Driving business transformation. When I was asked to write this blog based on the title above we were still going through the motions of the UK’s response to the covid-19 pandemic, the first things that came to mind were these questions:
- “Isn’t this life for everyone right now?
- “Aren’t we all having to drive and shape this transformation?
- “Don’t we all lead at different times, with different skills and different points in our life?”
We’re all living through the same pandemic, undoubtedly our observations, experiences and learning will never be the same as each other. So, I hope when you’re reading this that you reflect on your business transformations and personal experiences.
I hope that you value that difference, share it with those around you, so that we may all learn and together drive the transformations for the success of our organisations. Ensuring that on our journey we continue to care for our customers, care for our workforce and care for our finances to so we can continue to deliver a prosperous and healthy society.
Perfection or continuous improvement?
How many times when driving business transformation, have your tried to get it so everything is just so? You know what I mean the detailed project plan containing every action that needs doing to the nth degree, trying to think of everything that might go wrong so you’ve got a mitigating action should it happen.
Yet through this pandemic many businesses have had to transform without the time for that level of perfection, there’s a lot to learn from this experience. For me the reflection is we’ve being using improvement science without even realising we’re doing it.
The PDSA cycle (plan-do-study-act) sometimes known as the Deming Cycle.
My role is within the NHS and when the pandemic struck, here we were with imperfect information and transformation that was required instantly to protect our people and save lives. The same can be said for other businesses, they needed to transform quickly, no time for perfection, just get the change in place.
As the months have progressed those initial changes we made haven’t necessarily stayed as they were implemented on day one, we’ve studied those changes and learned from the outcomes. This may be through talking with our staff and our customers, we’ve worked out the tweaks we can make, the further changes that would make it more efficient, safer or a better experience.
We’re carrying out lots of PDSA cycles, gaining valuable learning and knowledge for the continuous improvement of our products, services and processes.
The impact of transformation in the pandemic naturally followed Plants six key activities for successful implementation;
- Avoid over organising
- Ensure early involvement
- Work at gaining commitment
- Turn perception of threat into opportunity
- Provide help to face up to the change
- Communicate like never before
Facing up to that change has been a big one these last few months. Often when we consider transformation, what we’re actually suggesting is a change, for some reason we often focus on the task in hand, the change we are trying to make, the outcome it will have, the results it will bring.
What’s not always at the forefront of everyone’s mind are people, yet isn’t everything we do about the people, whatever the business? The outcomes/product for the customer, the task for the staff member, the performance monitoring for the manager, I could go on, but you get the gist.
When I pause and think about the amount of change going on in my life, whether that’s in my business or in my personal life, it’s pretty huge right now, covid-19 and all that. Wouldn’t it be great to be a robot to compartmentalize, so that neither impacts on each other, but we’re human beings.
I’m experiencing so many different transitions right now, which is why I love Fisher’s Personal Transition Curve, a tool that helps me pinpoint where I am on my journey of transition, it gives me comfort. What I’m feeling, what I’m experiencing right now, well that’s normal. Let’s not forget as a leader we’re being watched all the time, don’t we need to work through our own transition first, get past that trough of doom if we’re going to have the energy to help others in their transition the transformation.
Without the understanding of our transitions and working through them, how will the transformation be successful?
Communication and Engagement
Hence for me transformation isn’t just a technical change, we have to pay attention to the social aspects of change, the social system of people & relationships. Let’s be honest we all know the more views and different perspectives we gather will provide a more rounded view of the problem the transformation is looking to resolve.
The benefit of the PDSA cycle is we know the initial transformation won’t be our end point, it’s just the start of our transformation, it allows us to engage with our stakeholders as we progress the transformation, to continuously improve and transition to a transformation that is owned by us all and hopefully more successful than we ever envisaged.
With that I’ll finish where I started…
We’re all living through the same pandemic, undoubtedly our observations, experiences and learning will not be the same as each other’s. So, I hope when you’ve read this blog that you take the time to reflect on your personal experience.
I hope that you value that difference of the learnings you will have had and share it with those around you, so that we may all learn and together drive the transformations for the success of our organisations, ensuring in that journey we continue to care for our customers, care for our workforce and care for our finances to ensure we can continue to deliver a prosperous and healthy society.
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Associate tutor of In Professional Development