Transform and become AGILE… not FrAGILE!
Change being a constant has been replaced by Transformations. Every organization today is transforming itself in one way or another in order to successfully navigate the volatility of the current situations and the pressures that it puts on to them in all aspects of the business. Whether it is product diversification, customer journeys, process re-engineering or positioning as an employer, organizations today are grappling to run transformation projects and re-establish their identity to remain financially viable and successful over a longer period of time.
96% of organizations are in some phase of transformation, and nearly half have completed at least one transformation initiative in the past 24 months (KPMG). However, with the innumerable transformation projects undertaken, there is the dark side of how well these projects perform and become embedded into the norm that an organization follows post the implementation of the project. As per a 2018 Gartner study, 50% of organization change projects are a complete failure and 16% are completed with mixed results. In essence, two-thirds of projects undertaken – which prey on time, costs, talent, focus, energy, engagement, work-life balance – all end up with nothing being achieved in the short or longer term for the organization. In fact, such projects are known to negatively impact the work environment and create an organizational drag that impedes the ability of the people to perform and deliver towards the organization’s objectives.
So why do so many projects fail. Conceptualised, launched and implemented with the intention of making an organization agile and therefore stronger, they actually end up making an organization fragile.
It’s the cool thing to do
As Agile and Transformation took center stage as buzz words, it unfortunately started a trend whereby many organizations and teams started projects just because “it is the cool thing to do”. To define simpler, faster ways of doing things is critical but it is also important to not fix what’s not broken – just for the heck of it. A systematic identification of areas / departments / processes that need to be transformed is critical with the right buy-in so that the projects continue to have the right stakeholder support throughout and post the implementation of the project.
Too many projects at the same time
In the zest to be at the forefront of organizational change and be seen as a market leader, companies tend to launch too many projects at the same time which have to be worked upon and delivered by people within the organizations. However, in an environment where resources are already lean, with leaders and teams stretched, this only tends to create more stress on the system and people are neither able to focus on the projects nor deliver on their regular job role.
Not allowing time to see results
As much as we want to see the results of all the transformation projects, a level of patience is definitely a virtue in cases of driving and implementing transformation projects. Implementing something and expecting to see results immediately, not allowing time for things to settle, for the people within the organization to get used to the change implemented are key de-railers for any transformation project.
Lack of structure and approach
A key misunderstanding of – it’s the cool thing to do, the more coloured post-its, flowcharts, diagrams, journeys and visual representations the better – paperwork, policies, templates are past who needs these exists within all organizations. In all honesty, this is where most transformation projects loose their essence and the ability to remain relevant. Transformation does not mean going away from compliance or process. It means simplifying the approach and way of doing things so that people can become faster, efficient and more productive. A comprehensive framework is definitely needed even to drive and imbibe transformational, agile projects to keep things aligned, up to standard and consistent.
Lack of Communication
One cannot stress enough upon the necessity of clear, crisp, transparent communication related to transformational projects but not many organizations actually do it. Clarity of communication not only helps to communicate the objectives and expected outcomes of the transformation, it aims to inspire the members of the larger community within the organization to come together and believe in a new approach, a new purpose and potentially contribute towards it. After all any change will only be successful if the people it is meant for adopt it, adapt to it and administer it. Only 39% of employees say their organizations were effective at inspiring employees in this era of ongoing transformation. (Institute of Public Relations). In the new world with teams spread or working remotely, how effectively an organization maintains its connection and communicates, will determine how successful transformation projects are in the future.