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Standardization – A Change Journey in Knowledge and Process Management

By Rebecca Jahn, PMP

Standardization – A Change Journey in Knowledge and Process Management

By Rebecca Jahn, PMP

Published 04-12-23

Submitted by CRB

a seedling at five different stages of growth out of the soil.

Originally posted on LinkedIn

Standardization is hard. Why? Because overcoming resistance to change is hard. Which means communication is key as you grow your Knowledge and Process Management programs.

Many organizations, especially growing ones, recognize the need for standardization and the benefits it brings: consistency, efficiency, and the space for innovation. Consistency ensures repeatable products, service, and customer / client experience. Standard documented processes enable new team members to get up to speed quickly and others use their time more efficiently. Teams avoid “reinventing the wheel” and can spend their time focused on the activities that bring greatest value and drive innovation.

Understand Resistance

Recognizing the need and knowing the benefits is not enough. We need to also recognize and seek to understand the hurdles and barriers to adoption of standard processes. This requires listening, empathy, time, and patience. Change does not happen over-night and we need to bring those impacted along on the journey.

Engage Teams

Imagine someone on your team has been doing this work for over 20 years. Tap on them to support development of those standard processes as a great opportunity to capture their knowledge and improve the process in an avenue that cascades throughout the business. Someone else might be concerned about "process for the sake of process.” Discuss with them ways to ensure processes don’t get bogged down with unnecessary approvals. Inevitably you’ll hear frustration that someone just wants to keep doing it their way. Encourage them to try and follow the standard process and then provide feedback on what worked or didn’t work for them. This continuous cycle draws them in, ensures their voice is heard, and makes them part of the change.

Continuously Communicate

Standardization requires a continuous improvement mindset and 2-way communication to address challenges. Consider how the standard processes are communicated. A common pitfall is assuming that everyone knows or remembers the benefits of this standardization. Every communication medium should reiterate the benefits and what the individual and company can gain. By ensuring you are providing an avenue for feedback and responding in a timely manner, teams stay engaged. Being open-minded, thoughtful in communication, and responsive to concerns will support teams along the standardization change journey.

CRB's Knowledge Services Team, along with some partners, will be sharing thoughts on methods that are helping us build a foundation of capabilities that can give businesses an edge. Our journey has been focused on the human element. This focus on community and connection encourages learning and sharing and allows a business to use its collective knowledge in more meaningful ways.

Follow CRBknows to see more from our series. Is your business on a standardization journey? What challenges are you facing? How are you overcoming the hurdles? 

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