Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Take the Logical Scenario to Go Digital

Driving paradigm shift is not a passive activity, it’s a proactive pursuit and it takes the logical scenario to go digital.

Digitalization is the radical change. Closer to reality is that 'change' is continuously happening in the macro environment of a company. We are living in a complex world in which inventions, developments, disruptions, and conflicts are continuously changing and that makes it impossible to have the complete knowledge and understanding of many issues facing ever-changing businesses dynamic today. The more complex the change is, the more comprehensive the changing scenario needs to be. Organizational change is a complex human-centric process and management science. Digitalization is the large-scale business transformation. It’s important to take the logical scenario, apply the right strategy and methodology, set out dynamic planning and manage changes in a systematic way.

Diagnose the situation to change: The purpose of digitalization is to make a significant difference in the overall levels of business performance and organizational maturity. Keep in mind, change should never for its own sake, it is about getting better at what you do, or be able to do something differently, to achieve higher than expected results. It’s important to figure out “WHY” part of changes, all communications, processes, resources, time, energy or money, etc, should directly relate back the big “WHY” of change. It’s important to establish the future state and understand the intended outcome of the future state. However, in practice, many companies focus too heavily on the “doing,” part, they lose the sight of the “purpose,” the big “why” part of changes. Further, too often changes are made as a reaction to outer impulses, crisis, and demands. This is the bureaucracy’s way of meeting the challenges. With increasing paces of changes, Change Management should become a common practice and strategic function to reach its full advantage. By communicating with “WHY” and creating a team sense, digital leaders can overcome resistance to change. In short, the more people know about the change, the more they feel it is necessary and urgent, the more they accept the change and management can take the proactive approach to drive changes smoothly.

Shape the structure to enable change: The radical change such as digitalization is not an isolated effort or silo management discipline. To make effective organizational scope changes, you have to maintain and fix any imbalance in key business factors such as people, organizational structure, process, and technology, etc, by establishing a cross-functional change team to involve the management of different business functions. The digital balance will need to have some combinations of structural design and incentives. Digital favors hybrid solutions, organizational hierarchy, relationship structure, and virtual collaboration platforms wrap around to ensure accountability, enforce communication, improve transparency, keep information flow and accelerate the speed of changes. Flatter organizational structures will help to speed up organizational responses to change markets. The digital organization is the living thing, just like our natural world, the membrane around every living cell is neither solid nor water. Rather, it’s a delicate balance between solid and liquid. It’s solid enough to hold some sort of form and liquid enough to allow movement in and out of the cell so that the cell can interact with its environment. To make change smoothly, the digital organizational structure should be solid enough to give some sort of forms or meanings and open enough to its environment to allow the movement of people, ideas and information frictionlessly.

Fine-tune the process of changes, innovation, and digitalization: To adapt to the increasing speed of change and manage a smooth change continuum, organizations have to become nimbler about updating technology, optimizing processes and making continuous change deliveries. Too often, the large scale of change, or digital transformation is acted on the basis of improving one part of an organization at the expense of other parts of the organization. Thus, to improve change effectiveness, the change processes need to be integral, dynamic, and people-centric, they shouldn’t be too rigid or overly prescribed, otherwise, it could create the bottleneck of streamlining change scenario. Change Management process must be open to new insights and adaptable to the emerging events. For large-scale changes such as digitalization, it’s important to establish a cross-functional change team to involve the management of different business functions, space and time are made to scope, plan, and execute, not through ad-hoc activities. There is a need to delegate roles and responsibilities of the process and have a strong honest communication plan in place. Make each individual feel responsible for the success of the plan. It’s important to have the team own a process by bringing them in early and getting their involvement in creating the process. All stages must be handled with attention and proficiency to ensure change management success.

Spot Change Agents and innovators: Change Management is about mentoring the human side of the business through profound and unsettling changes. People are often the root cause of change as well as the driving force to changes. Change leader is a key role that should always be part of the team. It represents the political will to go for the change. Without effective leadership, change failed or was at least delayed in a very costly way. One of the change pitfalls is that even the people who are advocating change are resistant to change, and sometimes leaders do not set a good example to become change players. It's critical to spot change agents and rejuvenate the culture for change. The real skill of a Change Agent is the ability to play any role and know which to play, and when, and how to play, act as the "voice of the business," and be the conduit into the business to help with communication, process, and organizational changes. Sometimes the middle-level change managers don’t have the big picture business oversight, since they have been silo functional managers and get stuck in the comfort zone for so long, and don’t really have the vision, competency, or personality traits to lead change and transformation. To improve the change success rate, understanding the learning curve needs to be the prerequisite to ensure change success. The learning curve is applicable to everyone even those who planned and conceived the vision for change. Thus, change requires tools, training, and practices in order for the participants to feel comfortable that the service level they provide will continue to improve with the same or reduced effort. Creating positive change is a joint effort, a joint responsibility, that goes beyond the inspirational change leaders and the relentless change agents. It needs to involve your entire team at all levels and groom more change agents.

Assess the result of change and digitalization: You can only manage what you measure. It also fits for Change Mangement. Organizations often fail to measure change progress. When the need for change becomes apparent, the management should turn the spotlight on measures and incentives as drivers of behavior, creators of sub-optimal decisions and the eventual poor outcomes. Quantitative measures do play a valuable part in assessing, measuring, and quantifying change effort. The change management should make a measurement assessment by questioning: Can you clearly identify where you want to be once the change is complete? How do you design metrics to measure what changes are and how these changes are measured? What is the relevant metrics and how can they be quantified and validated? How to establish clarified understandable, and easily calculable metrics, etc. The problem with many KPIs is that they are created and applied at a subordinate level without taking into consideration the possible implications for the organization as a whole. This way too often leads to suboptimal decisions or silo change management approach which are detrimental to overall business performance.

The speed of change is increasing, and the digital ecosystem has become more complex and dynamic. Successful organizations see changes coming and with preplanning to overcome the resistance before it even manifests, and build change as the differentiated business competency. Driving paradigm shift is not a passive activity, it’s a proactive pursuit and it takes the logical scenario to go digital.


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