WHAT ARE THE THREE KEY ELEMENTS TO SUCCESSFULLY MANAGING A BUSINESS TRANSFORMATION? PART 1: COMMUNICATION

There are five stages in the company’s life: start up, consolidation, growth, crisis and liquidation. Each phase is characterised by strategies, planning and decisions, they work through to different dynamics since have specific needs tied to each scenario. However, all of them have two common denominators: change and profit maximisation. 

Whichever stage your company is at, it will inevitably be about applying a change to achieve profit maximisation. In other words, the company is born, grows and sometimes dies through a continuous transformation of the organisation.

Organisational transformation is the process that allows us to manage a change applied to the existing management. What is this metamorphosis? It is a matter of growth and evolution. 

Now you cannot think of using a unique rule to handle each scenario, therefore for each company ‘age’ you need to apply a different approach to manage the change. 

The personnel are the key drivers in any developmental stage of the company., However, it should also be noted that the issues that seem obvious are, for some reason, inevitably overlooked. Why? Because we tend to mainly focus on the aspect that is considered essential: the goal achievement. 

I come to the main point: the key aspects to successfully managing a transformation are those that regulate the relationship with people, and allow them to cooperate in a coherent, integrated and cohesive environment, and these are:

- Communication

- Culture

- Leadership

We start with communication and therefore with the earliest slides, usually set up for the kick-off meeting, that often create confusion rather than clarity. I am referring to ‘transformational leaders’ who should inspire a vision. They arm themselves with slides to present the project and announce the steps to reach the objective. Please note that the company is a like living organism that is already in a continuous transformation, so it would be useful to avoid incomprehensive theories to most of the people and instead to present the real issue. 

The presentation does not have to be an academic treatise on change management. Are you the trainers? The champions of change? Leading an adventure trip armed with machetes, ropes and water bottle? Great! Then you must have studied and applied it several times! You do not have to teach it to the organisation, you have to put it into practice!

Make the company’s vision real in the minds of the personnel. It does not matter what emotions the individual will feel due to the changes (shock, denial, anger, bargaining, depression, testing, acceptance), or how to measure any resistance with a formula, just to mention few topics. It is more interesting to know why this change must be adopted and what role the individual will play, and the impact this will have on their work. So, the content of the presentation must cover how to live, cohabit and manage the new identity that each one will adopt/play during and after the business transformation and how to leverage the value of the contribution that the individual will bring to the organisation in order to make the vision real. Therefore, role alignment is one of the key steps that needs to be announced and managed in the early stages of the process, unless you want the personnel groping in the dark until the end of the project.

Communicating a change in management primarily involves the management themselves, in order to start the process by spreading ‘the word’ down from the top. This is fine, except that the people who manage, guide and inspire the entire staff, will be informed with piecemeal, partial and synthetic data. When they try to communicate this as a planned change in management, they will only present poor content, but full of expectations.

Please note that the words that will ring in the head of each one will be: responsibilities, limitations, discomfort, effort, stress, priorities and SACRIFICE. It will be like asking a jockey to ride a tiger! The result: perplexity, anxiety, uncertainty, frustration and DENIAL.

Start by announcing what the benefits directly associated with the change in management are, and especially how the staff will enjoy these.

 

  • 2015-07-02 22:58:28
  • Daniela Bensi
  • Change Management, Business Transformation, Communication, Company Culture, Leadership.