The importance of organizational change cannot be understated in today’s marketplace.
In the digital era, virtually every business has been required to undergo:
- Digital Transformation – The digitalization of every area of a business, from its tools to its culture and processes.
- Digital Adoption – Adopting new technology, implementing that technology, and using it to its fullest extent.
- Organizational Change – Organizational changes include changes to people, cultures, processes, tools, business structures, strategies, and more.
Either to lesser or greater degrees.
But organizational change is much more important than many realize.
In fact, in today’s volatile market, change is practically a requirement.
The Importance of Organizational Change
Organizational change is driven by many forces, including:
- Growth opportunities
- Marketplace demand
- Competitor pressure
- Technological innovation
Today, technological innovation continually disrupts industry after industry.
New innovations give rise to new products, new services, new business processes, and much more.
This disruption, in turn, spurs many of the other change drivers mentioned above…
- New technology opens up new growth opportunities
- Customers who experience new technologies begin to expect them
- Competitors innovate, pressuring their marketplace to keep up
To name just a few examples.
Reasons such as these regularly compel organizations to undergo change and transformation.
Any business that wants to stay ahead in the digital age should definitely understand the importance of change management and continual change.
The Importance of Continual Change
Organizational change is often viewed as a discrete process.
Change projects begin, end, and then the organization goes “back to normal.”
However, this approach doesn’t scale well or fare well in an environment that is constantly shifting.
- Technological innovation continues to accelerate
- Disruption is continually driving marketplace evolution
- Businesses that don’t continually change with their markets will fall behind
- Those that change more quickly can gain an edge over their competitors
- Ultimately, organizations that use obsolete processes or tools won’t be able to participate in the global economy
The internet boom, the mobile revolution, cloud computing, AI, and many other waves of disruption can serve as lessons.
Innovators in these areas leaped ahead.
Laggards either fell behind or failed completely.
Each new wave of technology opens up new frontiers: new competitors come in, slow businesses fall behind, and a few are pushed out.
And today’s digital trends demonstrate that technological disruption isn’t slowing.
In due time, we will see even more disruptions, including:
- AR and VR
- Edge computing
Given these impending technology trends, there is a possibility that marketplace change won’t slow down…
In fact, it may even continue to accelerate.
The savvy, forward-thinking organization should plan ahead.
One of the best ways to do that is by planning for continual organizational change.
Driving Continual Change
Let’s look at a few ways that companies can stay competitive and relevant.
To stay competitive, businesses should:
- Develop a mindset geared towards continuous change. The most fundamental ingredient for continual change is commitment. Change managers, executives, employees, and other stakeholders must accept that continuous change is necessary. This may require a strategic communications campaign and applied effort, but it’s a necessary step.
- Build cultures that are innovative and open to change. Culture plays a large role in any change process. Cultures that are open to change, for instance, will change more quickly, more easily, and more efficiently. Those that resist change, on the other hand, will only hamper change efforts.
- Focus on adaptability and agility. Agile change management, product development, and other business processes have become quite popular in recent years. And there is good reason – agile processes are more adaptable and responsive than static “waterfall” approaches.
- Evolve their change management capabilities. Enterprise change management – a company’s change management function – should be as mature as possible. Continuous change should not be attempted by organizations with immature change management capabilities. Structured, sophisticated approaches are necessary to succeed.
- Emphasize speed. Companies that can change more quickly will have more success in every area of their business. They will be able to introduce new ideas more quickly, adopt new technology more quickly, train employees more efficiently, workers will become productive more quickly, and so on and so forth.
- Exploit modern tools and technology. There are plenty of tools that can improve change management. Digital adoption platforms, project management tools, business process automation, and data technology are a few examples. All of these can improve change management itself, increasing efficiency, driving down costs, and improving outcomes.
These are just a few ways that organizations should prepare for the digital age.
As mentioned, though, the most important step is the first one – accepting that continual change is necessary.
First and foremost, change managers should instill a mindset that is open to change.
Creating that culture and mindset is certainly not easy.
However, a culture open to change is a prerequisite for successful, continuous change.
Chris is the Lead Author & Editor of Change Blog. Chris established the Change blog to create a source for news and discussion about some of the issues, challenges, news, and ideas relating to Change Management.