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Via CMS Wire : Change Management: The Key to Successful Digital Transformations

Companies of all types and sizes are investing heavily in the digitization of their business models. Driven by the changing consumer expectations that B2C digital juggernauts like Uber, Netflix and Amazon have created, many companies are investing in reimagining their business. To achieve relevance in what is being called the Fourth Industrial Revolution — the convergence of offline and digital, mobile, artificial intelligence, social and cloud — companies must be more customer focused, agile, lean and interactive.

Any digital transformation includes the following core ingredients:

  • Strategy — aligning vision, customer experience, processes and technology.
  • User-Centered Design — mobile first and personalized.
  • Agility in Delivery — iterative and adaptable.
  • Integration of Software, Platforms and Technology — choosing environments and products that harmonize.
  • Data, Analytics and Insights — constant feedback loop.
  • Product Design Mindset in Execution — minimal viable product and fail-fast mentality.

Despite knowledge of the integral elements of a successful digital transformation, a recent survey by Couchbase uncovered a nearly 90 percent failure rate by CIOs and technology leaders who have tried to execute digital transformation initiatives.

Researchers at McKinsey unpacked this trend in another way, ultimately highlighting the critical part change management plays in driving successful outcomes. However, they also found that most change management efforts fail because outdated models and change techniques are fundamentally misaligned with today’s dynamic business environment.

I have successfully applied the following change management approach both as a leader at a Fortune 500 company and as a consultant implementing large digital programs within Fortune 1000 companies. After you read this article, let’s talk about what has worked for you and what you’ll try next.

Invest in Change Management, Early and Often

As my definition of change management may differ from yours, for the purposes of this article let’s use the Prosci definition: “the process, tools and techniques to manage the people side of change to achieve a required business outcome.”

Also, as every organization that delivers digital programs has an implementation methodology, I will be using that of my company, “The 7Summits Way” (pictured below), to talk about the application of change management techniques throughout the implementation lifecycle of a digital transformation initiative. The elements can easily be pieced out and applied to whatever methodology your organization prefers.

The Stages of Digital Change Management

1. Prepare

Change management should be at the center of your digital transformation vision and “art of the possible” thinking. To garner the necessary support, leaders are often laser-focused in this phase on business intelligence and securing funding and resources against their grand plan. What is frequently missed is laying the right foundation for driving change from the start. Key change management activities here should include:

  • Developing a digital transformation charter that articulates your business goals and the strategies to achieve these goals.
  • Identifying executive stakeholders and functional change agents. They will be key to removing roadblocks and creating advocacy, if brought in early.
  • Creating or aligning with a center of excellence (COE) to manage all digital transformation efforts and the governance structure.
  • Maintaining a change backlog to start tracking and mitigating risks (e.g. end user adoption, employee resistance, retirement of legacy processes, etc.).

Your change goals during the Prepare phase are to create visibility for your program, activate change advocates, and document your biggest and most immediate risks.

2. Define

The Define phase typically involves selecting desired business outcomes, uncovering audience value through journey mapping, defining requirements, designing the user experience and solution elements, and documenting your execution roadmap. These are all key inputs to your change plan. Additional change management activities during the Define phase should include:

  • Holding regular steering meetings with your COE stakeholders, impacted functional leaders and change agents to refine your vision and plan.
  • Conducting an organizational readiness assessment that covers: team structure and sponsorship, governance, adoption, measurement and communication.
  • Hosting change management workshops that take inputs from your strategy (vision, objectives, KPIs, requirements, research, personas) and uncover insights, strategies and tactics needed to drive your change across your project lifecycle. These typically fall into categories such as: steering, resistance management, training, coaching plans, user feedback and measurement, content strategy and communications.

Your change goal during the Define phase is to identify key tactics that will drive your intended change by your target audiences and in what order (pre-launch, at launch, post-launch) they will be most impactful.

3. Design

Design is the phase in which the digital transformation blueprint is finalized. Wireframes, interactive prototypes, proof of concepts, high fidelity designs, solution architecture charts, integration mapping, and data modeling help bring the vision to life for a broader set of stakeholders. From a change perspective, this phase is when the inputs from the previous phases are formed into a plan that will inform your Build phase. Key activities should include:

  • Solidifying change team role definitions, workstreams and RACI.
  • Resolving business process impacts identified during requirements gathering.
  • Defining a measurement plan, including tangible KPIs.
  • Developing a content strategy and plan.
  • Designing a training plan that includes one to one, one to many and self-based learning.
  • Drafting a communication plan that builds excitement.

Your change goal during the Design phase is to activate your change workstreams to create their tactical work plans and schedules.

4. Build and Verify

While highly differentiated from a development perspective, the Build and Verify stages can be grouped when considering impactful change management approaches. Build and Verify is when your digital transformation becomes real as developers execute against your product backlog. This is also where change management fortitude begins to flounder.

Progress is easy to measure in terms of the development of working code, so the more intangible elements are often de-prioritized. Typically, in digital transformations destined for failure, leaders entering the Verify phase begin to organize a change management workstream. Successful organizations, on the other hand, merge their project management tools, combining requirements and user stories with the previously defined change management plans and tasks. Having one project management environment inclusive of requirements and business tasks forces collaboration and discussion between change leads, project managers, and developers. Change management activities should be included in the same planning sessions, reviews, and daily stand-ups as development items.

Key change activities at this point should include:

  • Sequencing change management tasks and deliverables.
  • Importing sequenced and assigned change management tasks into a shared project management environment.
  • Meeting regularly with product teams and developers to align change efforts with development realities.
  • Performing iterative development and quality assurance of all deliverables.
  • Holding feedback sessions to ensure your plan is relevant and resonating.
  • Monitoring and addressing the change backlog.
  • Executing pre-launch activities.

Your change goal during the Build and Verify phases is to collaborate with your development team and end users by adapting and executing the change management plan.

5. Launch

It’s time to Launch — congratulations! But the work is not over. The Launch phase is the most critical moment for any change management team. It’s time to drive the change and adoption of the digital tool. If change management has been properly integrated into the digital transformation initiative, your change team should have already completed most of the work. All of the Pre-Launch activities are completed, key stakeholders are trained, business processes have been created or adapted, and measurement plans are in place and awaiting user data. Key change management activities in the Launch phase include:

  • Executing the At Launch and Post Launch adoption tactics.
  • Shifting from a project management to program management governance model.
  • Listening, measuring and sharing feedback with product owners.
  • Monitoring and addressing the change backlog.

Your change goal in the Launch phase is setting up your organization for sustaining change.

The Key to Successful Digital Transformation

Digital transformation is key to the survival of many companies, yet digital transformations are tough and frequently fail. Without successful change management, digital transformation efforts will fail to deliver results.

Over the course of my career I’ve seen too many transformation efforts fail because there was a lack of resources, attention and awareness of the work required to effectively execute a change management plan. Companies that fail focus their time, attention and budget exclusively on program design and development. I encourage organizations to give an equal amount of effort and resource to change management. At the end of the day, change management is about getting people to use the tools you create for them so you can achieve true business value. Integrating these efforts into your digital transformation initiatives from kickoff through to launch will not guarantee success, but will stack the deck in your favor.

Via El Pais : Seven ways to overcome fear of change in the workplace

Change is an inherent part of life; the trick is to see it as an opportunity to challenge yourself and learn

Our brains are programmed for survival, not for happiness. That’s why change can often startle or overwhelm us. We see it as an attack on our precious “comfort zone” and become defensive. It’s curious because change is a natural part of our lives: the cells of our body renew themselves, nature transforms itself, yet we panic because of a department reshuffle or a new boss. So let’s see what we can do to find the positive side of change in our professional environment.

First of all, collect reliable information. If you want to feel overwhelmed, listen to rumors from the company or on social media. They are like the Ebola virus. Rumors get into our cellphones and work departments and set up shop. What’s more, there are purveyors of bad news who take genuine pleasure in alarming everyone. Listen but be skeptical. Look for other sources and compare information. It is very likely that what you hear on the grapevine is not going to happen at all.

Second, put things into perspective. Get some distance from the consequences that the change could have in your life. When we were younger we tortured ourselves over exams. But looking back now with the benefit of hindsight we see that they weren’t that important. A good way to do this is to follow the 10-10-10 rule: if this happens, what impact will it have in the next 10 minutes, 10 months or 10 years? Another option is to ask yourself a second question: what’s the worst that could happen?

Third, take action. Fear is a product of the mind that doesn’t stop churning over problems. Action subdues fear. When you see that a change is coming, take a step forward. Volunteer to lead the digitization process (if that is the case), to help with the restructuring process, or whatever the change may be. Put yourself in the learner’s seat. And if it looks bleak, at the very least you can update your CV and contact your friends. But don’t sit still. Think and act. This is the best way to reduce fear.

Fourth, surround yourself with people who have an optimistic approach to change. We are social beings and we learn by imitation. If you think you are not good at something, follow people you consider to be good role models. Don’t surround yourself by victim types who like to complain again and again about the same thing. Complaining for a bit is fine, but you should walk away after and look for the right mentors – the people who will inspire you.

Fifth, train the muscles of change. We can’t spend more than three years doing the same thing. We need to renew ourselves to avoid getting bored, to find new challenges and above all, to train our mind. Finding the upside of change is a skill that we can practice during calm moments at work and then introduce into our daily routines – like, for example, taking a different route home, trying a new flavor or listening to a different type of music. Whatever it may be, as long as it is different.

Sixth, find your “for who.” Sometimes seeing change as positive is not just good for us, it is also good for the people around us: colleagues, team, family… So when things get you down, think about someone important to you and take action for them. What would you like your children to say when this office shakeup is over? Or your siblings or friends?

And seventh, never forget that change is an inherent part of life and that we have the option to look at it as an opportunity to challenge ourselves and to learn, if we can follow these guidelines.

Via BizTimes : A comprehensive plan makes workplace change easier

Ease relocation stress by engaging staff in the planning process.

When it’s time to make a significant facility change for your business, whether it’s remodeling or re-locating, setting expectations and controlling perception is key to employee satisfaction with the new environment. Engaging in a detailed information-gathering process that includes listening sessions with employees is a great start to facilitating change and making employees feel valued. Embrace input from employees­—your staff knows what is needed to achieve great results. Engaging your staff early in the planning process is critical to helping them be more accepting of upcoming changes as they transition to a new environment.

Change doesn’t come easy. Humans are creatures of habit and our environment is an important element in our daily routine. A lot of our time is spent at work, an environment we become very familiar with, where we know what to expect. We also know the best route to take to get to work, the time it takes, and where we make stops along the way to manage our life. If you’re relocating, this all changes and creates understandable stress.

Address employee concerns

It’s helpful to work with a consultant that’s experienced in various methods to understand the attitudes and readiness for change within your company. These methods include, among other things, understanding the company vision and mission, employee surveys, an evaluation of current conditions, and pilot programs to test new strategies. The consultant assists in creating an action plan that includes addressing concerns, anxieties and expectations of the people affected. It’s important to focus on what employees gain, not what they will give up. A comprehensive communication plan should be specific and have an honest tone in messaging. It needs to answer who, what, when, where, why, and how.

This is a group effort. You will want to use the influencers within your own organization to help convey the message. Meet with them, explain what you’re trying to accomplish, and ask for help. Company leaders need to model new work behaviors desired in the new environment.

Create an action plan

When it’s time to get ready for a move, you need a comprehensive move plan that addresses phasing and logistics. You will need to identify move champions and coordinate team meetings to define things like how to purge, how to clean, how to pack, and the schedule for everything, including the actual move. It’s important to know the building rules and regulations and check the lease expiration for office equipment and services. There may be long-term storage, disposal or de-commissioning needs as well.

An experienced consultant will provide your team with valuable insight and checklists to guide them through the process and take some of the pressure off key members of your organization, minimizing disruption to normal workflow. The consultant’s expertise will help you increase employee satisfaction, maximizing the return on investment you’ve made for workplace change.

Via New Straits Times : Work, Matters! : Dealing with Change at the Workplace

I write this week’s column after a heady night of tracking the results of Malaysia’s fourteenth general elections.

I reiterate what I declared in my column last week; that I have no desire to influence you in anyway in terms of your inalienable right to make a choice to determine who represents you.

Malaysians have made their choice, and well done everyone, for coming out, and participating in the process of creating your own destiny.

Today, I would like to share a value-added proposition for your career.

Why do people have difficulty in dealing with change?

Change comes in a multitude of shapes, sizes, and under a variety of circumstances. From a workplace stand-point, change is often quite traumatic.

Whether your job has been dis-established, or a competitor has just out-maneuvered you for that position, or the environment has evolved as have the ways you used to do things; your ability to withstand change at the workplace, and to use it to your advantage, will depend on how you choose to recalibrate your thought processes.

As kids, the word “change” is mostly used on us as a form of a caution. My father used to warn me that if I didn’t change my attitude, he’d take some punitive action.

At work, bosses tend to use the word “change” in both explicit and implied terms, as a form of a threat. “If things don’t get better, I am going to make some big changes in our office!”

Perhaps this is why, we avoid change. It’s almost always inconvenient, and difficult.

While there are situations where you have to change because circumstances have changed; like if you face a personal loss, or a health crisis; most workplace changes are necessary because of the lack of results.

It is difficult to embrace change while you get whacked by its effects, but it serves you well to remember that change at work, happens because you are not producing the desired results.

The reality is that change rarely happens when people are happy, and are producing great outcomes.

Through my experiences as a management consultant and leadership coach, I have understood that accepting change is no fun, because everyone likes staying in their comfort zone.

But, it is not a difficult skill to learn. Once you start looking at change as a good thing, you’ll be amazed at some of the benefits that can follow.

Here are some ideas that will help you embrace change at work.

Connect deeply with the notion that change helps you grow. Changes will force you to adapt in ways that you have probably never experienced before. This is a major driver of personal and professional development.

You will find that when you accept that change helps you grow; your opinions and mindset will be challenged. You will realise that you need new ways to articulate who you are, and what you believe in. The idea of repeatedly doing the usual things, will no longer appeal to you. And, you will begin to use different approaches to dealing with your work-life.

Next, embracing change teaches you to be flexible.

Workplace flexibility is about changing or creating modifications in your thought processes to suit the new environment. Creating this personal workplace culture, means that you will be open to new ideas, and you will be able to work independently, or in teams, more effectively.

I can confirm without hesitation that employers are increasingly shifting from single roles to rotating roles, and offering flexible job descriptions. It’s a sought after skill, as it indicates that you can adjust to changing customer needs, and technology trends.

Finally, change offers you tremendous opportunities.

When you alter the way the way you think and work, opportunities will open up. This will have a cascading effect by providing you with more possibilities.

If you are going through a change in circumstance, and you do not waste your time resisting it, you will find that your mind begins to expand in ways that it hadn’t, before. You will be forced to find out about what you can handle, and what you can’t. You will begin to understand your limitations. And this realisation will push you to overcome your limitations.

Learning about yourself, including what you cannot handle, helps you to figure out better ways to manage your work-life. You will become open to the possibility of learning that what you did in the past will not work for your future.

I strongly recommend that you take change into your own hands by embracing it, and understanding how to deal with it, at the work-place.

In the end, you must want your work-life to produce results that add value to yourself, and to others. This will help you achieve that end.

Via Forbes : Workplace Matters: How To Make It Great

Everyone wants a great workplace. An environment where the work is both interesting and challenging. Where people collaborate to promote the worthy cause of terrific products or make-a-difference services. Where careers blossom and the bottom line thrives.

For more than two decades, Great Place to Work has produced annual lists of the 100 Best Companies to Work For. The lists are anything but arbitrary. They’re based on rigorous standards backed up by uncompromising research.

By now you know some of the players: companies like Adobe, Salesforce, Mercedes-Benz, Whole Foods, Marriott, American Express, Hyatt, Mars, Aflac, Nordstrom, FedEx. These and others have earned a coveted spot in the workplace hall of fame.

But as the song lyric says, the times they are a changin’.

The implication of change in the modern workplace is detailed in A Great Place to Work for All, a new book by Michael Bush, CEO of the Great Place to Work organization. He reveals the essential values and behaviors that every organization must follow to thrive in the future.

Rodger Dean Duncan: You begin your book by saying that what was good enough to be “great” 10 or 20 years ago is not good enough now. What has changed?

Michael Bush: It’s no longer good enough to have a great experience for just some of your people.

When I came on as CEO three years ago, I knew people at our 100 Best Companies who weren’t having a great experience. So we dug into our data. We found that even at the best, many people were being left out. They were experiencing a different organization than their colleagues.

We recognized the problem and took an approach to make sure that all people—women, people of color, of different nationalities, of different job levels—worked in a positive environment where they can thrive.

We raised the bar so that a company has to be consistently great. It has to be great not just for some, but for all. We did this not just because it’s the right thing to do. But because when a company is a great place to work for all, it brings out the best in everyone. That’s better for business.

Duncan: After decades of surveying tens of millions of workers in scores of industries, your organization added “maximizing human potential” to your measurement standards. What precipitated that change?

Bush: For one thing, we needed to take stock of the new economic landscape. This is a business climate defined by speed, social technologies and people expecting values besides value. For people to give your organization all of their potential they want respect, fairness, and some form of equity in return. If they aren’t getting these things the organization is getting a suboptimal return. This is the case in the majority of the companies we survey. The organizations that are maximizing this potential grow revenue four times faster than the companies that get less of this potential.

Secondly, we listened to our clients and the Best Workplaces we work with. They made this point too. Cisco’s executive chairman, John Chambers, for example, says the digital revolution requires companies to rely ever more on those on the front line. “Decisions will be made much further down in the organization at a fast pace,” he told us.

Finally, maximizing human potential is great all around. When all employees are at their best at work, it’s better for businesses, better for people and better for the world.

Duncan: There’s no doubt that trust fuels performance. What kind of behaviors build and maintain trust in the workplace?

Bush: Leaders are key. From executives down to front-line managers, leaders need to demonstrate respect, credibility and fairness to employees. Those are the building blocks of trust. Leaders increase trust every time they listen carefully to employees, live up to their word and treat all people in an even-handed way. The very best leaders—what we call “For All” leaders—also cultivate strong bonds with their teams, connect everyone to the mission of the organization, and spotlight team members’ successes.

Another trust-building behavior is providing everyone with opportunities to innovate. A great example is software company Adobe and its “Kickboxes.” These “personal innovation kits” are boxes with guidance inside on developing new ideas, a Starbucks gift card and $1,000 in seed money. Any employee can get one—no questions asked. About 2,000 Kickboxes have been given out in recent years, leading to new products and internal process improvements. Opportunities to innovate boosts your business and shows employees you trust them to do great things.

Duncan: In companies that struggle with negative public relations issues—Uber and Facebook come to mind—what can leaders do to revitalize the confidence of employees?

Bush: They can start by building credibility and respect by sharing the truth of the problem transparently. They can listen to employees’ reactions and possible solutions. They can include these perspectives as a plan is built for the future. And they can uphold values, even when that’s tough.

One example is the way health care system Texas Health Resources handled an Ebola scare several years ago. The hospital involved suffered a drop in patient visits because of public fears of the disease, but Texas Health CEO Barclay Berdan refused to lay off employees. The organization lived up to its “Individuals Caring for Individuals, Together” promise, and revenue recovered by the end of the year.

Duncan: Not surprisingly, your research shows that work experience tends to be more positive at higher levels in organizations. What can be done to boost work satisfaction at lower levels?

Bush: Respect them. The best way to do so doesn’t cost you any money and in fact will increase your revenue: give everyone chances to come up with new and better products, services and processes. Create what we call an “Innovation By All” culture, which taps into the human desire to be creative, to contribute. Our research shows that companies that are most inclusive in their innovation activities grow revenue 5.5 times faster than companies that have the least “By All” culture of innovation.

I mentioned Adobe’s Kickbox program earlier. Another example is hospitality giant Hilton. Hilton has a “Make it Right” mantra, which encourages everyone at all levels to take the initiative to solve problems. Front line workers at Hilton don’t just make it right, they make it better. One housekeeper told us she learned while cleaning a room that a couple was celebrating their anniversary. So she got room service to give them a bottle of wine as a gift. That makes for five-star service and a happy employee.

Duncan: What should a “For All” organization look for when recruiting new employees?

Bush: First, aim to hire a workforce that reflects the make-up of your community. You can’t get the benefits of For All culture—which includes the proven advantages of diverse perspectives—if you don’t have “All” kinds of people there in the first place.

Also, look for people who want to learn, who are open to different perspectives. Great Places to Work For All are dynamic, so employees can expect their roles and responsibilities to change over time. And they need to be comfortable being uncomfortable at times. They must be willing to be challenged by people who have different viewpoints.

Finally, big egos aren’t a positive. You’re looking for people who are driven by a bigger purpose and ready to collaborate to achieve it.

Duncan: In light of your research findings, what kind of questions should today’s job applicants be asking their prospective employers?

Bush: Do they respect employees enough to share information and decision-making? Do they show a commitment to For All by having a diverse set of people in leadership roles? Have they made some tough decisions to stand by their values? Can they tell a story of letting go a top performer who was a cancer on the culture?

Software company Workday did just that. Their CEO, Aneel Bhusri, looked at the data showing that one his lieutenants wasn’t creating the collegial atmosphere the company expects. By ousting this leader, Bhusri showed For All Leadership. I’d ask for a story like this.