To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often.
“We live in a constantly changing world” is a line we hear all the time when talking about today’s technology advancements, but this statement has always been true. At any point in history, advancements of that era were cutting-edge. Technology and innovation has always been in a continuous state of progress, and the way business has conducted itself has evolved along with it. Companies who didn’t understand this or failed to take steps to adapt were left behind and became obsolete.
The difference between then and now is the speed of progress. It took 57 years from the time of invention for James Watt to improve the steam engine. It took 38 years for radio to reach 50 million users; 13 years for TV, and 4 years for the Internet to reach the same level of engagement. This rate doesn’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon.
Smarter thinking; smarter planning
Yet, it’s not only advancements in technology that drives a need for change in how businesses operate. Globalisation, economic uncertainty, energy and fuel prices all play their part too. With that in mind, organisations need to think ahead. Of course, this is no secret either; business transformation now has a prominent place on most corporate agendas. In fact, 93 percent of U.S.-based multinational companies are in some phase of changing their business models.
This desire to change does not automatically guarantee success. It is the need to change in the right ways, in smarter ways where achievement lies. But how do you decide what to change and guarantee that such change is adopted?
In this post we will look at some of the challenges inherent in becoming an adaptable organisation, and address the solutions that can help drive transformational change.
Unclear ways of thinking
A lot of the time, leadership groups can lack a proven way of thinking about the challenge of change. That’s not too surprising, given they each may come to the table with their own expertise and ideas for change (a HR director may want to focus on training or re-evaluating compensation; a CFO will wish to look at new financial measures; a marketing executive will be concerned with focusing on the consumer angle, etc.) Even with the right strategic and tactical plans, change management comes down to the human element. The position of the organisation’s values, behaviours, and culture (essentially, a clear way of thinking) is to encourage sought-after results.
Lack of accountability
Good ideas are not that hard to come by, the difficulty comes from turning those ideas into good practices. There needs to be accountability for this to happen, otherwise the good ideas remain simply as words on paper.
Resistance to modification
Actually implementing changes to any business is difficult – both for those who wish to turn their ideas into reality and for those who the changes impact most. Therefore, a structured approach that can be easily followed is imperative if actual change is going to take place and be sustained as your business continues to move forward.
Attaining return on investment (ROI)
This comes down to two main criteria: the first being the choice of correct initiatives or efficiencies that will have the most positive effect on the running of the business. The second is successfully implementing these all the way through to completion in a controlled manner in what is often a dynamic environment.
Strategic Delivery Capability (SDC)
An SDC allows your business to achieve its full potential by recognising what initiatives will have the most impact and put in place concrete steps to implement the change. Below is a six-point plan containing the core capabilities necessary to ensure transformational change for any organisation.
1. Strategy Alignment
It’s important you make your investment portfolio reflect strategic objectives. Articulate and focus your portfolio so that you are only carrying out projects and initiatives that correspond with your strategy.
2. Resource Alignment
You will have to allocate scarce resources to strategic initiatives. Clearly define the resources required to implement specific changes and model the impact this will have on business as usual.
3. Value Management
Maximize the value of changes while controlling costs. Understand the true budget for change, the benefits you expect, and build in concrete reporting mechanisms that allow both to be tracked.
Set a clear vision for bringing about change. Implement change leadership and controls that ensure responsibility alongside accountability and provide the authority to the right people to make decisions.
5. Delivery Management
This is about performing checks and balances to ensure real change is happening. Utilize Project Portfolio Management tools and approaches to coordinate, administrate and track the change work streams.
6. Change Enablement
Make sure changes are sustained. Build a change programme that addresses the human aspects of change as well as the structural, and create a change journey that is sustainable for the organisation and that you can visibly follow.
If your organisation needs to become more systematic and effective at implementing transformational or strategic change, please contact Program Framework to find out more about implementing our Strategic Delivery Capability.