Change – Closing The Capability Gap

Published July 13, 2023

Colin Dean d.velop AG

header blog change two employees with phone

It never rains, but it pours! Energy supply crisis, Cost-of-living crisis, Rising inflation and Food supply crisis. The effect these situations have had on the world and economies is profound. Then, whilst still reeling, the “spiders web” of interconnected global banking, again shudders with talk of banking system issues. Our global “new normal” is a return to basics – food, energy, security – problems the sophisticated, globalised world was thought to be able to resolve once and for all.

Change and Opportunities

However, these situations are not new to business and with disruption of this nature, comes opportunity. It does of course take vision and a high level of courage to address new markets or change direction. As an example, LEGO Group were evaluating their own business challenges. They analysed their own market and saw that their main competitors were not actually other toy products. It was in fact, NETFLIX and DISNEY. They were ring fencing their target customers time watching streaming TV services, so not playing with Lego. Their ingenious solution was to make Lego movies and video games resulting in $1.1 billion worldwide box office revenues to-date.

The LEGO example is an extreme. However, thinking out the box enables businesses to adapt. Intensifying their search for external and internal practices and processes, which can minimise cost and improve efficiency.

Change is never easy, especially in a large organisation. Whether you’re changing software, processes, or organisational structure. As scholars of “Who Moved My Cheese” will acknowledge:

  1. Thinking too much about your cheese might paralyse you, so just start looking.
  2. Nothing lasts forever, so keep your eyes open for approaching changes.
  3. You can always find new cheese and the minute you start moving, things will get better.

Managing change throughout your organisation does not necessarily need to be stressful, if managed correctly. Having the right processes and tools can help. Let’s take a look at some examples of identifying and resolving change management challenges.

My silo or yours?

As we all know, data and documents are central to our processes. We need them to be tightly controlled and appropriately reviewed. It is still amazing in this era of Cloud and SaaS, the number of organisations who still rely on shared drives, or shadow systems such as spreadsheets to run their businesses. The associated risk in respect of data loss, data quality and revision control, combined with inefficiency of operational performance, would keep most CEOs awake at night. The use of a SaaS DMS solution will remove operational silos and data exposure. Offering a secure environment, controlled access, ensure traceability and governance.

After you, No After You!

Most people do not like change. They are comfortable with the old tried and tested processes and systems. They have invested time to learn them and know how to circumnavigate when needed. Therefore, the biggest change management challenge issue is convincing your employees to accept the change.

This fear is real and has a name metathesiophobia. In fact, research shows that our brains see no difference between uncertainty and failure. That might sound dramatic, but it’s true! Our brains need to have answers and anticipate the next steps to feel successful. Before you can overcome resistance to change inside your organisation, you need to understand the cause. While there are many types of organisational change, employee pushback is fairly common and typically caused by one of these reasons:

  • Fear and low tolerance
  • Self-interest
  • Lack of Trust

There is a common theme related to the above reasons. Poor Communication!

It is critical that senior management must communicate the change process with the employees effectively, telling them why the need for change and making them aware of their benefits from the change. It is no secret that the most successful change programmes, always insure that employees are a critical part of the process. The use of internal communication tools such as an employee app are helpful for reaching and interacting with employees via mobile devices such as their own smartphone. Such simple tools are essential for modern organisations today to enable direct communication.

Things can only get better!

Let’s consider, the situation for the employees in the above Silo’s scenario. They all have their files on a shared drive or even better their own spreadsheet. They have to log onto different systems to access other information, then copy and paste but sometimes, they may have to re-key data. They believe that they have control of their own personal environment and day to day activities. Their “safe zone”. On the reverse, the business views the situation from a different position. It recognises exposure, poor governance, no audit and potentially, poor customer quality due to the lack of document and data control.

Let’s now examine a different scenario. In this approach, we are looking at a fully inclusive and well communicated situation, handled as a collaborative project. The business creates departmental “ambassadors”, who are supported by their colleagues to work with the business, reviewing and addressing process issues. The ambassadors, IT and the business all meet and start to mine the current processes using a process tool.

Current processes can be created, evaluated, issues addressed and reviewed. Importantly, integration to other critical business systems such as, ERP, CRM can be analysed. Enhanced levels of automation are introduced, allowing for more increased process control, less human error and an improved working environment for the employees. In many cases, employees do not need to leave their key working application for example Salesforce or SAP, as the integration is seamlessly incorporated as part of the working solution.

With this fully collaborative approach, all parties become part of an all-inclusive activity. They are able to provide a high level of insight into current processes, what is right, what could be improved and importantly, are able to communicate back to their departments on the benefits of such change.

Success factors for Change

We regularly hear businesses have significant skill shortages or organizations have reported difficulty hiring. Therefore, ensuring clear and regular communication with your employees, making day to day work activities more connected, is pivotal for companies to embrace change and retain happy employees.

Constant review of efficiency via process evaluation and in turn, cost control, will enable businesses to thrive during hard times. Importantly, they will be in a far better position to exploit opportunity as conditions improve.

Do you want to change your business?