In order for businesses to remain relevant and successful they should plan for continual business transformation and improvement. When an organisation starts to think about how they can transform, they consider the current business environment and the strategy of the business. A plan is then made to design a new strategic direction to take advantage of emerging market conditions or new opportunities in other markets. John Kotter, in ‘Leading Change’ (1996), set out the 8 key steps to transformational change in an organisation:
Create a climate for change
Steps 1 – 3
Engagement of organisation
Steps 4 – 6
Implementation and embed
Steps 7 & 8
|Increase urgency||Building the guiding team||Get the right vision||Communicate for buy-in||Empower action||Create short term wins||Keep momentum||Make it stick|
All too often, some of these steps are missed or not fully applied. This will only lead to ultimate failure as each step helps to cement the change in the hearts and minds of employees. Kotter & Cohen, in ‘The Heart of Change’ (2002) argue that the main obstacle to successful change is the behaviour of individuals and groups and people will only change when you speak to their feelings. When we see and feel change our behaviour changes and we accept the change.
When planning any transformation, certain management areas should be considered and aligned to ensure the successful implementation and embedding of change. Many organisations stop short of embedding the desired change across all areas of the business and this results in failure, as over time people go back to the way things were done before. Some of the management areas which need to be aligned for success are: strategy, risk, project management, processes, organisational design, human resources and IT. All too often the importance of IT in pulling everything together is overlooked or they are involved as a quick bolt-on to the change initiative. Having IT involved very early on in any organisational wide transformations will help provide the roadmap to set timelines and rollout new technology and training in conjunction with the human resources.