We last left off discussing the need to invest in change management to enable successful transformation. What we know now is technology leaders are taking a stauncher stance – organizational change is an imperative. A 2018 global CIO survey revealed the measures for future success as technology leaders:

“CIOs recognize the need to evolve specific leadership skills in the future—focusing on delivering major organizational change (66 percent), building high-performance teams (63 percent), and influencing others (48 percent).”

To be at the vanguard of business transformation and growth, technology leaders must not only communicate a clear and compelling vision for digital as a strategic priority, but also create conditions conducive to deliver change. In fact, the survey listed a top leadership value for digital change as one to “empower people to think differently”, which is at the essence of organizational change; simply put, technology leaders must now be “change instigators”. So, the question now becomes, “how does one instigate change within their organization, and ecosystem, as a whole?”

Leading Organizational Change

Fortunately, organizational change management is a framework by which to manage changes in an organization’s structure, strategies, operational methods, technologies, and organizational culture. A deliberate approach looks at the impact to all key stakeholders – customers, investors, employees, partners, and communities – and provides the necessary insights and enablers to drive meaningful change. In fact, insight-driven organizations recognize the relevance and value for tapping insights from key stakeholders who are the ultimate agents of change (we discuss more about harnessing people insights in our next blog in this series).

In our experience, an imperative for leading organizational change is to identify and engage the influential change agents as “delegates” for the business. While technology leadership is instrumental to any change initiative, it can no longer suffice to rely primarily on sponsors and champions to lead change. Based on extensive research on implementation strategies for change, those that emphasize participation and control by stakeholders are most effective. By enrolling delegates from the business to develop the change and share control of the process, companies realized a 40-percent decrease in implementation time and a 60-percent increase in implementation success as compared to a “top-down” strategy, or edict, for change.

Creating Transformative Value

A common misunderstanding about digital transformation is it’s not about people – nothing could be further from the truth. Measuring people-centric connections, person to-machine (P2M) and person-to-person (P2P), value in the private sector has grown by 9%:

It is not surprising to find that people are the key to creating transformative value – in fact, research indicates this is becoming even more pronounced with nearly two-thirds, or 64%, of digital value coming from people-centric applications.” Source: IMD.org

The Global Center for Digital Business Transformation found “many companies focus their transformation efforts on IT and business processes alone, often neglecting people.” The resulting message is clear: companies need to find “ways of empowering people and transforming the workforce to drive new levels of collaboration, innovation and ultimately the success of the whole company.” Further corroborating the importance of workforce participation and control, “Inclusive Decision-Making” is cited as a critical element to any digital transformation effort.

Preparing for The Journey

Make no mistake about it, transformational change is a journey. Unlike developmental change, wherein you’re developing work improvements and corresponding skills, transformational change requires fundamental shifts in “mindsets” and behaviors and is often unpredictable in terms of final outcomes. Even in transitional change, where you are implementing new or replacement systems, changes in behaviors are essential. In either instance, it’s important to set the stage early on, and declare your intentions to enjoin your people in the journey. Here are some meaningful steps you can take to better ensure success:

  • Enroll delegates in change – by giving your business constituents an integral and meaningful role in driving and fostering change.
  • Identify and engage key influencers – key influencers’ informal networks and the resulting “water cooler talk” is not only central to the success of your change initiative, it offers insights into how to garner employee support.
  • Invite innovation – consider an “Idea Management” solution to harvest new ideas for innovation from employees (and even your customers!).
  • Enable “social listening” – there is no substitute for having your “ear to the ground” and learning first hand your employees’ sentiments surrounding impending change.
  • Empower people to experiment (and fail) – perhaps one of the biggest mindsets is supporting a culture of experimentation (why not? It worked for 3M “post-it-notes”).

The evidence is compelling – any business transformation effort can only be successful by adopting a concerted approach to leading organizational change, empowering and enabling the very people responsible for driving, and as importantly, institutionalizing change.

Learn more about Sense Corp and transformation capabilities here

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