Who needs Change management nowadays?

You need digital disruption management!
But where to start?

The world is changing and the internet is disrupting our lives and our businesses. Some businesses perceive these developments as a threat or a risk and as a result, they act defensive or remain passive. Some businesses perceive these developments as opportunities and start exploring areas for improvement.

In this blog, I will try to give some views on these developments but also give some guidance on how to unpack the challenges and opportunities to start exploring the migration path to become a digital organization.

The Internet is not magic

First of all, I want to make clear that although the internet is very convenient, it is also not magic. Google Maps is based on the same date as traditional maps, just with more features and functionalities and better accessibility. Booking.com is the digital version of the travel-catalogue but with more convenience in searching and booking. It is smart how these companies have explored the opportunities of digital but it is no magic and it did also not happen overnight. Of course, this kind of development has resulted in threats for certain business lines because nobody needs a map, encyclopaedia or catalogue any-longer these days. So there is indeed an impact on the printing business but most other activities like creating a map or hosting hotel guests, remain largely the same, just smarter and with more features.

The challenge is to explore

The first question that a business could ask themselves is whether they want to be in the lead or they want to follow. My view is that you should try to be in the lead but not get distracted by hypes or complexity beyond capability. This last comment relates to the hype around Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Blockchain that are likely to have an impact on many businesses but whereas investments and the associated risks are such that you can probably better wait until some universal tools have been developed that fit in your business model. In other words, follow the trend and understand the impact but instead of taking part in development, just see what ready-to-use tools will become available that you could use. For less complex developments or exploring ready-to-use tools (apps, software as service, etc.), it is recommended to see how this could add value to your business and embed as quick as possible.

The winner takes it all

Those companies that are fast in understanding the added value of digital developments and thereafter are also good in rapid deployment are building a competitive advantage that can hardly be bridged by other companies. Because of the cost-saving they made or added-value they created, they received additional cash-flow to get even further ahead of the curve. Amazon became big because they saw opportunities, they embedded quickly and used the cash flow for further exploration of digital opportunities. As a result, they were not profitable for a long time but the competitive advantage that they have achieved by now is such that they have the power to create a monopoly (if they want to but they have to be careful not to irritate regulators and the public opinion).

How to get there

Understanding the opportunities of the internet starts with

  1. Understanding your existing processes,
  2. Analysing your existing challenges,
  3. Observing the changing customer behaviour.

1. Understanding your existing processes

For your existing processes, you could check what the sources, usage and output of data are and whether any of these three could also be automated. This also includes monitoring devices and analysis. Most of the monitoring can be done remote or by sensors; most decision making that is rule-based can be automated. Designing and monitoring construction of a bridge is rule-based once you have an idea of the shape and usage so starting a design from scratch for every new bridge is such a waste if you could create templates and models where your customer can play with to see how your solution can help them.

2. Analysing your existing challenges

For your existing challenges, you have to be critical of the value added that is achieved by the effort you make. Most disruptors have found weak spots in existing business models and were able to come up with simple solutions that may not cater for all circumstances but with their simplicity and lower cost-base, they may be able to eat most of ‘your’ cake. Every step in the process should be explored whether it belongs to your core competency and is differentiating your company or whether it is a commodity or just a tool that can be outsourced to the cheapest provider.

3. Observing the changing customer behaviour

The last check that you could do is on the changing customer behaviour. Customers want to do less effort so you have to increase convenience, transparency and flexibility whatever your business line. You should be aware of how much customers know about your market and your suppliers as they are also globally connected. Therefore if you are somewhere an intermediary, you better make sure that you can explain what your added value is or you may have to change your role as your business is under threat.

Actions to be taken

After reading the above tips and tricks, you may get some ideas on where the action is required; however, the only thing you may still not know is what to action and how. The What-question can be easily answered by creating a brainstorming group of customers and/or employees, explaining your concern and asking them for solutions, having digital success stories in mind. You will probably get some ideas on what you could do and thereafter you should start doing some small-scale testing how these solutions could work in your organization.

Start always small as that allows for quicker feedback after which you decide to
a) do More as it worked and you see more potential;
b) Do Better as it did not work as expected but the reason could be that preparation and execution were poor;
c) Do Different as you do prefer to change rather than put more effort in the same solution;
Quick action, quick evaluation and quick improvements will always result in quick improvements as long as you know what you want to achieve as an innovator in a changing digital world!

Agile, lean, scrum, and other new techniques are being used in IT projects and there is a need to use similar principles also in other departments or organisations. No lengthy rigid strategic planning but the short-term implementation of changes for ongoing evaluation and improvement. Learning by doing but in a structured fashion such that the organisation becomes more flexible to adapt to a changing environment.

  • Need for Change Management? You mean how to Change Management!
  • The next level of Change management? Change enablement, allowing employees to change!
  • Lean, scrum, agile only for IT projects? Nonsense, the principals are universal!

Managing Disruption and Change

Management Master Mind is a platform that facilitates the exchange of today’s’ leadership opportunities/challenges and shares practical solutions. For the self-starters, there is a very structured and practical guideline as captured in the book on Behavioral Leadership. For those that like to get more examples of challenges and success stories, there is a blog for all five focus ambitions. Finally, there will be workshops, consulting and coaching for those that prefer more in-depth engagement and exchange.

The book on Behavioral Leadership

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A variety of easy-to-read articles that give more practical insights on the five ambitions that drive success.

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