Monday, November 10, 2014

Change as an Ongoing Capability

Change is an ongoing capability underpinned by business process, culture and talent employees.

Change is a volatile subject, just like change itself. Everything changes continuously by following the laws of evolution, and the rate of change is accelerated. Corporate change can be a simple modification of strategy, a business process improvement or a more radical digital transformation. Either at the individual or organizational level, at the more static industrial era, change is a one-time project; at digital age, change has to become an ongoing capability.

Change has to be orchestrated at all levels: Change occurs at the level of the individual and it is only when the majority of people are on the journey that the real results start to emerge. It is commonly noted that most of the 'top-down' driven programs are unsuccessful as they fail to enthuse functional stakeholders. ‘Change Management' itself has become a subject of self-sustaining change, due to the evolution of social media and rapid advances in communications management/ empowerment of the masses.

Change platform approach makes sense: A culture that enables constant improvement is the most valuable change engine you can build. Change Management and the change itself should not be anymore considered as an esoteric knowledge and catchy words on PowerPoint slides. It is the environment we live in and breathe. The change is currently our business as usual. You can't just command change from the top, you have to build change platform for supporting all valuable change initiatives and efforts, working with the people at all levels of the organization and having them motivated and inspired for the change.

 Process underpins business capability: Pay attention to the processes under the surface, in order to be aware of them, as an organization. Change is happening all the time, the management just has to acknowledge and appreciate that. Change is a constant. Platforms support constants. Change is not an event. Events can be managed top down. Change can be supported top down, but change cannot be fully managed or controlled top down, it has to be proactively made bottom up.

The strong support for continuous improvement is an essential strategy: The old stimuli of needing to change because of IT, major competitors or new market entrants are no longer the only catalysts for change, projects are cumbersome and costly by comparison with the need for true customer-driven agility. And today it is so much more about sensing emerging customers’ needs and creating new markets. The inevitable range, breadth, and pace of uncontrollable factors acting on any organizations mean constant fine-tuning is essential.

Change is not for its own sake, focus on the business purpose behind it: The change platform approach focuses more on establishing the right enduring organizational values and capabilities to enable continuous improvement; to be embraced by everyone in the lunchroom, sponsored and believed in by the boardroom. Organizations still need a trigger from time to time as it is human nature to seek stability and security over time rather than driving constant change. Change is not for its own sake, it is an ongoing business capability to execute the strategy and compete for the future.

It is nevertheless true that the change itself has become unpredictable and evolutionary, as compared to treading through carefully laid down road-map - as it was done even a decade ago. 'Change platform' could be a new 'jargon'; but essentially, only the corporate leaders who are equipped with the ‘change mindset’ can be successful in stimulating/inspiring/enabling such 'platforms' versus illusion of control, from incremental change to radical transformation, it is an ongoing capability to continually move organizations forward.


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