I’ve always secretly thought that managing change was an oxymoron by definition. However, before all the change gurus reach for the comment button, can I just caveat that? Models, methodology and approaches are all valid in thinking about and planning for change. But can we really ‘manage’ it in today’s disruptive digital world. With that in mind I have a few thoughts on how ‘change management’ will need to evolve to keep pace with the speed of change
- Act Agile
One of the fundamental challenges to making change stick is the disconnect between agile technology delivery and legacy business processes. Unlike start-ups, most enterprises carry ‘organisational debt’ – processes and systems built up over long periods that contribute to the culture. Digital transformation programmes almost always involve a move to an agile delivery model but how many address ‘business agility’ alongside?Including the business architecture in the change scope may seem radical but if agile is to work long term then the business needs to reflect this too.
- Get Guerrilla
Change never goes to plan so why do we bother planning it? Of course there are tools to help build understanding of the impact of change and the responses to it, however, the road to the benefits of change is winding. Borrowing again from the software development world, the concept of the ‘hack’ can be applied to enable change in small incremental ways. For example, simple hacks include tweaking the wording in a JD to attract a more diverse response, simply sharing information to enable a more transparent culture and helping others navigate the new digital landscape all contribute to the overall transformation. One of the most effective ways to enable change is simple translating – explaining the change to those who fear it, consistently talking about the benefits and most importantly respecting the past.
- Scale to C Suite
If we’re really serious about change and moving to an ‘agile business’ model, the leaders of organisations need to lead that charge. Providing those executives with the understanding, confidence and support to drive that requires strong relationships and trust. The change skills of the digital change practitioner not only include understanding agile methodologies but also coaching, partnering and reverse mentoring. It’s not enough to deliver a one time change, we must continually adapt our processes to understand the benefits of the shift and keep shifting!