By Sarah Evans, Commercial Director
We’re just over half way through 2020, and it’s already been a rollercoaster ride!
Every single business has been touched by the effects of coronavirus in one way or another – amongst our clients we have seen vast differences depending on industry. For some businesses, we have supported them with people data so they can confidently make tough decisions to survive. For others, we have helped them to scale their business to meet unprecedented demand by recruiting high-priority talent in incredibly short times scales or even from international talent pools. As Josh Bersin, Global Industry Analyst, has dubbed it, this is ‘The Big Reset’ for us all.
That phrase is great for everyone, but I think it is most poignant for businesses. As we go forward, we need to innovate, adapt and evolve to deliver in a completely new landscape. The digital transformation we’ve all been talking about is here, and it is happening at an accelerated rate. As the word ‘transformation’ becomes increasingly used in businesses, it’s important to remember that businesses were already looking to transform before the Coronavirus pandemic, with 99% of organisations saying they wanted to embark on transformation in 2020.
When businesses are looking to transform, they identify the change in strategy, vision, mission and goals. Then they understand what underpins that – from acquisitions or restructures, right across to product/service value propositions. But then transformation either stagnates or does not stick. The next stage is what is missing: bringing your people along with you.
Striking the right balance
It’s a typical balancing act: you need your people to be doing their job so that you can deliver for your customers, but you also need your people to be better, evolving with your business throughout the transformation process. The truth is that takes time, and that’s time your sales people aren’t selling, your operations team aren’t delivering and your leaders aren’t leading. But what is the impact of not bringing your people with you?
63% of executives surveyed, rank cultural challenges as the biggest impediments to transformation efforts. Arguably the biggest contributor to culture is people – be that your leadership team, or an individual on the factory floor – after all, we all play a part in building and maintaining an organisation’s culture.
From our experience of delivering business and sales transformation across different industries, business sizes and countries, the thing that jumps out is that a lack of clarity will result in a lack of unity. If your people continue their role but they aren’t clear on the new strategy, how their role needs to change and what they need to do differently to deliver, the impact will be felt across your business. Suddenly you’ll have confused employees who aren’t delivering or hitting their KPIs – both the employees and their managers won’t know why, but their managers will keep pushing them to do better. This is why the balancing act of delivering today and preparing for tomorrow is so critical.
American political scientist, Henry Kissinger summarises the challenge aptly “the historic challenge for leaders is to manage the crisis while building the future”. I believe that ‘The Big Reset’ is the chance for businesses to get ahead and embed long-term, sustainable transformation. It comes back to businesses struggling to bring their people with them because taking time out of the day-to-day activities can seem counterintuitive. Whilst this investment is never wasted, it can be difficult for some business to do. ‘The Big Reset’ is the time.
The missing piece
As all organisations look to hit the ‘reset’ button, it is the perfect time to invest in your people, prepare them for your future business and get ahead of your competitors. Leaders need to take this breathing space as an opportunity to bring about sustainable change.
As all businesses look to implement some form of transformation, the ‘why’ is clear. What isn’t so clear is the missing piece of the puzzle: bringing your people along with you. Without this puzzle piece, transformation initiatives will never reach their full potential impact.
In my next article, I will explore how Discovery has helped businesses to implement transformation with their people at the heart of the journey, including practical ways to provide your employees with tangible development areas. Our clients have seen incredible results from this approach, with one particular client’s sales transformation journey resulting in double-digit growth.