Wednesday, December 20, 2017

CIOs as Change Agents: Mastering Change to Create Winning Digital Dynamic

The successful businesses are the ones that can manage change fluently in a structural way. 

Compared to the business world decades ago, the speed of change is increasing, digital disruptions are frequent, information is growing exponentially, and the digital ecosystem has become more dynamic, complex, and hyperconnected. The successful businesses are the ones that can manage change fluently, and master changes to create a winning digital dynamic in a structural way.

Understand the essence of changes: 
Change is dynamic. There are small changes such as process optimization or software update or radical changes such as digitalization; there are internal change and external environment changes; there are proactive changes and dynamic changes. Proactive change implies anticipation of changes, either external or internal, that will affect the company. Reactive change is adaptive to change that has already occurred or is underway. There are organizational change, technological change, and behavioral change. Change should never for its own sake, it is about getting better at what you do, or be able to do something differently. The clear goals for "change" should focus on betterment, forward-looking and upward improvement. Too often changes are made as a reaction to outer impulses, crisis, and demands, this is the bureaucracy’s way of meeting the challenges. Understanding the essence of changes is critical to improving the success rate of change management. Because sometimes change is the problem, sometimes lack of change is the problem, often the lack of clarity to discern the difference is the problem. Sometimes the problem is the inability to perceive a change in the environment and adapt when conditions require it. Sometimes the problem is with the ability to plan and manage change in a structural way. The most important factor for positive change is flexibility in planning, well preparation for inevitable change, systematic processes to manage change, clearly defined roles, and responsibilities, and have an authority to adapt and act as reality changes plans.

Focus on intangibles: There are both tangible and intangible factors in Change Management. Many companies and "managers" focus on the tangibles, but they lack an in-depth understanding of the intangible elements in change management, just getting them to consider the list of intangibles business elements would be a breakthrough. There is a full cycle of emotions behind the change, and engaging around change is a far deeper and more difficult process. People fear what they don’t understand. People make assumptions based on their own experiences and perceptions. Change requires the management of people’s anxiety and confusion or conversely stimulates their excitement and engagement. It includes listening and understanding the realities that people face, with the multiple 'realities' that represent their 'truth' as much as it does in conveying information. Thus, change management needs to work on connecting with people at an emotional and a rational level and working out the best way to meet multiple needs within a change process. Neither change nor resistance to change is a problem. Instead, leadership, communication, culture, and engagement are the intangibles or the “soft factors,” to successful change or lack thereof is the problem. Well planned Change Management with a comprehensible understanding of both tangible and intangibles will greatly reduce and practically eliminate the fear of change that derails good or even great intentions, and have a better opportunity to achieve business and customer expectations.

Embed creativity as the change mechanism: Change should be viewed as an "opportunity." It's the opportunity for either solving business problems, improving productivity, cutting costs or optimizing products/services/processes. Creativity is incredibly useful, both in terms of making an impact with change management communications and developing change management tactics. Too often, businesses try to make a difference by shaking the old bottle, stirring up the existing structures and patterns, without shifting either the bottle or the content. Or they try to condition to the circumstances, still dancing with the same partner; in a context where the answer is to change the fundamental premises with creativity. In many cases, organizational change is to encourage creativity, the digital dynamic ecosystem explicitly seeks to create a holistic and creative environment where people can grow, innovate, and businesses focus on dynamic resources, long-term perspective, scalable performance, and harmonized relationship. To achieve the desired change, an organization must create an environment that enables effective collaboration, shares and promotes ideas, and provides necessary incentives for employees. The digital workplace can be provocative, passionate, really intrinsically motivated about and courageous enough to implement or execute in new and unexpected ways, from letting go of the current reality to allowing an unknown future state to emerge, and manage change dynamically.

Change is not a one-time business initiative, but an ongoing business capability. The successful businesses are the ones that can manage change fluently in a structural way. They have learned WHY to change, WHEN change is called for, decide WHAT to change, WHO are change champions and changes agents, WHEN to change, and HOW to change effectively. They master change to create winning digital dynamic and build differentiated business competency.


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