“Real” Change Management – Digital Transformation

The comic strip goes something like this, “What if we don’t change at all … and something magical just happens?”.  While this humor exemplifies familiar levels of complacency, it is in reality the leading cause of organizational and digital transformation failure.  High levels of organizational complacency puts the overall organization “at risk” and has become an epitaph for many large sedentary companies.

Charles Darwin summarized it best:

“It is not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive, but those who can best manage change”

Moving the Organization

Moving an organization out of their comfort zone to achieve significant operational improvement requires several things: 1) a highly skilled change leader with a compelling vision, 2) a coalition of motivated change agents, and 3) a common Change Management methodology.  To many executives, organizational change appears simple in theory, however in practice it is quite complex and potentially frustrating. Compounding the problem, many executives frequently over-estimate their power and influence to make long-lasting change.  An executive’s ability to leverage both coercive and charismatic power to initiate change often leads to short-term operational gains that will ultimately dissipate over-time.

Past Failure

With an estimated 2/3 failure rate for digital transformation projects, most employees have either witnessed or been part of a failed change initiative.  For some organizations, the failure of past change or transformation initiatives means that people are already skeptical and pessimistic regarding the “why” of the change.  The ability to sell change to the organization is highly dependent on the credibility of the communicator along with whether the change is self-initiated (internal) or comes about from market forces (external).  It is far easier to emotionally engage staff in the change effort when external threats or risk factors are self-evident.

Common Language of Change

There are countless tenants and methodologies that address the various psychological and structural stages of organizational change.   Several of the modern Change Management models such as Kubler-Ross’ Change Curve, Kotter’s 8 Step Process and the ADKAR model all provide excellent theoretical value as well as practical tips for implementing change.   From a project team perspective, a major source of value is having all team members speaking the same organizational change language and referring a common methodology and set of best practices.  In general, each of these change management methodologies focus on three stages of change.

  • Creating a climate for change
  • Engaging the organization
  • Implementing and reinforcing the change

Each methodology, to various degrees, can be used as both a planning tool and a diagnostic tool to troubleshoot failing change initiatives.   In addition, each of these 3 methodologies address the building block nature of change initiatives and the potential risk of failure by not creating momentum for the desired change.

If your organization is considering a major organizational or digital transformation project or thinking about establishing a Change Management Center of Excellence (COE), HBSC can help.   For more information, please contact us at 800-970-7995 or email us at client-development@hbsconsult.com

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