Business Transformation: Getting Hari, the dog, to take a bath!
Story time now!
Hari, a Labrador, is our Chief Compassionate Officer. On August 26th, World Dog Day, we promoted him to the CCO position, and announced his promotion on LinkedIn. His benefit package included increased feed of his favourite food, more of petting time, loving bath at home, etc.
Now, what has that got to do with Business Transformation and how is it related to “taking a bath ?”
Each and every move (such as getting someone to take a bath) has similarity to the word “Business Transformation”. Sounds impactful – just like the newly coined word “CCO”. Relevance: High, because everyone needs to have a bath on time.
Most businesses are trying to bring about changes in their business models to adjust to the new normal. They are generally being coined as Transformation. Increasing the feed/petting to Hari is similar to the benefits that will accrue to an organization and its people by adopting transformation.
Now comes the crux: taking a dog for a bath might be simple, much harder would be taking a horse to the pond and not being able to make it drink the water.
Is your organization more flexible like a dog or more stubborn like a horse?
Good news: Organizations, big or small, are similar! But there is an inherent inertia to change. However, circumstances and the right organization culture and leadership can bring about this change.
Bad news: It is difficult to implement. Example: Implementation of a company-wide CRM system. Everyone understands that it would make the organization more cohesive, increase transparency, data sharing, and enable speedier decision making: Failed!! Despite massive push by the leadership.
So where is the “root cause?”
It is in the organization culture. Whether it is a family-owned, small, or large corporate, the culture of the entity will define the outcome of the effort. In a SME, it is the owner who drives this change, but if the employees are reluctant, it is the same as pulling a horse. In a company, it is the management team who drives this change, but again, if the employees are not committed, the result is obvious. Leaders have to walk the talk! Words mean little until it is shown through specific actions.
Before embarking on any change, make sure to check your organization readiness. Follow some basic guidelines:
Strengthen your organization with the resources needed to deliver. It does not mean additional hiring. It means “redirecting” some of your “faces to watch” - performers to get battle ready.
Run a diagnostic of your organization's health, keeping as neutral a perspective as possible. You cannot be “good” at everything. Establish & monitor KPIs for each major activity.
Delegate authority and decision making to lower hierarchy. Ensure that needed interventions are built in the plan. Embed change leaders in the line.
Communicate heavily: repeated, throughout the organization. Over- communicate.
Review your management systems and identify needed changes, put in place a turnaround management infrastructure. And then track, track and track!
Your active involvement and constant interaction, cutting across hierarchy and other barriers, will determine the success. Prepare the ground to take the dog or the horse willingly to the water and take a bath or drink.
Learning: Business Transformations are hard to do, but a solid implementation plan & leadership actions can make it happen.