Friday, April 22, 2016

How to Overcome Three Pitfalls to Accelerate Digital Paradigm Shift

if you make change part of your routine and ongoing business capability, then change becomes easier to deal with.

Digital means the increasing speed of changes, hyperconnectivity, and always-on business dynamic. 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, in the static industrial era, change is often a one-time project; in the Digital Age, change has to become an ongoing capability. But what are the barriers you need to overcome in order to manage change more effectively?

The comfort zone: Many people can’t get out of the comfort zone because change means uncertainty and risk-taking. When faced with change, people go through the phases - denial, resistance, exploration. and acceptance. Managing the change process and transition emotions is fundamental to the success of a change-oriented project. There is nothing wrong with resistance. On the contrary, it is a good sign! By saying, "it is ok to feel resistance," the resistance will go down significantly because people feel that they are being heard or seen. People often resist changing because they don't understand how it is relevant to them. So it is important to try to find ways to make people feel involved in the design and implementation of the change. Resistance is usually from the three areas: in your thinking -doubt/uncertainty, feeling -resentment/hatred or action-Fear. Often these also determine workplace cultures as well as change challenges, passive aggressive or defensive. Resistance is mostly about not engaging at the right time with the right people to have the right communication. Change requires the management of people’s anxiety and confusion or conversely their excitement and engagement. These are emotions most managers try to deal with or address. The fact is that people's belief system on a subconscious level is slowly "adjust" to a new set of rules rather than at the conscious level. In any case, behavioral change in organizations happens on a group level and a person's "resistance" is just the symptom of an "organizational allergy" to the loss of the previously set operational equilibrium. The effective Change Management effort should help to build a culture of change and risk-taking, to encourage people getting out of their comfort zone, reward innovative way to solve the old problems, and improve both employees’ and overall organizational “Changeability.”

Silo mentality: The digital hyper-connectivity is breaking down the functional borders, business borders, and even industrial or national borders. The digital shift has come to a change in organizational forms away from the traditional rigid hierarchies managed through command and control to more fluid and responsive network forms. Yet many business managers still apply old silo management mindsets to new ways of running always-on and always-connected businesses. Are silos a mere product of organizational design? Or is their nature tied to a deeper level: the humankind's nature? Despite the mountain of evidence pointing out the detrimental effects of these silos, they still seem to be quite common in organizations. It is not structured, but the behaviors and attitudes of the leadership teams, and lack of strategic and team objectives and rewards that drive this mentality. Silos don't seem to fit within emerging 'networked' collaborative organizational forms, and if they are being reinforced, their existence is perhaps a legacy of old management thinking applied to new ways of doing - the result, higher risk of conflict and inertia, not something organization's want in a global business environment that demands innovation, speed, responsiveness, and flexibility to succeed. Therefore, it is important to build a high level of trust within the upper rankings of management, share the same vision, set the strategic goals, being able to coordinate and communicate effectively across departments and manage business performance to ensure the organization as a whole is more superior to the sum of pieces.

The wrong cause of the problem: Either for individuals, organizations, or society as a whole, the problem-solving capability is crucial to surviving and thriving. However, often times, people have a tendency to try to fix a symptom which results from the actual cause of the problem. When they do this, they throw good money after bad. They allow problems to grow under the surface, out of sight, out of mind, until it’s too late. So trying to fix the wrong cause of a problem will waste time and resources, increase anxiety, many decision-makers fail to fully grasp and accurately perceive what leads to problems and difficulties. Often, events and patterns are observed on the surface, and then the action is taken, but that is too early. Until the underlying problem is addressed, the symptom or result will continue to return. A better solution that crosses all industries is to keep peeling back the layers to find the root cause through asking five WHYs, or taking other systematic approaches - to discover the real cause, and address it. The problem-solving scenario is also a part of Change Management because change is never for its own sake, but for solving the real issues and making continuous improvement.

Change cannot be just another thing that needs to be accomplished. It has to be woven into the collective mentality, process, action, and communication of the organization. In today's work environment. It takes a lot of energy to break old habits and outdated thought processes. It is challenging to overcome silo mentality, get out of comfort zone, frame the right problems and solve them effectively. But change is happening at a more rapid pace, if you make change part of your routine and ongoing business capability, then change becomes easier to deal with, and improve strategy execution seamlessly.


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