Business transformations often begin with grand mission statements, lines and boxes or abstract visions. But the real transformation happens through a large series of micro changes.
There are a number of ways a transformation can look. They can take the form of organizational changes within public organizations, where the collaborative touchpoints have to be clearer, or follow changes in compliance. They can be businesses, replacing core systems, in order to provide more modern and customer-oriented service. The reason can also be greater transparency with regard to decisions, better use of data. Or maybe the technology is too expensive and does not meet the needs of the core business.
Transformations begin with calendered paper – but what comes next?
Transformations often begin with calendered paper and PowerPoints, new websites and elevator pitches. The big “why” is well-prepared and encouragingly formulated.
We often meet customers, who have created a digitalization strategy, a vision, a time-to-market-strategy or the like. The visions are in place, but they are unsure about how they can make it concrete, how they can get from the current situation to the desired future situation. Sometimes, we become involved when the organization have been trying to plan and concretize for a while, and are at a stand-still, because reality is knocking at their door, the energy and enthusiasm has died off, key people have left, ambitions are not in line with the organization’s capacity, or challenge and focus on putting out fires is taking up all the space.
A helping hand
In short: Our customers want sparring, inspiration or help with steering and management of their transformation, because it can be difficult to transition from visions to action. This is always difficult. There are no shortcuts. Changing an organization is never trivial. Changes do not happen by themselves, just because your goals have been formulated well. Or because your ambitions are big.
Changes happen through small steps
We take the approach, that changes happen through small steps. This may sound slightly unambitious. But in our experience, it is often the small steps that make a difference. Our everyday working lives are dominated by habits, by the way we are used to collaborating with others, by the security and predictability of the well-known daily routine. Many businesses have had positive experiences with less local changes – born from employees’ ideas and desire for change – this means: We can do it. So, it is all about utilizing the ability for change which is already in present within the organization.
Micro changes – how to
At Peak we know what happens, “where the strategy meets the people”. And for this reason, it is necessary to work systematically with micro-changes at all levels of your organization. Here are some recommended considerations for when you are starting out:
- What will our decisions result in? Have we thought about how our visions will form a part of the solutions we recommend?
- Are we staying focused on the small changes being desirable – and hopefully important steps towards the strategic goals?
- How do you evaluate and learn from the small steps, so you are constantly moving in the direction you want to go?
- How are employees and managers being prepared for doing things differently from what they are used to? What is the most important thing for them the begin/stop doing?
- How can you adapt daily routines – without everything becoming radically different and therefore difficult to work with?
What can you do to make the journey easier?
There are no quick fixes. This is well-known by anyone who have worked with transformations, changes, development – or what you want to call it. But help is out there.
The first step is to realize that the changes are going to look different – depending on their role within the organization. The executive director’s new way of thinking and working will of course be different from the employee who deals with public relations. Actually, this is something we often forget – even though it is intuitively obvious.
When we help organizations with their transformations, we have different ways of doing it. This is all dependent on the organization. At Peak we use benefits maps, the Target Operation Model (TOM), as-is-descriptions, end-state-descriptions, core-narratives, visualizations and other tools, that concretize the new reality and thereby makes it easier for everyone to follow the new path. With also define the ‘midway-stations’ – the smaller steps towards change, in order to concretize the journey towards the strategy. We involve those who have to change their practice. Those are the key people who identify and see them through. Those are the people, who take on a range of initiatives and micro changes that all make up the beginning and end of a larger change. The actual transformation.