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View: Developing organisational readiness during transformative times

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In this dynamic environment, concurrent with an emphasis on change management, there is a significant need to get the organisation ready to drive this change.

View: Developing organisational readiness during transformative times
The COVID pandemic has had an ever-lasting impact on business decision-making. Nearly 55 percent of businesses expected changes in their business priorities due to COVID 19. Transformation seems to be the default condition of today's organisation. We live in a VUCA world. A world with volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity. These forces drive organisational transformation, including the need to achieve economies of scale, innovate, and meet the ever-changing demands of the customers.
In this dynamic environment, concurrent with an emphasis on change management, there is a significant need to get the organisation ready to drive this change. Organisational readiness for change is a multi-level, multi-faceted construct. At an organisation-level, readiness for change refers to organisational members' shared resolve to implement a change (change commitment) and shared belief in their collective capability to do so (change efficacy). This article will talk about a five-step process in terms of how you get an organisation ready to drive change.
The 5-step guide:
Step 1 & Step 2: Building the tracks of the bullet train
Imagine a bullet train. It doesn’t matter how fast it is; it cannot get to the destination if it isn't on the right track. Similarly, in an organisation if transformation is the new “shiny” bullet train to create competitive advantage, the two tracks are “Culture” and “process” for the train to run on. Company culture is often defined as the shared values, attitudes, and practices that characterise an organisation. It’s almost the personality of the organisation. The famous Peter Drucker quote "Culture eats strategy for breakfast" implies that the culture of a company always determines success regardless of how effective the strategy may be.
The second track is the process. The framework on how an organisation is run. It’s about organising, defining and grouping activities and establishing authority relationships to attain organizational objectives. A properly implemented organisational process should result in a work environment where all team members are aware of their responsibilities. However, the key to it all is the ability to accelerate transformation through automation.
Step 3: Vision of the future
Having the ability to predict the future is essential for an organisation's readiness to remain competitive with exponentially growing technologies like machine learning, blockchain, drone, AI, and so on. Organisations are constantly confronted with new questions, challenges, and trends. They need to have the ability to spot where the next disruption is coming from, learn to understand the competition and customer’s future from their sector, and appreciate what they could be doing better. The core element to this is "continuous experimentation". Failing fast and learning what works and what doesn't quickly and at a low cost. Companies who have the vision for the future, empower their colleagues to take risks and give them the freedom to experiment and get things wrong.
Step 4: Future Skills
There are three forces at play here. Technology where 90 percent of the jobs in the future will require digital skills, geopolitical uncertainty giving rise to protectionism and workforce demographics where 65 percent of the current jobs will disappear in 15 years, and 50 percent of organisations will be hiring STEM talent.
Old roles will be automated, while new roles working with these automated systems will come into being. Unfortunately, not all possess the right skills and are therefore at risk of being left behind. It is an organisation's responsibility and moral obligation to get its workforce ready. This requires a clear strategy, interlinkage with the right recruitment policy, identifying future skills required by the business (like data savviness, commercial acumen, etc.), and having a robust learning and development culture that will create the future skills that an organisation needs.
Step 5: Workplace of the future
Post COVID-19, the workplace of the future has changed dramatically. Different companies have followed different paths in terms of redesigning their workplace and the use of flexible working models like home-working, shared desks, hybrid home/office as the workplace trends point towards a more flexible model. Personal contact and physical presence remain critical in creating the right culture; however, having the right interactive IT platforms for networked collaboration will remain key.
Organisations need to be competitive and future-ready to be able to deal with the disruptive world. Its ability to have the right vision, build the right culture and process, develop future skills and workplace will be critical to its success.
The author, Dr Sumit Mitra, is CEO at Tesco Global Business Services. The views expressed are personal
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