By Ray Bell, Chief Technology Officer at inTec Business Solutions
Having recently published my first blog on the subject of finding a new senior role, I have felt suitably inspired by the feedback from respected contacts to attempt a second article...
Amongst the positive comments, it was rightly pointed out that my previous effort was a tad long winded and I had therefore promised to be more succinct this time. However, given I have chosen the subject of Effective Business Change for my second attempt, a subject on which I sometimes think I could write a book on, that may be somewhat optimistic.
Anyway, here are the first five of my Top 10 hints on Effective Business Change!
1. Spend some time explaining "why" we are changing and "how" change will be managed.
It's not just about communicating "what" & "when" the business is changing. This was brought home to me at an Away Day a couple of years back where I asked the attendees in the room to list words that they associate with change. This list included words such as Progress, Flexible, Fresh, Improve, Opportunistic, Differentiate as well as words such as Costly, Disruptive, Risky, Divisive, Distraction, Time Consuming! There are few experiences in business or life that conjure up as many differing emotions as change. It is therefore important to understand the fear and expectation of change if you want to bring people along with you on the journey. Explaining the "why" and "how" will go some way towards this.
2. Set out a clear vision that everyone can buy into
Whether it be a future organisational structure, a desired customer experience or a strategic goal, it always helps to understand the end vision. This will act as a constant reference/check point throughout the journey - to help as decisions are being made and priorities analysed. Involve your key people in the design of the vision, document it and share it.
3. Identify upfront how success will be measured
With the vision or target documented, you can then define what success looks like and how it will be measured. This can be based on traditional financial or business plan KPIs but I would also suggest including a) a "business efficiency" measure such as Cost to Serve and b) a Customer/User Experience KPI i.e. Satisfaction survey, Churn analysis, Complaints statistics,
4. Engage your key people to plan and support the change programme and give them the necessary time and head-space away from the day job.
This is not just about including senior managers or team leaders but should also tap into the experience and knowledge of any "influencers" across the organisation as well as a representation of team members from the sharp end of customer interaction and business processes. Their involvement should be from the Vision stage all the way through to Implementation.
5. Publish a business wide change structure that everyone can understand and contribute to
A successfully structured change programme will be one that is broken into clearly defined work streams and with the flexibility to listen out for new ideas, issues and feedback as the change activity progresses. Everyone in the organisation should know where the change projects are up to and how they can get a new idea on the table.
... Part Two is now live!