Friday, 12. January 2018

What does «Business Transformation» mean for the Company Management and its Employees?

Almost every day a new business trend is touted with big fanfare, promising to increase the performance of companies beyond measure or, at the very least, to ensure that companies remain competitive in the marketplace.

What is supposed to bring enlightenment to companies is one day the digital transformation, the next time artificial intelligence is hyped, and then again robotics, but in the end a focus on employees seems to also be urgently needed.

Don’t get me wrong, these are all developments, trends, technologies and concepts that have their place and can be-and partially will be-of critical importance for the future of a company.

But if we wanted to be involved in all developments and topics that could potentially be relevant for companies and were striving to avoid missing any opportunity, it would probably become a massive undertaking with enormous costs and no guarantee for the continued existence of a company. Quite to the contrary-undertakings in this context that lack coordination and prioritization will more likely be accompanied by chaos and a loss of the company focus on the market. When dealing with the continued development of the company, it is therefore necessary to exert caution and prudence.

All of the development, business, and technology trends mentioned above-that are undoubtedly upon us-will certainly necessitate the transformation (or the change) of either the entire company or parts thereof, namely with regard to processes, organization and implementation of technology into the value-added chain of a company.

To successfully facilitate this transformation within the company, a number of essential skills and rules are required and/or need to be followed within an enterprise. These skills must be developed and supported systematically, and the rules for carrying out business changes by the company must be defined, must be transparent to all and must be followed.

Masters aren’t created in a day, and this cannot be accomplished through external advice alone, since the responsibility for a successful implementation rests in the end with the company itself. This responsibility cannot be outsourced but requires a mandatory commitment of the company management!

So what can be done then?

First of all, it must be clearly determined what the company wants to achieve in the coming years. A well-formulated outline of the intended final outcome that is easily understood by employees is imperative-simply for communication purposes because how can employees possibly know “where the journey is going and how do we get there” if the company does not formulate and postulate this clearly? This does not mean that general statements like “we would like to focus more on Customer Relationship Management (CRM)” should be formulated and communicated but it is advisable to set clear goals with precise instructive propositions about how these goals can be achieved (i.e., it needs to be made clear to employees in detail, HOW this will happen).

A second essential prerequisite is the availability of sufficient project know-how (methodological and conceptual knowledge) within the company to conduct such transformative undertakings from within. It is a fact that many corporations don’t possess sufficient expertise to lead these projects in a structured manner (which is of vital importance for larger change projects). This can be remedied by a targeted approach of the corporation to the improvement of the skills of their employees (and external consulting can provide the needed support).

The third and crucial point is an unconditional implementation drive and the creative power of the leadership team. Often times, these so called “key projects” are tackled only half-heartedly and are abandoned at the first sign of real resistance. And something else is a given: Change projects will always encounter a great deal of resistance since both the employees as well as the senior executives are forced to part with habits of which they have grown fond and must undergo massive changes in their behavior and working practices (all the way to their leadership behavior). Unfortunately, such a willingness to change is somehow not part of the natural disposition of human beings, but one has to here and there force himself (or his corporate environment) to embrace such changes. This requires courage and steadfastness.

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