Why do businesses find it difficult to make change happen? Still using spreadsheets and file sharing to run their business; email – the go-to for information; and never getting round to implementing a CRM or ERP.
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.
There’s a good reason why we can struggle to make change happen. You have to overcome inertia. If you’ve ever had to push a car, it’s much harder to get it moving than to keep it moving. If you don’t make change happen to move the business forward with new ways of working, then another business will!
This three-part series “Preparing for Digital Transformation” helps senior leaders think about those initial steps. This article covers getting things rolling. In Part-two we look at “Digital Change – Team motivation”. Finally, in part-three we look at the importance of “Communicating Digital Transformation”.
#1 Change requires commitment
Embracing change doesn’t come naturally, we’re all creatures of habit. It takes effort to move from the known into the unknown. It’s not just business. Having recently decorated our kitchen, change takes time, energy and causes disruption. According to research “14m families are living with unfinished improvements… and some put up with it for longer than three years”. Change requires commitment to see it through. If you don’t have time because you’re too busy, then it’s not going to happen. It has to be a priority, and there needs to be a sense of urgency.
#2 Make change a priority
Making change a priority is not straight forward. Most will think it’s a nice to have. That’s because there’s no short-term reason to change. If you don’t do it, everything carries on. The wheels don’t fall off. Unfortunately, this is a false sense of security because the world’s changing all the time. Failure to change will result in the business falling behind, little by little the business falls further behind. This cumulative effect usually results in a crisis at some point. The business will either fail or go through pain as it re-establishes itself.
#3 Understand why you need to change
Understanding the current situation is critical. Assess what’s changing outside the business to know how to adapt and discover new opportunities. For example, political changes such as Brexit, new regulations, and supply chain concerns all have a knock-on effect. In previous articles we’ve discussed how technology is more accessible to small businesses, which means those that don’t exploit those advantages will fall behind. See “Innovation of technology in Scale-ups”
#4 Build a Change Team
Making change happen takes lots of energy. Building a team is a good way to share the load and encourage each other. In a small business you’ll be asking your senior leaders to take time out from operations to lead the change. Having the different expertise and practical experience will help shape the future.
#5 Create a Vision
You’ve spent time understanding the need for change by looking at the current situation. You’ll be looking at where the business needs to adapt. As a team you might think about what the future might look like. You might consider the strengths of the organisation and the unfolding opportunities. This is a good time to build a vision of where you want to be. The vision drives you forward. Using a home improvement comparison, you imagine your future kitchen and keeping that in mind, you’re more willing to put the effort in, as well as accept the disruption!
You can make change happen by taking a realistic look at external change and deciding how the business needs to urgently adapt. Having decided how the business needs to adapt, building a team and create a vision to start the ball rolling.
We’ve written a FREE e-book to help senior leaders think about what digital transformation might look like for them. We state the three main drivers, we’ve a dozen (varied) examples, and given a few tips to show the kind of thinking that’s involved. Get the e-book Adapting to Change Download.
KR5 Consulting helps you move faster, increase profits, scale-up, acquire customers and beat the competition. We do this by designing digital technology solutions that work for you.
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.
If you’ve found this blog interesting or useful, please ‘like’, ‘comment’ or ‘share’ so it can help others too.