Do you avoid a digital change because you’re worried how staff will react? Concerned about failure due to push back? Are you putting a digital change off because you feel exhausted just thinking about the effort involved?
Rogan Hounsell-Roberts was a founder of a successful scale-up; has helped organisations across many sectors achieve success; a founder of KR5 Consulting; and passionate to help ambitious business leaders succeed.
Let’s face it, digital change isn’t easy. For example, you’ve a fifty-fifty chance of an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) or Customer Relationship Management (CRM) project failing. The common reasons for failure aren’t technical: It’s typically related to people; it’s getting the engagement.
Digital change management
This three-part series “Preparing for Digital Transformation” helps senior leaders think about those initial steps. Our first article “Make change happen to transform your business” described how to get the ball rolling. This article looks at engaging the team in digital change. Finally, in part-three we look at the importance of “Communicating Digital Transformation”.
When introducing a digital change, how can we improve our chances of success?
#1 Explain ‘Why’ to your team
Change takes time and energy. We all need to know the reason for the disruption to our busy and often stressful lives. For example, think about the disruption of changing your kitchen. During the work, it’s inconvenient. You can’t follow your normal routine. Before we start disrupting peoples work patterns it helps to have a common vision of the outcome. In the case of a kitchen, you can imagine how it’s going to make life easier and look good.
#2 Get people involved in change
Just as changing a kitchen impacts everyone in the house, we need to understand that digital change can impact different people and parts of the business. If I decided to paint the kitchen without involving others in the family, I don’t think I’d be very popular: I might not choose the right colour; others may have bigger plans; and it might not fit in with their schedules. Understanding who will be impacted and getting them involved in shaping the outcome draws out ideas, and helps people plan any adjustments.
#3 Address digital concerns
Linked to getting people involved is to draw out any concerns. During a change you may get some initial resistance, for example they may like the way it is, or simply don’t relish the disruption. Understanding concerns is an important part of managing a digital change. We all want to feel that we’re valued, felt, and understood. Consultation is key to addressing concerns and avoid issues that might cause problems later. This also helps understand potential emotions in play – see “Kübler-Ross model (five stages of grief)”.
#4 Show the route to transformation
No one likes uncertainty. We want to know how we’ll get things done with a new system, what it will look like, how it will feel. This is also useful to ensure that the digital change doesn’t result in going backwards: It has to do everything that’s needed otherwise you’ll never migrate from the old way to the new way of doing things. See also “Information at your Fingertips: Making Faster Decisions”.
I can understand and relate to avoiding making changes, and I’m as guilty of that as the next person. However, if there’s a good reason to do it, then don’t avoid moving it forward because you’re worried about push back or disruption. Do follow a process to engage your team and others. Understanding how people feel about the change can result in fresh ideas and positive engagement. Following a process will remove that uncertainty and help make positive steps forward.
KR5 Consulting help businesses to deliver more value, faster and at less cost. We learn what makes your business tick so we can help you with digital technology solutions that work for you. Our job is to help you move faster, increase profits, scale-up, acquire customers and beat the competition.
If you’d like to explore the ideas in this article further or need help and advice, please contact Rogan at firstname.lastname@example.org – to arrange an informal chat.
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