No matter what industry you are in, your business is propped up on three pillars - People, processes, and technology. All three of these foundational elements carry their own weight in value, and if one of these pillars falls, the business is likely to tumble with it. However, without people, there can be neither processes nor technology. It is the people behind the business that operates on said processes and utilize said technology, and without the human aspect of this triangular foundation, processes and technology are simple inanimate objects.
Knowing the significance of the people on your team is one thing, but nurturing them as they walk through a big change in their day-to-day processes and technology will take your operational performance to new heights. So, let’s talk about organizational change management and the tactics you should incorporate into your digital transformation to ensure the people on your team cope well with their new normal.
As with any secret sauce, the base is simple: salt and pepper. When you’re in the initial phase of concocting your ingredients for a successful OCM strategy, it’s always best to keep it simple. Focus inwards and dial in on your team’s current state by conducting an organizational readiness assessment. This will help you determine where the change management pitfalls are likely to be and where you may need to pour into.
To do this, consider hosting some anonymous online surveys and focus groups with key employees and stakeholders. The key is not simply to ask if employees are ready for change – because most will say they are – but instead to look for underlying sources of resistance to change.
How can you tell from a survey or focus group that there will be resistance to change? Look for perceived lack of communication, poor cross-business coordination, fears surrounding other changes within the organization, and other root causes that will eventually manifest into resistance to your digital transformation project. Keep in mind that most resistance is unintentional and below the surface, so it takes experience to identify them.
Once you dial in on the root causes of resistance that your employees will likely show, target it. Sprinkle a bit of sugar over the things that might hold them back and make the new normal appear a bit sweeter. Focus on crafting your message around what’s in it for them and why they will be pleased with the new processes and technology coming down the pipeline.
Change is all about perception, and influence is birthed from perceived value. Think of crafting a change plan as a sales pitch, and that your goal is to empower your various levels of management, your individual contributors, and your frontline workers to own their specific role within the transformation. By taking this approach, you are not only ensuring that your initiatives are more successful, but you’re also encouraging a positive influence within your company’s subcultures.
For example, if an influencer in your accounting department is charged with becoming a subject matter expert for a new ERP system and tasked with training her team, this may create a more positive adoption experience as opposed to a senior member of the company directing the department to change their day to day procedures. It’s the carrot vs. stick methodology. We are inherently more likely to trust and embrace new recommendations or behaviors from peer influencers.
Mix these ingredients with the base, your company’s culture, and you’ll have an irresistible secret sauce that will drive your team to a successful software implementation. For more ideas on how you can ease the transition, your team will go through during a software implementation, feel free to reach out to me directly. I’m always happy to be an informal sounding board for your digital transformation journey.