2021 will be the year of transition. The business world is changing at a fast pace: technology keeps evolving, customer trends are changing, new market regulations are being launched on a regular basis, and businesses have to cope with unprecedented global crises. Let's take a deep dive into what Continuous Change is all about.
Senzo Mbhele, Head of Employee Experience and Innovation, Tarsus Technology Group and Gary Pickford, Chief Commercial Officer, Tarsus Distribution
Companies that can't adapt and grab new growth opportunities are most likely to be outmaneuvered by agile competitors and even disappear. That's why preparing for change should be one of your top priorities.
Every organisation todayneeds to realise that we are permanently in a state of transition, moving from the traditional transactional core of the business towards the digital innovation that is disrupting almost every industry.
But what are the rules and best practices those organisations should follow to plan for change and be ready? Here are some the lessons that Tarsus Distribution has learned over the past year:
Put Transactional & Digital On The Same Agenda With Continuous Change
To survive in this digitally transforming world the executive team must have transactional processes and digital transformation on the same agenda. It was a lesson we learned, albeit not an easy one. Doing so helps everyone to realise that no one has all the answers, which is why it is necessary to have diverse people in your organisation contributing and adding to the conversation.
It’s a bottom-up and not a top-down process that requires cross-pollination of ideas, without which it is impossible to break out of traditional silos.
Accept That Continuous Change Is Good
Everyone talks about the need to prepare for change, but change is happening regardless; it is ongoing. The only thing that is different is the speed of change.Product, price, promotion, place, packaging, positioning and people are always changing.
What needs to happen now, is to ensure that each of these elements change at the same time, and that executives constantly and continually evaluate where the organisation is, where it wants to go and what needs to be amended for it to get there and remain relevant. It’s vital to have the rules in place that enable the organisation to pivot as and when it needs to.
Encourage People To Change Along With The Organisation
You can change all the systems you want, but if your people aren’t on board, the organisation will have major challenges. To gain buy-in, the executive team has to paint a truthful picture of what will happen if there is no change. This is not just about generating fear, however; it’s also about creating excitement about the future and what digital transformation will enable.
Right now, we need to do that with a sense of urgency. Complacency is not an option. This may require multiple meetings, when many people just want to get on with the transactional side of the business that pays the bills. But you have to find the time and the energy to drive this vision because the alternative is simply too unattractive to comprehend.
In our experience at Tarsus Distribution, it was like getting an extremely large glacier to move. Often, it did not look like anything was moving at all. But we kept on meeting, we continued talking; slowly, shifts began to happen, and we started to gain momentum. It was exciting to see and to feel.
Do Not Delegate Digital Transformation
The executive team has to lead the way to digital transformation. We made the mistake early on of delegating digital transformation to one division. Once we got everyone around the table in the same room, we succeeded in having different approaches and mindsets beginning to come together. Our success lay in having every individual in every meeting, observing every single manual process that was inefficient, and looking out for as many digital opportunities as possible – as a collective.
Once thetransactional leadership team and the digital leadership team began to collaborate, people started listening to each other and realising that the correct solutions lay somewhere in the middle of what both were proposing.
Creating A Change Management Framework
A change management framework is a process, a structure to follow when generating insights and a plan for change in your organisation. It helps the organisation to evaluate how ready you are for change. Skip that process, and you will experience pain later.
A critical component of this framework is ensuring that the objective remains focused on a value proposition that is in turn focused on the customer – the internal or the external customer. Another critical aspect is to agree on a measurable result that the team expects from the process. When you implement digital transformation projects, it is important to measure the desired result with predefined metrics that the team agreed to.
The framework helps to outline where you are and what needs to happen to get the organisation to its destination. We like to think of each step in the framework as a cat’s eye that makes every small part of the road ahead more easily visible to the driver.
What to know more about continuous change? Click here to read a great article we found on why it makes sense.