“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent; it is the one most adaptable to change.” — Charles Darwin
We all know this universal truth behind the evolution of life on earth. This rule of nature is true not only for survival of species but also for survival of organizations. Look at how biomimicry works! With ever increasing pace and scale of change around us, the relevance of this statement is increasing day by day.
First, let us look at the pace of change. Ten years back, it was common for multi-national organizations to run 5 years change programs for initiatives like quote to cash ERP deployments country by country and supply chain re-engineering for lean operations. In today’s age, rate of change is too fast – it is no more evolutionary but revolutionary. Speed and capacity for information processing and connectivity is rocketing like a racehorse challenging the Moore’s Law. In five years, industry would look totally different. It is surprising to see that there are still organizations planning long transformation change programs in traditional way. If you ask these organizations, they say that their organization cannot take too much change in too less time. And they are absolutely right -organizations are not yet ready. We need to reinvent our organizations to make them change-friendly and kill the inertia mindset in the organization core. Continuous changes should flow in and stabilize as the new norm. How can we get our conventional organizations transform? The bridge is a series of successful change sprints one after another with full momentum following consistent change management methods. This works like training a machine learning algorithm. After several change exposures, an organization will learn the pattern to identify change triggers, evaluate the change and adapt itself to cope with the new way of operating. We will no longer need huge change programs then.
Now, let us look at the scale of change. In the past, industries had their own pace of changing and growing, but today there is a wildfire of change in all markets and no industry is spared to watch and wait. AI and Intelligent automation are transforming business operations via chatbots, RPA bots, digital twins, and platforms with API integrations. When investors shift to Socially Responsible Investing, organizations are forced to shift from pure profit mindset to responsible profit-mindset. Sustainability driven innovations like electric vehicles, renewable energy sources, biomass-based alternatives are all changing the equations in the industry posing new threats and opportunities to incumbents. Industries are converging shaking up organizations from head to toe. The playground is shifting with moving parts and the rules of game are changing radically. How can organizations evolve successful in this Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous (VUCA) world? An organization need to adapt from different dimensions to survive, tap all new opportunities and emerge as an industry leader. As customer needs and expectations changes, offerings and value propositions should change. As competitor dynamics change, partnership ecosystems should adapt. Organizations need to change in the way they think and operate.
When pace and scale of change is no more the same, the way we run transformation programs should no more the same too. We need to shift from huge and long transformation programs to parallel short sprints. We need to change from programs with well-defined boundaries to sprints connecting the moving parts. Change management should be in the radar of the executive management and should run deep into the veins & nerves of the organization. Our change program threads should continuously talk to each other and shift direction and scope as visibility increase. We need to trim down resources for maintaining the program army and add more muscles to connect insights from different initiatives and discover new targets for the next sprint.
To put it together, change management is turning more and more important than it was before and that is the key for an organization’s survival. As John F. Kennedy put it – “Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past and present are certain to miss the future”
Sininen Polku – We make changes happen for our customers!
Transformation and Change Management professional