Change management – the unsung hero of business transformation

Change management is key to successful business transformation. Whilst the adoption of new technology like artificial intelligence (AI) steals many of the headlines as businesses strive towards innovation and optimization, without the effective management of change, efforts are often doomed from the start.

Change management is therefore integral to succeeding in an ever evolving business landscape.

What is change management?
Change management is a collective term for approaches to support and help individuals and teams in making organizational change. Organizational change refers to the actions in which a company or business alters major components of its business such as culture, internal processes, underlying technologies or infrastructure, according to Harvard Business School Online. Change management is considered the process of guiding organizational change to a successful resolution – typically including the three major phases of preparation, implementation and follow-through.

“Ask organizations to define what they mean by change management and you will get a variety of answers,” Steve Hearsum, consultant, supervisor and developer of change practitioners, founder of Edge + Stretch and author of No Silver Bullet: Bursting the bubble of the organizational quick fix, tells PEX Network.

Why change management is so important
Change management is as crucial to an organization’s process improvement, OPEX and business transformation efforts as exercise is to building strength and endurance, says Scott Simari, principal at Sendero Consulting. “These are all organizational changes that ultimately optimize performance.Effective change management is a foundational part of that optimization, the same way exercise is a foundational part of good health.”

Like starting a new exercise routine, if an organization has never experienced the benefits of regular and effective change management and starts to implement these practices, it may feel difficult initially, but the organization will likely see rapid results, he adds. “Once an organization has been disciplined and thoughtful about their change management practices, they will develop ‘a muscle.’ As the muscle strengthens, the organization will be capable of change that’s larger in scale and more difficult than what an organization with ‘weaker muscles’ could accomplish.”

Just as you cannot achieve optimal health without a balanced exercise routine, an organization cannot achieve optimal efficiency without embracing and effectively managing change.

Change is scary
In an era of continuous technological advances, changing customer demands and evolving employee demographics, organizations face a need for rapid change and transformation. “The ability to rapidly transform and continuously adopt change is increasingly the most crucial competitive advantage and the most important deciding factor for whether a company flourishes or becomes obsolete,” says Andrea Schnepf, managing director at nepf LLC.

As we become accustomed to a certain environment, alterations to that environment can have drastic effects on workers’ emotions, inducing fear, paranoia and loss of self,” says Eric Davison, software development and agile coach specializing in change management. Those feelings can result in them pushing back on the change, trying to fly under the radar by continuing to do what they have always done, deciding to not do anything or to ultimately leave the company, he adds.

Business change circles back to people
Even if you have identified the right thing to do, to get it done is quite a different matter altogether. This is true of a country, a company, a project or even in our own home.There will always be vested interests who like the status quo, or who are afraid to change, or external elements that don’t want you to improve, says Mohan Madhurakavi, chief evangelist of digital transformation at Kissflow. “The change normally involves humans in some way or the other. When people are involved, wanting all of them to move in one direction requires various skills.”

Navigating the complexities of technological advancements necessitates a robust change management strategy. Prioritizing the human element within digital transformation highlights the critical balance between innovation and maintaining a people-first approach.

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6 tips for leading agile transformation

Agile transformation is the process of transitioning an organization to a nimble, reactive approach based on agile principles. The goal is to breathe new life into a business by creating an environment that embraces creativity and innovation, empowers employees and reduces unnecessary layers of management.
“Technology has never moved faster than it has today,” says Paddy Lemons, principal consultant at Burendo. “From smart phones, to ChatGPT, to driverless cars, to drone delivery – our everyday experiences and daily interactions with products and services are unrecognizable versus just 20 years ago. To enable organizations to thrive in this environment, they must prioritize agility as a strategic imperative.”
Like all major business undertakings, agile transformation is complex and requires significant investment. Leading an agile transformation process can therefore present a number of challenges.
Here are six tips for successfully leading agile transformation.
Truly commit to agility
Your personal commitment to agility is one of the most critical success factors in creating the change you desire, says Lemons. “Your team will mirror your behaviors, so the importance of genuinely adopting an experimental mindset cannot be overstated.”
Nominate agile champions
Nominate some agile champions who understand agile and the benefits it brings but also understand the goals of the organization’s transformation, says Melissa Kirby, senior consultant at Burendo. “These champions, who work alongside the rest of the teams, can help spread the knowledge of agile, answer any questions and shut down any doubts.”
Be accountable and listen
It’s always useful to appoint a lead for the project to ensure it meets the required outcomes and sticks to timescales, but it’s equally as important to work with those who are impacted and might end up using the system, says Chris, marketing coordinator at manufacturing and processing machinery firm MattressTek.
Embed security into agile
If your company is going through an agile transformation, it’s more important than ever that your security team is embedded inside your software engineering team, says Chris Bender, VP of security at ClickUp. “Security and software engineering must become one-in-the-same, and security can no longer just point out risks but needs to be involved in helping to find solutions.”
Leadership support for agile
Leadership must sell the vision and goals of agile transformation, ensuring they transform the culture of their organization alongside their ways of working. “Your leadership must empower individuals to reach their potential, making agility not just a methodology but a fundamental ethos that guides the organization toward resilience and innovation,” says Lemons.
Give people time and training
If a team is expected to adopt agile ways of working, then the people will need to be given the time and training to perform the roles well, or else they won’t be motivated, team morale will drop and the squad will have limited success, says Kirby. “If you don’t take steps to win over your people, then you’re always going to face resistance to change,” Kirby adds.

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Community Building And Values: Key Approaches To Entrepreneurship

In the world of entrepreneurship, the path to success is rarely a straight line. Instead, it's a journey marked by highs and lows, triumphs and setbacks. With 18% of small businesses not making it past the first year and 65% of businesses failing within 10 years, as the Chamber of Commerce reported, entrepreneurs need to adopt a mindset that will help them weather the inevitable storms they will face.
Embracing Challenges As Opportunities
The entrepreneurial landscape is fraught with challenges. Each hurdle, rejection, and failure are integral parts of the journey.
“The key to thriving in the face of challenges lies in how you perceive these obstacles. Do you see them as insurmountable barriers or as chances to improve and innovate? This perspective makes all the difference. Embracing resilience is key to entrepreneurial success. Facing challenges and setbacks is an inevitable part of the journey. Instead of viewing obstacles as insurmountable, see them as opportunities to learn, grow, and innovate. Remember that many successful ventures have emerged from the ashes of failure. Cultivate a mindset of perseverance, adaptability, and continuous learning. Every setback is a step closer to your goal, as long as you're willing to persist and learn from each experience,” says Claudio Bravo, CEO of Bravo Luxury. Bravo has navigated turbulent waters, from humble beginnings in a small town in Chile to becoming a prominent real estate developer in the Coachella Valley, and can attest to the importance of mindset in the face of challenges.
Betting On Yourself
Central to this journey is a profound belief in oneself and a foundational trust in one’s abilities and vision. This means investing time, resources, and energy into your ideas and capabilities. “Taking calculated risks is part and parcel of successful entrepreneurship. It's about believing in your potential to succeed, even when others might have doubts,” says Bravo.
Science Direct research shows a clear link between self-confidence and entrepreneurial success. Bravo’s self-confidence helped him successfully navigate the 2008 housing market crisis.
Handling Rejection In High-Stakes Investments
One of the most daunting aspects of entrepreneurship is facing rejection, especially when it involves significant financial pursuits. What separates the top entrepreneurs from everyone else is their approach to rejection.
“Each 'no' should be viewed not as a door closing but as a stepping stone to a 'yes.' It's essential to seek feedback from these rejections and use it constructively to refine your pitch, business model, or strategy,” he advises.
Moreover, timing can be crucial. A 'no' today might become a 'yes' when the market or business is more mature. Entrepreneurs must recognize that rejection is not a reflection of their worth but a standard part of the entrepreneurial process,” explains Bravo.
Due to its turbulent nature, the entrepreneurial journey is not for the faint of heart. It requires a combination of resilience, self-belief, and the ability to view setbacks as opportunities.
Betting on yourself, embracing continuous learning, and handling rejections with grace and determination are the hallmarks of successful entrepreneur. Remember, every challenge faced is a lesson learned, and every setback is a setup for a comeback. Keep pushing forward, never give up, and watch your entrepreneurial dreams become a reality.

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