Stop! What is making us successful?

In today’s business world, the focus is ‘change’. Those of you on transition journeys will recognise the urge to home in on the problems, and spend a lot of time and energy on how to fix them. But, do we spend enough time on considering, ‘what is working well?’ After all, something must be right, otherwise we wouldn’t be in business.

The question is not if we should change or not, we have no choice.

We have to innovate to stay competitive, to increase our profitability, efficiency and shareholder value. Keeping ahead of technological advancements and ever evolving regulatory requirements, all of which means continual transformation and multifaceted complex challenges for all of us. Obviously, Brexit, which we discussed in our previous blog, is simply one of the latest drivers to add to the list.

Often our requirements for change leads us to a view that what is current and working is no longer fit for purpose. This generates a ‘Fix It’ culture. While on the surface, the ‘out with the old, and in with the new’ approach generally makes sense, it brings with it its own set of challenges:

  • Elements of what generates success tend to be overlooked, with additional resource expended on re-inventing the wheel
  • Individuals push back against replacing existing effective working practices, and are commonly termed as resistors

Both of these impacts the time and the long-term success of the change agenda.

Understanding Success

What if you stop and ask, ‘what makes this organisation successful?’ This question can produce a variety of responses ranging from people, technology solutions, and services to processes, products, ideas and relationships. When we go deeper and ask, ‘what is it specifically about these people, technology solutions, services, processes, products, ideas and relationships, that is generating success?’ the answers can be more difficult to articulate.

The challenge is the ‘problem mindset’. When we are in our ‘problem’ focused space, we easily expend a lot of time and energy on understanding and diagnosing what is not working, with not enough time and energy spent on understanding what is working. If we are fortunate, the cost of this is merely longer implementation time and ultimately money. If we are unfortunate, the costs extend beyond time and money, to people and negative impacts on team, department and organisational morale and momentum.

Our experience is that, if we put energy into understanding our attributes of success, then we dramatically increase the lasting impact from our improvement initiatives.

Success Mapping

We have found that the straightforward approach of conducting focus groups, drawn from across the levels and areas involved, provide very useful insights. Insights, which support leaders and change functions to consider and minimise the impact to enabling factors, and freeing up time and resources to focus on those aspects truly in need of transformation.

In addition, when we combine focus groups with a clear understanding of organisational culture and mindsets gained through our diagnostic process, we find that defining ‘what’ to change and ‘how’ to change it becomes straightforward and natural process. This reduces the implementation effort and duration of the change journey, whilst lowering resistance to change. We call this process ‘Success Mapping.

In short, it doesn’t matter if you are already in the midst of a transformation or about to start one. Pausing to clearly understand what is working well, what is fit for purpose and the gap to the desired future state will enable you to accurately target your efforts and resources. Which in turn will lead to shorter transition journeys and longer lasting outcomes for your business.

If you are intrigued by Success Mapping and how it could improve transformation delivery in your organisation, feel free to connect with us. We will be happy to share our experience or assist you on your journey. Please contact us here at Transition Dynamics.

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