Band Aids or a wellness program: which one will help you survive?
While you no doubt answered Wellness, the reality is that when you look at the typical change programs in a major corporation today, Band Aids are far more common. But that's hardly surprising given the short term pressures facing organizations today. Let's reflect on a few examples:
Those in the financial services industry are still struggling to deal with the rash of new regulation post melt-down. Following a spate of high profile failures, risk management has taken center stage, while in others there is a hurried review of operating procedures in far flung corners of the corporation.
In virtually all industries, others are trying to respond to hemorrhaging sales statistics. Customers are no longer happy to keep quiet when they get a bad service experience - they tell their friends and followers via Facebook and Twitter. Customer churn is rampant.
Or is it increased competitive pressures. More and more new entrants are turning up to challenge and disrupt the incumbent business models of many established firms. They don't have the baggage of high cost business models and 12 layers of management.
And we're doing this at a time when devices are taking the world by storm (around 80m iPads in 2 years, yet the iPhone took 5 years to reach that point). We want much of the same core business functionality on the road; while at the same time, our expectations of systems usability in the office is shaped by the ease of use we find on our personal devices.
Now ask yourself how many projects - change programs, reorganizations, post-merger integrations, transformation initiatives, systems modernization, or any other sort of initiative with a 3 or 4 letter acronym - that your organization has on the go. Is it 10, 20, 50, 100, 500 or more than that?
Then think about the degree to which these changes share artifacts, language, or strategic intent? How well coordinated is the decision making and governance of these changes? Do they succeed because of the sponsorship of a key executive? Or is it because of the merit of the program?
Now stop and consider the poor mid-ranking employee - how do you think they are getting on juggling all these seemingly conflicting priorities? From their perspective, there is a veritable deluge of uncoordinated change.
So not surprisingly, savvy organizations today are focusing more on alignment and coordination of change.
Rather than applying Band Aids willy-nilly, these firms are using business architecture to underpin deeper, more meaningful change initiatives.
Rather than pandering to the sub-optimal agendas of individual silos, they are designing their service offerings outside in.
Rather than assuming it's all about the shiny new server in the corner, they've realized it's better to focus on the capabilities of the firm and the services that are delivered.
Rather than bleeding customers as they slowly slip into mediocrity, they see processes as way of delivering those compelling experiences that customers just love.
In short, they're reinventing themselves - using a coordinated approach to change and engagement of employees. And that's what we'll be talking about at our upcoming Business Process and Architecture Forum. I'll be joined by firms such as Philips, TNT, AIG and UMB as they help me flesh out the challenges, pitfalls and lessons learnt on October 4th in London, and October 19th in Orlando.
There's that old adage - "the only thing that's constant around here is change." But is it? As far as I can tell there's nothing constant about it ... it's speeding up all the time. The question is: how will you handle it?
This blog originally appeared at Forrester Research.
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