In a recent post, we explored what it means to work with an agile mindset– to be nimble and flexible – ready to pounce on opportunities, or to change course to avoid inevitable problems and unnecessary cost. Now we’re thinking specifically about Agile Methodology and what that means for the end user of new systems and business processes.
In the first and second blogs of this series on how Business Change needs to adapt to be effective for digital transformation, we set out an agenda based on the ways in which digital transformation is different, and made a case for treating it as culture change not systems implementation. Both blogs stressed that what Afiniti is about is adopting different ways of working and changed behaviours, not really about getting people to use technology per se. But what do we mean by adopting; what is it; and how does focusing on adoption inform Business Change activity and planning? That’s what this blog is about.
We talk about adoption in many different domains. Adopting a child is both a legal event, but also (I’d suggest) a process of settling into a new pattern of family – for adoptive parent(s) and adopted child(ren). But we also talk about adopting new identities, nationalities and behaviours; we speak of new processes and systems being adopted; and we even refer to individuals and groups adopting things such as fashions, chants / songs, or postures. What can we learn from this? Perhaps it’s that adoption is a journey undertaken as much as a single event,
If one of the things that distinguishes digital transformation from other change journeys is that the use of the tool(s) it provides can be optional (see our first blog), then successful adoption of new ways of working enabled by digital tools is surely a process involving both breadth and depth. Breadth – what proportion of the group / organisation has taken on new ways of working by using the tool(s); and depth, to what extent (for how much of what they do) have they changed what they do by using the tool(s) – perhaps even how much of the potential for improvement have they unlocked. And if our goal is the adoption of new ways of working, enabled by the technology, then adoption cannot be anything but a process – and a process that begins with the tools being made available, not one that ends at that point.
What might a process view of adoption, one focused on increasing breadth and depth, mean for Business Change?
First, we’ve found that it means the Business Change activity after a technology ‘go live’ will be at least as important as, Business Change activity before any ‘go live’. And, since programmes tend to come to their end relatively quickly after ‘go live’, this in turn means that much of the most important Business Change activity will not be programme-driven but will have to be delivered as part of business-as-usual. Whilst many organisations are beginning to recognise this need we see few that have successfully risen to the challenge.
Second, if adoption is a process of broadening and deepening, it’s difficult to see how it can be ‘delivered’ – or ‘pushed’ at colleagues within an organisation. Rather, we at Afiniti find, adoption is better encouraged and stimulated by building pull – creating the desire at a grass roots level to seek out new tools and adopt new ways of working. This means creating a programme team and champion networks that are sufficiently in touch with how and where ways of working are changing to spot examples that will be attractive to others in the organisation, and which can therefore be used to build ‘pull’.
We’ll explore in the next blog how perspective persona-based engagement and a strong ‘champion’ network can be re-thought and cascaded to accelerate this pull.
For now, though, how does this square with your experience – does this model of adoption as a process of increasing breadth and depth make sense?
In the previous two blogs of this series Showing up as a Change Leader and Preparing Yourself as a Change Leader, we explored the ways to prepare ourselves, as well as the things we can do, to make a difference when leading our teams and organisations through change. In the final blog of the series I’m going to reflect on the practical and pragmatic things you can do which build sustainable change leadership.
If I could travel back in time to visit myself 10 years ago when I was first embarking on my journey as a business change professional, these are the pieces of advice I’d share with my rookie change-leader self.
In our first blog on how Business Change around digital transformation should be different, we highlighted some of the ways in which Digital Transformation is distinct from other technology-enabled change, and set out an ‘agenda’ for the ways in which we think Business Change accordingly has to be different. This second blog explores the first of these – the need to move from seeing this as ‘technology-enabled’ to a ‘culture change’.
Oh the (virtual) ink that’s been expended on what we think of as Digital Transformation over the past 20 years! Understandably, given fast-paced and ever-morphing technology, what Digital Transformation means has changed over time too.
Research and statistics show that communications strategy and planning is still an area that many organisations can make big improvements in. In fact, a 2018 research study and report by Arthur J. Gallagher & Co states that 60% of companies don’t have a long-term communication strategy!
Afiniti’s Change Readiness Assessment tool is built around six ‘levers’ that we see well developed in organisations that are change ready. One of the levers outlines whether there are clearly understood business drivers for change. That makes sense – we’re increasingly finding that those impacted by a forthcoming change want to understand not only what the change entails, but also why it’s being implemented at all.
We’ve had a lot of positive interest in our recent blogs focusing on the hot topics of Agile and agile. But we’ve also heard from a number of clients and readers that there’d be real value in demystifying and decoding Agile terminology or jargon. So, here goes!
Using our creative and innovative approach to delivering change, we enable and equip your people to progress through every step of the change journey.
Address: Dowgate Hill House, 14-16 Dowgate Hill, London, EC4R 2SU
Telephone: 0845 608 0104