Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Change Management Mistakes in PDX

I came across an article via Streetsblog at lunch today: The letter and 60 business owners that changed PBOT's mind on 28th Ave - UPDATED that struck me as odd. As someone who works in change management and process improvement, I couldn't imagine being blindsided by a petition signed by that many stakeholders in the process. It's no wonder the initial plan seems to have failed. The right people weren't involved and bought in from the beginning. 

I'm not here to decry the idea - in fact, I think the original idea is a good one, and I'm all for charging market rates for parking in high demand areas. The failure is in the process, not in the intended result. 

What would I have done differently, if I were in charge of getting this bike lane implemented? 

  • Created a list of all important stakeholders - businesses, PDOT, the city, shoppers, neighbors, etc. - and their potential reaction to the proposal
  • Gone out and validated my thoughts by talking to people - getting their concerns and support for the idea
  • Worked hard to find the influencers in the environment, those business owners or others that command respect and could get others to buy in
  • Create solutions to the concerns, and trumpet more of the support, in order to build a greater coalition before taking it to the public

Lots of people would grab traffic data or some other way to prove the correctness of the idea. I don't think that would really work on something as visceral as parking (yes, I feel like people think it is that important). This is primarily an emotional issue and needs to be attacked that way. Remove my parking? You'll scare away my customers!

60 petitioners against the idea shows that the pre-sell wasn't done. One thing I learned early in my career; don't surprise people and ensure everyone knows ALL about it before you take it public. 

Urbanism works. Bike lanes work. However, it has to be sold, not told. 

Maybe the people involved did some of these things. I don't know them, and don't know the process. I do know it'll be very difficult to go back to trying this again in the future.

1 comment:

  1. There should be not any mistake be done on planning and making of change management plan as directly affects the performance of business functioning and development