We all know that change is a constant and that we must change to better ourselves or adapt to new business requirements. However, how often do we prepare for change if we don’t know how the economic landscape will change?
Here are a few trends to watch for.
- IT will become integral to business strategies. The world is becoming increasingly digital, and IT will be the driving force behind businesses’ strategies in the coming years. On the one hand, for example, IT will fuel ever-increasing levels of efficiency and productivity. At the same time, though, new tools and technologies will be the centerpiece of many business products and services.
- The workplace will become more digital. Change will dramatically affect the workplace, thanks to trends such as automation, digital transformation, and more. According to a report by the World Economic Forum, 65% of children entering primary school today will end up working in jobs that don’t even exist yet. Businesses must naturally prepare for such significant changes if they want to stay competitive and relevant.
- The economic landscape will change. The competitive landscape of your industry will always be changing – competition will change, customer needs will change, marketplace dynamics will change, and supplier networks will change. Thanks to trends such as digital innovation and, of course, COVID-19 itself, the pace of change is accelerating.
There certainly are other trends that will affect the business landscape, but these are a few of the most preeminent ones that we should watch.
By understanding these changes, change leaders can design transformation plans that will help them stay relevant and successful in the coming years. That knowledge will also help leaders more effectively assess their organisation’s change readiness.
Readiness for Change: Assessment Tips
The most effective way to ensure people are ready to change is to start with a readiness assessment. This is a critical component to any change management effort because it helps change managers understand what barriers are preventing people from changing, which forces support change, and, ultimately, how to design better change plans.
To reiterate, a readiness assessment helps to “bridge the gap” between the current state of the organisation and the desired change.
To that end, when assessing readiness and designing a change plan, it is important to focus on tasks such as the following:
Get a clear picture of the business, its processes, and its strategy. To create an organisational change that suits the organisation’s goals, change leaders need to understand the business model, the business strategy, and what the company’s goals are.
Understand how the organisation’s culture affects its performance. Culture isn’t just about how people interact with each other at the office, nor is it simply about the workplace climate. Though these are included within the definition of organisational culture, the important point to remember here is that culture impacts organisational performance – and it can affect people’s willingness to support certain types of change projects.
Evaluate technology’s role in the workplace. In the years ahead, an organisation’s IT strategy and digital transformation strategy will become increasingly central to business models. Change readiness assessments should offer a clear picture of the organisation’s digital capabilities – or its digital maturity – by examining everything from business processes to digital strategy to the employees’ digital savviness.
Assess employee skills and attitudes towards change and technology. Digital skills are certainly an important point to pay attention to, particularly during digital transformation projects. After all, without the right skills, employee productivity and engagement will remain low. Yet it is equally important to assess how employees feel about new technology. Ask, for instance, whether they will be willing to embrace new technology or whether it will create anxiety. Those feelings will, after all, affect engagement and performance.
Analyse the impact of multiple proposed changes. A business impact analysis will explore how a particular change project will affect various areas of the business, such as finances, organisational performance, the customer journey experience, etc. By evaluating potential change proposals in tandem with a change readiness assessment, change leaders can choose the project that is most appropriate for the circumstances.
These are some of the most important points to evaluate when conducting a readiness assessment.
However, it should be remembered that each change project is unique – and each assessment should be specifically tailored to a given change proposal.