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Transformation starts from within

by StayRelevant
17th September 2018

We talk a lot about transformation. Too much in fact. We change things by acting, not by talking.

The fundamentals of continuous transformation are clear: Because we know things move fast, we want to be vigilant and regularly review and understand what it means to be relevant today. This allows us to make all the necessary changes to continue to be relevant to our customers.

When it comes to execution, we find a complex business paradox. On the one hand, many business leaders think their team is not ready to bring them forward with this new way of thinking and working. On the other, many employees wish their organisations would support them in reinventing themselves and are anxious about the fact their jobs are becoming less and less relevant.

While the world keeps moving fast, many companies are trapped on a loss-loss arrangement with their employees. For those who see themselves reflected on this challenge, it is essential to understand the reasons that brought us all here.

1. Current organisations were set up in a time when change was significantly slower and not so radical. Companies had to adjust their strategy, product or services line up and customer experience, but this could be planned and executed, say once a year. There was time for it, and it was the responsibility of a few, mainly senior management and the product teams. The rest of the organisation focused on their functions with little or no intervention, or even knowledge about this.

2. Changes in the way we work and the importance of technology are creating a knowledge gap affecting current employees. Companies find difficulty attracting specific skills and current employees feel the impact of change in their employability.

3. Operational pressure makes this transition even harder. Optimising productivity leaves little room for transforming roles and skills in line with new needs and reality.

The next business revolution comes from changing the way we partner with other companies and how companies get organised internally. Building innovation that does not exist today requires open collaboration. Understanding and reacting fast to new needs requires all persons in the organisation to focus on experimentation, participate in innovation and do so as part of virtual teams.

By the way, this revolution has already started. It is the way many digital companies work today, and it allows them to move fast.

One thing we know for sure, internal knowledge is critical to success. Let me give you some examples. When we look at optimising results by creating and training algorithms, it all starts with the internal know-how about how we work and the industry. To take advantage of data to improve our service or accuracy, we know the best combination comes from internal employees and artificial intelligence joining forces and not competing with or replacing each other. Innovation execution works best when we make use of internal expertise.

To keep their internal knowledge in, we need to help our teams to evolve and transform. This, in turn, can bring a new dimension to the roles of these employees positively affecting their engagement and motivation, creating a win-win scenario.

How do we get there? It is a combination of organisational transformation and team development. Both need to happen in parallel to see a positive result. Mind you; this is hard to do in real life since we all have a business to run.
Traditional consulting advise may not be enough without including the right element of project support to ensure the team gets the necessary confidence to lead to the change, we maintain momentum, execution takes place and learning continues.

It is a rewarding journey for companies and employees. It requires perseverance, direction and partnering with the right companies to make it happen.

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