This is the first in a series of articles discussing the inherent nature of change and some useful suggestions for helping operationalize those “ah-ha moments."
Nobody has ever said that change is easy. It is a journey full of obstacles. But those obstacles are not impenetrable and with the right planning and communication, many of these obstacles can be cleared away making a more defined path for change to follow.
So why is it that we often see failures that could have been avoided if changes that are obvious were not addressed before the problem occurred? The data was analyzed and yet nobody acted on these insights. Why does the organization fail to what I call operationalize the ah-ha moment? Was it a conscious decision?
From the outside looking in it is easy to criticize organizations for not implementing obvious changes. But from the inside, there are many issues that cripple the efforts of change, and it usually boils down to time, people, process, technology or financial challenges.
Companies make significant investments in business intelligence capabilities because they realize that hidden within the vast amounts of information they generate on a daily basis, there are jewels to be found that can provide valuable insights for the entire organization. For example, with today's analytic platforms business analysts in the marketing department have access to sophisticated tools that can mine information and uncover reasons for the high rate of churn occurring in their customer base. They might do this by analyzing all interactions and conversations taking place across the enterprise and the channels where customers engage the company. Using this data analysts then begin to see various paths and patterns emerging from these interactions that ultimately lead to customer churn.
These analysts have just discovered the leading causes of churn within their organization and are at the apex of the ah-ha moment. They now have the insights to stop the mass exodus of valuable customers and positively impact the bottom line. It’s obvious these insights would be acted upon and operationalized immediately, but that may not be the case. Perhaps the recently discovered patterns leading to customer churn touch so many internal systems, processes and organizations that getting organizational buy in to the necessary changes is mired down in a endless series of internal meetings.
So what can be done given these realities? Here’s a quick list of tips that will help you enable change in your organization:
- Someone needs to own the change and then lead rather than letting change lead him or her.
- Make sure the reasons for change are well documented including measurable impacts and benefits for the organization.
- When building a change management plan, identify the obstacles in the organization and make sure to build a mitigation plan for each.
Communicate the needed changes through several channels.
- Be clear when communicating change. Rumors can quickly derail or stall well thought out and planned change efforts.
- When implementing changes make sure that the change is ready to be implemented and is fully tested.
- Communicate the impact of the changes that have been deployed.
- Have enthusiastic people on the team and train them to be agents of change.
- Establish credibility by building a proven track record that will give management the confidence that the team has the skills, creativity and discipline to implement these complex changes.
Once implemented monitor the changes closely and anticipate that some changes will require further refinement. Remember that operationalizing the ah-ha moment is a journey. A journey that can bring many valuable and rewarding benefits along the way.
So, what’s your experience with operationalizing your "ah-ha moment"?