Change Management: 5 Principles for Smooth Digital Transformation

Change Management

Over the last decade, the business world has seen digital revolution that gradually expanded to bring almost every unit of the enterprise under its command.

This has largely led to two moves: organization has either begun digitizing their approach, slowly from one department to another or have taken a more radical approach, where they have gone 100% digital (moving to a virtual system).

Most companies today recognize that injecting technological developments into their operations can open way for new markets and initiate way for innovations.

Only those companies which can sync their life with the modern IT developments can stay strong in the business landscape. The spectrum of areas where going-digital is the norm includes product designing, market research, marketing, logistics and machinery, human resource management and aftersales support.

Not going digital is a business suicide in the coming times. Those enterprises that are future-smart, have got themselves ready to go digital.

Preparing for Digital Transformation with Change Management

Digital transformation implies a huge amount of change for the entire organization. Without carefully planning the path, enterprises are likely to face challenges, which can be avoided by proactive measures.

What is Change Management?

Gartner defines change management as “the automated support for development, rollout and maintenance of system components”. A more inclusive definition acknowledges the far-reaching impact of changes to the digital world of a company.  Broadly, change management is a structured approach to individuals, groups and companies which are under transition, towards a vision coupled with a strategy. Even though a certain digital program (like a new ERP or CRM solution) could directly pertain to a certain department, it can only be successful, provided it is aligned with the people, technology and processes involved in it.

This blog explores 5 principles, which govern a smooth change management.

Principle 1: Being Human – Involve the human resources of your company

The foremost goal of any change management program is to create a space where individuals can smoothly adapt to changes occurring in their environment. An organizational change management would not only stimulate user adoption but motivate employees to explore changes. Such motivation is often lacking in companies.  

If the need for a change and how such a change will be brought about is extensively discussed with employees, it will open a platform for team members to lay down their doubts.  If unaddressed, this could hinder their productivity.

The three main tasks during such a discussion is:

  • To perform a reality check and put forward persuasive case for change
  • To showcase that the company has technical and human resource power to reach the destination and
  • To provide a tentative road-map, which will guide decision-making process.

A formal model for bringing about change, starting with the leadership team and then, involving the primary stakeholders, should be prepared. However, such a model should be constantly revised as a need for change arises.

Principle 2: Being the Change – Let the change begin on Day 1, from the top

When a change is initiated, it unnerves all the units in an organization. In these times, the company staff looks up to its leader for support, motivation, and direct them towards the new way of life. While the process of change is underway, make sure the top-level employees in any organization are available for discussion and for responding to any doubts which might crop up. Neglecting any issue at this time, can pose a serious threat to the stability of an organization. The team should be open to communication, understand and believe in the need for change, understand the culture that the change intends to bring about and inculcate a sense of collective growth throughout the journey.

Company-wide digital transformation requires decentralized leaderships. Instead of a passive agreement about the change, there should be leaders who takes up responsibility for the change. Top-management team must design solutions for problems that are brought forth. Such solutions will include both mental (a sense of integrity, common destiny) and tangible (financial rewards) incentives.

Principle 3: Being Sensitive: The heart of any change is at the grass-roots!

The progress of any transformation throughout the organization reaches stages of target-setting, design and implementation. At each of these stages, different units of the company are influenced. Recognize the leaders in each department, who have the capacity to lead, make positive changes, design a change-plan and divert their focus on the transformation.

Principle 4: Being a Company-Citizen: Cultural Landscape

Beliefs and values along with the attitude and conduct towards work, when put together, makes the culture of a company. Change management leaders must remember that the psychology of a community to a high extent determines the output of any change. For this reason, office culture should be in line with the transformation intended in other areas of the company. The kind of culture the company intends to set up, models for social interaction, incentive and rewards system along with a large space for individual growth should be mapped and developed.

Principle 5: Being Proactive: Be prepared for the unexpected

There is no transformation story that does not encounter upheavals. Be prepared to face a series of speed breakers on the way, in the form of initial disagreement about the need for a change, reservations about the method employed to bring about this change, and the overwhelming task of aligning every individual with the transformation mission. Only when there is a co-existence of differences and openness to revision, will such missions succeed. Decisions will have to be constantly evaluated to see if they are directed towards the growth of the company.

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Author : Sahana Rajan Date : 13 Feb 2017