“I can’t change the direction of the wind. But I can adjust my sails.” — Anonymous
People experience change in a very personal way; no matter if the organisation is fighting to survive or at the top of a growth curve. They need to do things differently or stop what they have been doing. Tomorrow’s uncertainty, confusion and vagueness replaces yesterday’s predictable and stable environment. In spite of logic, creativity, planning, business rationale and strategies associated with the change, it all boils down to employees doing different things in different ways. This results in an instinctive emotional negative and unproductive reaction from all involved.
However, there is a bridge between the old and the new – a way to help managers and employers cope in times of change. In its simplest form, change always has a “from”-state and a “to”-state. The organisation changes FROM a national coverage model TO an international coverage model. The organisation changes FROM a centralised service approach TO a de-centralised service approach. The first building block to a new state of predictability is to understand the dynamics of the change.
With the SystemicLogic Transformational Roadmap, we firstly assess and determine the macro impact of a particular change from the following points of view:
- Business (products, services, organisational structure and business process),
- Technology (applications and infrastructure),
- Governance, and
The next building block is to help employees understand the micro impact of the change, the reality of the change – how it affects them. This helps move employees from the instinctive unproductive responses such as “Things were better back when….” or “There’s nothing I can do about that” to firstly acknowledge their loss and secondly to make a conscious decision to cope; to remain positive and productive.
After understanding the high-level macro impact of the change, employees need to refocus on the “from-to” in their own micro environment, on a grass roots level.
- Are our objectives changing?
- Are my customers different?
- Do I serve my customers differently?
- How do I measure my success?
- How do I do my new job?
- Do we require fewer people to do the work?
- Do I need new tools to do the work?
Once again, we use the SystemicLogic Transformational Roadmap as a guideline to identify and analyse the micro level granularity of the change. In the example of an organisational restructure, the roadmap guides us to carefully consider the following aspects:
- Organogram changes (aligning with product and service offerings as well as the business drivers or strategic objectives),
- Role changes (aligning with business functions, which integrates with the product hierarchy and the high level process design),
- Skills profile requirements (with possible skills inventory and gap analysis)
If the specific organisational restructure impacts on business processes on a macro level, the micro analysis could also consider the following additional aspects:
- Technology application drivers and application portfolio impacts; and
- Detailed process design updates, which may include updated information requirements.
This micro level information helps us to find the rainbow – the opportunity. Knowing where people can shine, what they can learn and what impact they can make replaces negative, unproductive thinking. This provides critical information to the manager in order to gather enthusiasm and energy towards the new direction. People are able to quit talking and begin doing.
Sure, there will always be uncertainty, which we need to manage through careful collaboration and keeping the customer in mind.
“If you want to build a ship, don’t herd people together to collect wood and don’t assign those tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea.” – Antione de Saint-Exupery
Can you afford to do it any other way?