Enabling Change Management to Work For You

If my prior post that uncovered the often-missed key to successful digital transformation piqued your interest, you may be wondering how do I actually deploy best practices for organizational change management? I would argue that successful organizational change takes three things: the change has to make sense to all stakeholders, it has to provide benefits stakeholders can understand, and the value has to be demonstrable. Otherwise, why do it?

First, change management is an “And,” not an “or.” On its own, change management is not enough, but combined with other disciplines, it’s becomes the equivalent of fuel for an airplane. It’s the thing that makes all systems come online and propel the organization forward. The project manager and development teams may deliver the greatest aircraft ever built. It may be a marvel of design, a wonder of technology, and the most aesthetically pleasing airframe to ever grace a hangar, but if it never takes off and never reaches its destination, or never carries a payload, then how great is it, really? Congratulations. It’s a brilliant engineering exercise that has failed to deliver its intended value. Planes are made to soar and so are digital transformation projects.

Traditionally, teams have focused on technical delivery as the key component for success and that is important. But we have to recognize that changes in technology often mean changes in processes – which in turn affects the way people do their work. And you might have noticed that people have a lot of opinions about how they do their work, so if you’re going to come in between them and the value they personally bring to the organization that is found in their work product, it had better add value to their process, rather than detract from it. It’s kind of like being the last speaker at a conference before the event happy hour. No matter what, you will be the talk of the happy hour. Only if your session fails to demonstrate value to attendees, they won’t be singing your praises. Whereas, if you inspire the audience and motivate them to create change, the happy hour will be buzzing with your name in proverbial shining lights and some percentage of them will go back to the office and implement your recommendations. When we ask people to change, inspiration is our number one tool to be effective.

The modern workplace is more democratized than it once was. Workers are more mobile and willing to shed poor leadership for the promise of something better. They are less bound by geography or lifelong commitment to just one career path and one employer over the course of their working years. Where leaders of yesteryear may have been able to issue an order and people followed them, effective leaders today are extending invitations for teams to join them in something greater and more meaningful than they could achieve on their own. These leaders listen and while they still make judgement calls and decide direction they take the time to include many voices in their decision making process as they know including multiple perspectives will provide them with the information they need to create better outcomes and faster innovation. For leaders today, it’s less about being the smartest one in the room and more about knowing how to perform due diligence on ideas to determine which ones are best for the short-term and long-term goals of the company. And then to inspire their teams and project stakeholders to get on board toward relentlessly bringing those ideas into fruition. In my experience, modern workers are gauging value from more than salary and bonuses. Culture matters. Innovation matters. A powerfully successful digital transformation experience sets the stage for a culture that thrives during change.

It’s in this modern environment with all of these other factors at work beyond a corporate strategy, a departmental objective and personal goals; we realize that people are truly the key to inspiring change; not technology. Skillful Change Managers can you help you navigate the difficult environment, changing workplace dynamics, and competing interests that can either propel your project forward or derail it entirely. It’s the difference between delivering vs. achieving. Delivering a project is the first step in success, not the last. Achieving adoption is the ultimate bar for success. Click here to learn more about our overall strategy.

If you would like to get your arms around how to create a successful digital transformation in your organization using cutting edge organizational change management methods, please schedule a meeting with our A-team.


Doug Reece

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Doug Reece | Client Executive

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