The Process is Sound but Nobody’s Listening

Less than 20 percent of global businesses even have a human factor expert on staff.

It happens all of the time. What looks so strategic, so innovative and logical on paper falls flat on its face in implementation. Despite the best-laid plans, people have a way of screwing things up.

If you’re a project planner, these are the emotions that you’re confronted with way too often. The main reason for many project flops comes from the omission of a single, key component — the Human Factor.

In technical terms, human factors (or ergonomics) is a discipline of study that deals with human-machine interface. Human factors deals with the psychological, social, physical, biological and safety characteristics of a user and the system the user is in. It may be shocking to learn that less than 20 percent of global businesses even have a human factor expert on staff. In addition, most of the businesses that do have someone on staff are based in manufacturing only. These facts may account for poor showings when it comes to process improvement, cultural change or new program development across industries.

Many business processes are developed to foster organizational change. By ignoring or omitting people in your process, you’re ignoring a fundamental component to change management. John Kotter, World-renowned change expert from the Harvard Business School devised the following eght-step change model:

Step 1: Establish a Sense of Urgency

Step 2: Create a Guiding Team to Lead Change

Step 3: Develop a Vision and Strategy

Step 4: Communicate the Vision and Get Buy-In

Step 5: Empower Broad-Based Action

Step 6: Generate Short-Term Wins

Step 7: Consolidate Gains and Produce More Change

Step 8: Anchor these New Approaches in the Culture

What’s most interesting about these steps is that they all involve people and human factors.

It’s funny how that works.