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Global Implementation Issues: Cultural Differences or Bad Change Management?

During the SAP Radio show, we talked about why strategic initiatives fail when being implemented, especially globally. Do cultural differences cause failure, or is it bad change management?

Dr. Steven Hunt discussed implementation failure: “Culture is a convenient scapegoat for explaining why something didn’t work.” When you look at changing any process in a company — regardless of location — leadership has to ensure that it has effective change management practices in place. If you have great change management, which takes into account local regulations or restrictions, then you are more likely to see adoption instead of resistance.

China Gorman links this back to understanding your customer, even your internal ones. “Developing a global market — or at least a market outside the U.S. — requires understanding and experience on the ground. The challenge is how to get it.” Ask yourself, “What does the customer want and what message will most effectively convey that you meet that want?” Changing a process requires you to think in the same manner as the customer.

At the end of the day, everyone wants to know what’s in it for them. Culture may impact how you convey the message, but if you take barriers into account, your change management practices should compensate for any differences in culture that would impact an implementation.

What do you think? Are culture and change management exclusive issues that don’t impact the launch of an initiative? Or can they serve each other? What else complicates the issue?

This post is part of the series from the SAP Radio show – HR Globalization, Ready or Not?

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