Saturday, February 16, 2019

Driving Change with a Full Cycle of “Forming, Storming, Norming, Performing, and Transforming”

Communication, exemplification, and amplification of best practices are all crucial steps for a company to move from one level to another level of change maturity.

The digital era upon us is all about the increasing pace of changes, technology-driven disruptions, and "always-on" businesses with blurred functional, business, or industry territories. Going digital is about breaking down silos, applying the holistic digital management discipline to enter the next business growth cycle and expand organizational horizons to reach a higher level of business maturity. Organizational change management is not just about a few spontaneous businesses initiatives for reacting to business dynamic. It needs to drive changes systematically with a full cycle of “forming, storming, norming, performing, and transforming.”

Forming: The successful businesses are the ones that have learned why to change; when change is called for, how to decide what to change, and who will get involved. It’s import to form a change framework and take a systematic effort. Because you can’t just command changes from the top. You have to build change platforms for facilitating all invaluable change initiatives and effort, working with people across functions at all levels of the organization and having them motivated and inspired for changes. The change mechanism has to be woven into communication, process, and action of the organization, to navigate through the Change Management framework. Forming a well-structured Change Management framework with clear-defined stages, decision-making parameters, flexible organizational structure, metrics selections, and performance thresholds can significantly improve Change Management success rate.

Storming: The emergent digital dynamic is about hyperconnectivity, hyper-diversity, and hyper-dynamism. With the overwhelming growth of information and fast-paced changes, businesses have to face the frequent “digital storms” all the time. The exponential data makes information storms; the fierce competitions drive innovation storms, and the rapid change or continuous disruptions lead to the business transformation storm, etc. Moreover, these “digital storms” do not happen in isolation from each other in predictable ways. They might hit you concurrently and surprisingly. Thus, future mining perhaps helps the organization forecast and whether the storms skillfully. Successful organizations see digital storms coming and weave a solid umbrella for pre-planning, preventing risks, and taking the solid steps to move forward by adapting to changes effectively.

Norming: Change is the new normal. In the age of digitalization, any business can be at risk for survival at any minute due to continuous digital disruptions. Digital leaders and professionals must be comfortable with “VUCA” digital new normal. Though “norming” is not a passive activity, but a well-planned scenario. One of the key determinants of whether an organization can move to the digital new normal is the digital maturity of its people. People must adapt to change by minding cognitive or knowledge gaps and closing crucial blindspots. They must learn to use the new lens, acquire new thinking to gain fresh insight, norm the new circumstances and cultivate the new habit, to prepare for the new normal proactively.

Performing: Change is never for its own sake, performing and evaluating change involve first, accurately identifying where you are now. Then, clearly identifying where you want to be once the change is complete. To manage end-to-end change performance requires the necessity to be brutally honest and to establish clear, understandable and easily calculable metrics. The measurement needs to follow the “SMART” principle so that people can see what the outcome will look like throughout their journey of transition, including both a series of in-process measures and a set of final, desired outcome. If at some intermediate performing stage, change management measures something that is not congruent with the final outcome, and then dysfunctional behavior arises, change might not get sustained, and potentially diminishing the end-to-end change performance.

Transforming: From incremental change to business transforming is a leapfrog. Transformation is a radical change. It’s about "the company reinvented itself." It is a change to the fundamental business model itself. One reason that change initiatives fail so often is that companies attempt a level of change well beyond their predominant mindset and approach. Sometimes the transformation is necessary in order to cope with radical changes. To manage a large scale transformative change, communication, exemplification, and amplification of best practices are all crucial steps for a company to move from one level to another level of change maturity. Change is functional, but the transformation is structural. Change is the 'Now.' Transformation is a journey and needs a larger strategic investment. It requires step-function changes in tools, culture, leadership, and process, selects potentials, reforms them, then goes by such multiplicators to scale up change management practices and amplifies change influence.

Closer to reality is that change is continuously happening in such a dynamic environment of a company. The digital transformation is now spreading rapidly to enable organizations of all shapes and sizes to reinvent themselves. But it is a long journey. Make a seamless alignment with business architectures, structural design, and performance management. Drive change with a full cycle of “forming, storming, norming, performing, and transforming,” accelerates the change pendulum and leads to where you need to be for really making a significant impact.


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