Business Transformation needs a fresh pair of eyes
Businesses don’t improve by chance – they improve through change. That is why I love working with companies who want to transform their business, get better results, delight their clients and ensure their employees enjoy their jobs. What’s not to like?
Very often some sort of crisis – missed targets, poor profits, client dissatisfaction, inability to achieve SLA’s or lost custom – preceded the decision to transform. CEO’s and leadership teams can be so entrenched in the history and detail of the failure that they miss the point. That’s when it is useful to have a fresh pair of eyes come into your team, ask some awkward questions and cut through the politics like a hot knife through butter.
Where is the root cause of the problem?
A seasoned Change Facilitator will help you point the camera first at you and your leadership. They have had a disproportionate influence on the situation to date. Has it been a good one? What decisions that the team made caused the crisis? How and when were they made? Who has been pulling the strings? Do the current team have the requisite skills to improve the situation? Which skills are missing? This group of people need to face the harsh reality that change is required.
Harsh but simple questions can cut through reams of discussion, review and “workshops”. Is the product you’re flogging a dead horse? How can it be adapted or do we need a new one? Why are your costs too high? Why is this, that or the other non-negotiable? Surely everything is negotiable? Why is your problem a lack of skilled workers? Why is the culture of your company killing customer experience?
It was Mark Twain who said, “Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it’s time to pause and reflect.” A good Change Facilitator is not complacent and doesn’t always go with the flow.
It can be tough for the leadership team to face these questions at first, but a CEO who really believes that she can create positive results will encourage her team to accept and consider them with passion.
All elements will be connected
No one thing can change by itself, so the seasoned Change Facilitator will guide you through the related components. I like the Burke Litwin model, but there are many change models to choose from. Change has a domino effect through a business and so this feature of transformation is a crucial one. An understanding of the knock on effects to your clients, customers, employees, process and structure will help prepare you for change. Don’t underestimate the payback of time well spent here before defining your new strategy.
And don’t forget culture
The seasoned Change Facilitator will gently remind you about culture. Business culture reflects the realities of people working together every day and it is possible to create the culture that you know your business needs to give customers a great experience. If you don’t “drive” it, the business culture will develop itself, and you and your leadership team will remain in the passenger seat. Entrenched culture is remarkably difficult to change, and your leadership team will need to connect with the hearts and minds of your people and get them to understand the harsh reality that your business has to change.
If your new strategy is out of kilter with your company culture, it will fail. Culture defeats strategy every time!
Get a fresh pair of eyes on your team and some good change management advice from a facilitator who is just a tad disruptive before you plan, organise and motivate people to change your business.
Ruth is the owner of The Change Directors, a business designed to help you to navigate the process of change in your business. Ruth works with organisations, both in the UK and internationally, who want to transform the way that they work and the successes they achieve through their people. You can contact her on 07976 509 551.