Change is a normal part of progress for any organization, whether that change is driven by internal or external forces. Organizations must respond and adapt to changing customer needs and market conditions as well as technology trends.
But the pace of change is accelerating, driven by technologies such as the cloud, mobility and data analytics. It’s a concept known as “digital transformation,” and it’s having a profound impact on organizations of all sizes in every industry sector.
Digital transformation is not just about implementing technology to streamline existing business processes — it’s about using technology to change the way you do business. Experts say that digital transformation has become the foundation for future success, enabling new levels of productivity, customer service and innovation.
The ability to change quickly allows organizations to create competitive advantages by adopting new business models and bringing new services to market faster. Changes to internal policies and procedures can save money, increase efficiency, reduce errors and remove bottlenecks, all of which improve operations.
There’s also a downside to change. When change isn’t planned and executed properly, organizations risk frustrating and alienating customers and shareholders. Poorly managed change can also result in missed opportunities, lost productivity and employee dissatisfaction.
Change management holds the key to minimizing these risks and realizing the benefits of change. Change management is related to project management, but they are two very different disciplines. Project management is a formalized process for achieving specific goals according to an agreed timeline. Change management is a strategy for improving an organization while helping people make the transition and accept and support the change. Change management also has a direct correlation to keeping projects on time and within budget and meeting desired objectives.
Change management begins with proactively addressing the human issues – how the jobs, roles and expectations of individuals will change. It’s important to remember that organizations are made up of individuals, so organizational change requires individual change. It must start with the CEO, who provides both direction and motivation throughout the process. However, every layer of the organization must be involved.
Leaders must take ownership of the change strategy and clearly communicate why change is happening and how the organization will benefit. Instead of focusing solely on the change process, speak to people directly, honestly and transparently about change. Create short-term goals and celebrate successes. Leaders also need to assess how change might affect the company culture. This allows leadership to identify and overcome obstacles and conflicts, and ensure that the culture supports the new way of doing things.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Lisa Detwiler, President joined SSD Technology Partners in 2006 as Chief Marketing Officer, and in 2014 she and her two partners Woodie Bowe and Nick Ewen purchased the company. Detwiler holds an MBA in Marketing and Strategy from Carnegie Mellon University. Lisa successfully led SSD through a difficult economy in 2012, recording the company’s greatest growth record in 31 years.
Lisa believes that our foundation for success does not come from fancy business buzzwords or the latest management fads. Success comes from behaviors and commitments to basic guidelines of how we operate as individuals and as a company; do what’s best for the client, practice blameless problem solving, seek to create win/win solutions, check the ego at the door, and communicate to be understood.
Lisa serves the community as a Board Chair of both the American Red Cross and the Delaware Better Business Bureau and has been a member of Wilmington Rotary Club for 10 years.