The Cost of Change in an Organization
Today, businesses must maximize the use of technology to stay competitive in the market place. The fast evolution of technology compels businesses to constantly identify which technology to adopt that will help their operations. By technology I refer to technical advancements on hardware, software, work processes, development methodologies, tools, software platforms, etc. This technology can be leveraged to support your business outside or inside the company. Outside the organization, it can be used to improve your value proposition, customer satisfaction, objective, presence, reputation, and revenue. And, on the inside, technology can help improve processes, time-to-market and quality; reduce effort; and increase productivity and opportunity.
Adopting a new technology into your organization may imply changes in the way you have been operating. Change is hard. Change gets you outside of your comfort zone and requires dealing with uncertainty, ambiguity and the unknown. Regardless of the size of the change if it is not handled properly the results may not be as expected. Companies lose sight of their growth objectives by the cloudiness produced by short-term goals. Today, business success is determined by the sustainability of tasks the company is doing well and improving on those not producing the expected results. For these reasons when change is introduced it is necessary to keep in mind the following principles:
• Agreement - Agreeing that change is necessary
• Commitment - Committing at all organizational levels to drive the change
• Goals - Defining clear goals of the transformation and their successful outcome
• Investment - Investing time, effort, resources, and money to carry on the changes
• Patience - Being patient as the results of the change may not be immediate
Everyone in the organization needs to be aware of the issues and the changes necessary to improve. Denial of this need in an organization is one of the principal roadblocks to success. Businesses making the targets today are not guarantee to reach them long term if they keep operating in the same manner. The agreement to adopt change starts at the top and should be filtered through all areas of the company.
Commitment to change needs to be demonstrated daily by upper, middle, and lower management. They need to work with people so that they believe in the changes and should encourage the team to keep an open mind. All in the company need to see this as an opportunity to grow and develop further. Companies go wrong in this process when the initial enthusiasm withers because people lack the accountability and responsibility to carry-on. If the commitment is missing after starting the process an adverse effect could take place and it will not be long before it spreads negatively throughout the organization. Commitment to the 'change plan' needs to be supported passively and actively across the organization.
To initiate the change process a company needs to be clear on the purpose, reasons, and objectives of the change. A well-planned strategy needs to be put together to determine the extent of the change necessary to reach the desired goals. Milestones need to be set to track progress and monitoring needs to be implemented to ensure constant progress is being made. Lack of clarity and understanding would make it harder for the change to have the desired effects. People in the organization need to be able to visualize the impact the changes will have in their work life and the results of their work output.
Change in any organization requires an investment of time, effort, resources, and money. Failing to invest the 'change process' will not be successful. All decision makers must back this investment primarily as their short-term decisions have direct impact on the outcome. Everyone needs to accept and participate in the change process. People across the organization should see this as an opportunity to grow and make an impact. This investment could also play positively into the company’s culture and progressive image.
In business, patience is a virtue that is often replaced by short-term goals. This can cause confusion in the organization and can be equally detrimental to the change process. It takes a leader to look out into the future to prepare an organization into maintaining the change process moving forward.
Companies need to stay competitive in a market where “time-is-of-the-essence” to deliver results. They need to be adapting, optimizing and refining their work processes around technology to ensure their product quality improves as they speed up delivery. Pressures to maintain aggressive short term and long term targets add stress to a sometimes-fragile organization ecosystem that could play against the desired results. Company leaders need to walk a fine line to ensure the proper balance is handled. Companies can focus on the present without forgetting to invest for the future.
Ricardo E. Martínez - Copyright © All Rights Reserved.