Sunday, August 28, 2016

Three Inflection Points of Change Management

Change reaches the inflection point when change leaders master both the psychological and technical processes behind changes.

Change is inevitable. More and more organizations are at the strategic inflection point of the digital transformation. It is the broader and longer journey with many leaps and jumps, bumps and curves, perils and pitfalls on the way. One of the change mottoes is "never mistake motion for action." The successful businesses are the ones that have learned WHEN change is called for and decide WHAT to change, and HOW to change effectively. Do not let all these problems inherent in any change initiative, to get in the way of accepting the business facts that change is inevitable and needed in every business.  

Change reaches the inflection point when the disruption allows for "new" energy to flow and bring with it something that would not be born without it: The renowned metaphor of the caterpillar that becomes a butterfly demonstrates the digital transformation beautifully. As the caterpillar begins the process, it still has mobility and more than less its qualities of being a caterpillar. As the process continues "being a caterpillar" is disrupted, it hits the inflection point and the following parts of the process that produce the butterfly begin. The caterpillar becomes totally dysfunctional and can not be recognized as a caterpillar any longer, only then can the butterfly emerge. Most of the changes are complex processes. There is a learning curve behind them. In order to make effective changes, you have to know the underneath structure and processes of your business, because they underpin the digital capabilities of the organization. In practice, a mature organization is one that can quickly and safely assess all of the consequences of a possible change and devise effective plans to provide a combination approach for having both sense of urgency and overcoming change curve, to achieve and sustain those changes - and to do them continuously.

Change reaches the inflection point when change leaders master both the psychological and technical processes behind changes: While there is a need for inside out approach and outside in approach to change, it is critical to making personal transformation at the core of the change process. Any strategy and model have limited utility unless each individual decides to change, owns the process of change, and take the adventure into inner landscapes. No change can be forced, let it unfold. Having learning curve awareness means that we have to engage our sixth sense to decipher when to make the change, and to discern what to throw out and what to keep. A change management facilitator needs to be a "Non-Doer" as expressed in Tao. The challenge is to "Talk the Walk," rather than "Walk the Talk," in other words, practice first then share.

Change reaches inflection point when strategy management and change management go together cohesively: Change can be an opportunity, but at the end of the day, it needs to be all about moving the business numbers upwards. In other words, strategy management and change management need to go hand in hand. Although we have to change with the "tide," we have to stand firm on our principles which would guide us in our decisions and how we relate to others. Top leadership team often “owns” and make a huge impact on business culture. Thus, leaders who listen well and provides ample room for culture development and actively develop and advocate an authentic culture can lead changes effectively. Change is inevitable, but we must know how far to bend. Because we are not perfect and even our plans will need modification due to unforeseen obstacles. Different procedure and owners of processes are different. You will hit problems with the change management when the project moves from the design phase to exploration. But most important of all, you need to have a plan. Set out goals and work at them in a systematic way. Setting timelines, and sometimes resetting those timelines are all important. Further, if you want meaningful change in an organization, it will not really happen until you get buy-in and sponsorship from senior management. Without this, you will get chaos and some temporary change, but not change that moves the business forward. Change reaches the inflection point when strategy management and change management go in harmony.

Many forward-looking organizations are at the inflection point of digital transformation. Businesses today need nothing less than a paradigm shift in their thinking about the fundamentals of how organizations work to build an authentic culture and an engaging workforce. It implies the full-scale changes in the way the business is conducted, such as mindset, talent, skills, capabilities, processes, technologies, with the goals to build a high-effective, high-responsive, high-intelligent and high mature digital organization.


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