’t work. According to

the Harvard Business Manager


magazine, a number

of studies show that up to 70% of all implementation

(read: change management) projects fail. So what’s the

point in making all the effort and bringing in external

consultants, who in the end only cost money and don’t

actually change anything?

“It’s good to know why implementation projects fail.

You can learn a lot from that and also sometimes read

something amusing about it,”

says Frank-Uwe Hess,

Co-CEO at T.A. Cook.

“But it’s more important to un-

derstand how change actually works.”

Change manage-

ment is a recognized discipline and there’s a reason for

that. It’s natural that management is interested in the

fastest solution to a problem.

“The fact that the imple-

mentation is actually more relevant than the strategy is

often missed,”

explains Hess further. Managers try to

accelerate the change process instead of allowing the

necessary time for ‘ripening.’

An oversimplified formula for consulting services is

100:10:1, where consultants invest 100 hours in the

analysis of processes, ten to discuss results with man-

agement and one hour to communicate that to staff.

“The whole effort is only worth it when it works in ex-

actly the opposite way,”

says Markus Treiber, also Co-

Photo: Ralwel/Shutterstock

The kick-off meeting has taken place and time is ticking. Where in the past, one had all

the time in the world, today nothing can be done quickly enough. This is the same during

Implementation Projects - known as “change management” today. Managers want results

as soon as possible: they should be sustainable, reach maximum potential and ideally, be

delivered at the start of the project. And that’s exactly where the problem lies.

Text: Christian Raschke

The Blame


“The fact that the implementation is actually more relevant than the strategy is often missed.”

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