Gear up for success by building change capability

Five ways process management can support change and help organizations embed a culture of continuous improvement

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inspire people at every level of your organization

An increasingly commonplace term, digital transformation refers to how an organization leverages its people, processes and technology to significantly improve business performance.

But despite its growing popularity, only 53% of people understood what digital transformation is — and far fewer knew whether it is being implemented at their company - according to a recent Nintex study entitled ‘The State of Intelligent Process Automation Study’.

Although 67% of managers were informed about their teams’ digital transformation initiatives, a mere 27% of non-management personnel were in-the-know. With the overwhelming majority of decision makers reporting positive progress in their digital transformation efforts, these numbers highlight the fact that poor top-down communication is proving to be a significant challenge for many companies.

Once organizations open the lines of communication, actively involve their people, and build teams that are change-fit, they stand a far greater chance of successfully positioning their business for success.

5 ways to support change in your organization

Here’s how you can enable your people to embrace change and get on board with digital transformation.

Inspire people at every level of the organization to challenge how things are done. 

'Business as usual' encourages stagnation — and stagnation is the enemy of positive change. In contrast, when your people feel empowered to review existing processes and suggest improvements, you can harness your human capital to improve on value-adding processes and eliminate non-value adding ones. When this becomes an accepted practice within your organization, you’re on your way to achieving a culture of continuous improvement. 

Be prepared for change. 

Whether it’s a new technology or a new consumer trend, changes bring business opportunities with them — and you have to be able to seize those opportunities quickly in order to capitalize on them. Consistently stay abreast of new developments in your industry, as well as advancements to the technologies and processes you use, so you can recognize opportunities when they come along. Streamline your processes so your people can move quickly instead of getting bogged down in cumbersome procedures that ultimately have an adverse impact on your agility and responsiveness. Look for tools that integrate all of your objectives, not just part of what you want to achieve.

Focus on implementing your strategy. 

Without the right tools, processes and people, even the best strategy will fail. That’s why all your decisions must in some way advance your organization further towards its goals — whether that’s by putting the right people in place to speed up your product development process so you can go into production faster, or by acquiring new technology that allows you to automate time-consuming processes and simultaneously save on labor costs. Furthermore, all your processes must be carried out with precision and efficiency in order to effectively drive your strategy forward. 

Engage teams. 

The ultimate objective for your process improvement should be to engage teams across the organization to become truly involved in the company’s success and inspire them work together to improve what they do every day. Ensure organization-wide buy-in by being clear about your process improvement initiatives, celebrate your process heroes and provide people with adequate training to participate in the initiatives.

Achieve sustained process improvement at every level of the organization and integrate it into your daily operations by getting leadership to pave the way, as well as to encourage cross-functional collaboration. Make it fun for teams to participate — use gamification, competitions or incentives. When your people understand that their contributions to process improvement are valued and that they’re accountable for their processes, they become much more engaged.

Make leaders accountable for communication. 

The previously mentioned study showed that 35% of decision makers believed a lack of effective communication was a significant obstacle to achieving digital transformation. Although many organizations have one overall initiative leader, this isn’t sufficient to guarantee the right messaging is communicated throughout all levels of the organization.

Appoint leaders who are responsible for communication within specific departments and business units. These execs need to ensure clear, consistent messaging; inspire people to participate in the process improvement efforts; and address questions and concerns that arise along the way. By making leaders accountable for communication across the organization, you can ensure that teams understand the need for digital transformation, what the objectives of your initiatives are and, most importantly, how your people can contribute.

In the words of Charles Darwin, 'It is not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive, but those who can best manage change.' Whether your organization is a start-up or an established player, in this ever-evolving business landscape, you constantly have to change and improve in order to remain competitive.

By creating a culture of continuous improvement, you can build the capability to respond quickly to market changes and other pressures, which in turn enables you to take advantage of opportunities that can help propel your business – and your people - forward.