Jump Start Organizational Change Management with GRPI

My team and I recently started a 15-month Business Process Management (BPM) engagement for a Fortune 500 financial services firm. The project focuses on transitioning over 7MM charged off credit card accounts from one system of record to another as part of a recent acquisition. As the project was kicking off, it became obvious that the project scope and deliverables were unclear. We also felt as if we didn’t have the right people engaged.

In the past, I’ve found great success with the GRPI Team Effectiveness Model, so I decided this was another good opportunity to leverage it for organizational change management. GRPI stands for four critical and interrelated aspects of teamwork: Goals, Roles, Processes, and Interpersonal relationships. The model is usually used at project initiation to help ensure that a project team is productive from the beginning, minimizing ramp-up time and re-work, but it can also provide a structured way to ensure teams stay on track throughout the project and to determine when a team is not performing and why.

It is most effective to follow the model in order, because each subsequent aspect is dependent on the preceding one(s). For example, without meaningful and clearly defined goals, team members may become unfocused or start to go down the wrong path. Without clear roles, team members may be hesitant to exercise initiative or not be clear on why they’re on the team or what they should do. Without team processes and procedures in place, teams are not as effective as they need to be. Finally, if relationships aren’t supportive or team members don’t trust each other, then it will be difficult for the team to be successful.

When starting a new project, it’s important to get team members together and talk about each of the four aspects of the model. I usually facilitate a session with team members in which we discuss and get clarity and consensus on the following questions:

    • Goals: Are the mission and goals of the team clear and accepted by all members? Are they in tune with the team’s environment?
    • Roles and Responsibilities: Are the roles and responsibilities clearly described and understood? Do the defined roles fully support the team goals?
    • Process and Procedures: Are there processes and procedures operating in the group such as problem-solving methods, communication procedures, decision-making processes, etc.? Are they understood, acceptable and supportive of the group’s goals and roles?
    • Interpersonal Relationships: Are the relationships among team members healthy and supportive of good team work? Is there an appropriate level of trust, openness and acceptance in the group?

After the project team completes their discussion or self-assessment using the above questions, it’s important to follow through with any action items that are identified. I usually find that further discussion with project sponsors and stakeholders is often needed.

A GRPI session will allow team members to discuss their perceptions and discover gaps in their understanding, but ultimately leave united. At the end of our session, team members felt aligned on what we were trying to accomplish. We were able to close the gaps around scope and deliverables. We also realized that we were missing some subject matter expertise and decided to add additional team members.

According to John Kotter, change management is an approach to transitioning individuals, teams, and organizations to a desired future state. In order to have a successful transition, your project team needs to be set up for success first. An easy way to make this happen is to facilitate a GRPI session with your team.