A change management strategy is vital to the success of any improvement program. If there is no buy-in from employees the expected ROI will never materialise. Ahead of the Culture and Change Management for Business Transformation 2018 event, we discuss driving a successful digital transformation with Stanislas Cofrade, Head of Program Management Office, China, Asia and Japan-Pacific at Sanofi.
1. How Do You Drive a Successful Digital Transformation? What Are the Key Components?
Before thinking of the digital transformation impact and the way to make it happen, we should focus on the “WHY”. Why do we have to change? Only then can you ask the “HOW”. How do I want to make it happen? Once the answers to these questions are clear, the rest can follow, such as what technology to use? What KPI measurements? What results do we want to look at?
All these questions should be at the beginning of the transformation definition to ensure that the technology is used as a technical support and not as the driver of your transformation. We are living in a world where technology brings a multitude of opportunities to the organisation and this should help us to think differently. By this I mean asking questions like how can I create breakthrough in my way of working ? How can I change my operational model? How will this help my collaborators on a daily basis?
A digital transformation means being curious on what the market can offer, taking risk to implement new technologies not yet trialled in your area, accept the potential failure as a learning curve for future successes , and last but not least, make it happen fast.
2. How Did You Achieve Buy-in From Employees on Making Such Huge Changes?
When we talk about change management, the key component is people. The best plans can fail if you don’t have people willing to follow them.
The first step to get buy-in from everyone is to understand what their current pain points are. Listen to the voice of your customers and your employees because they provide you with the reality of your operational challenges. Listening to people also means you recognize them. All change management activities should start with these pre-requirement activities to ensure a success.
It’s almost impossible to satisfy everybody when you have to make a change in a process or an organization. That’s why you should also spend time understanding their expectations and needs, incorporating them into the end goals; it can be a workload reduction , a process standardised or an interaction simplified with colleagues.
To make a win-win situation and a successful change implementation, it’s about what people are willing to give in order to get additional benefits. Perceptions on what an improvement is vary according to roles and priorities. This brings a complexity to change management but also exciting challenges along the journey.
3. What Have Been the Challenges and How Do You Deal With Them?
One of the most important challenges in change management is to ensure your activity is understood properly by the management of your organisation. All your activities should have the right endorsement and sponsorship from the management team. Because they have a role to play as change agent they also need to understand how it will bring value for them and therefore provide buy-in.
Change management activities are now in a maturity stage with many tools and approaches existing to guide companies on them. However nothing will be possible without the right people.
The skills requested to manage change management activities are not easy to find. You need cross collaboration, empathy, strategic vision and a problem solving mindset. Yet the perfect candidate is virtually nonexistent so the most important aspect is to empower people who want to be part of the change team and bring about a culture of transformation. Make sure they have the proper guidance and training. As soon as the team sees the challenges as opportunities, an important success step of your transformation is achieved.
To find out more about managing change efficiently and effectively in the digital age, Culture and Change Management for Business Transformation 2018 will feature Asia’s leading change agents and business partners. They will be showcasing how to improve business performance, reduce risk of project failures and pave the way for a more customer-centric and profitable organisation.