Can we refuse the Transformation?
We often hear: the Transformation should only take place if the Actors accept it.
In other words, if the Actors do not want it, we should not look to Transform.
It is clear that it is a lot sounder to carry out a Transformation in a favorable context than in a hostile context.
But the question is not "can we refuse the Transformation if the social consequences are too difficult" but rather "as we have to Transform the Enterprise to continue to exist, how can we accompany the change to make it easier?".
How can we make the Actors accept a Transformation?
As mentioned earlier, we can lower stress levels by standardizing the usage, providing more mobility, facilitating Information migrations... In short, by contributing to provide fluidity.
But it is not enough: we also have to give meaning to the change so that everyone understands that it is a thought-out initiative which should provide a competitive advantage to the Enterprise and that they will contribute to it.
The Vision must be communicated to everyone, by clearly separating the "why" we are Transforming (what we call the Goal) from the description of the new Enterprise Model, which will enable us to satisfy this Goal.
When the Actors understand the Vision, they accept more easily the consequences of it, even if they seem negative to them.
According to John Kotter, a pertinent vision should be all these things at once:
- Imaginable, that is to say that it must convey a clear image of the future;
- Desirable in such a way that each stakeholder in
the change gets something out of it;
- Realistic to be able to be broken down into reachable objectives;
- Precise to be able to truly guide the action and decision-making;
- Flexible in such a way as to allow involvement and appropriation through taking initiatives;
- Communicable, that is to say easily transmittable
and explainable. Anyone should be able to understand the
vision in under five minutes.
Once the Vision has been defined, the Transformation has to be described over time: at what rate will the change reach the organization and when will the Actors be impacted? It is advisable to avoid the tunnel effect and to move forwards by gradual increments (see the agile Approach) to give credibility to the approach.
If the different Actors share a common vision of the future, it will be far easier to have them work together to build it.
If their job is impacted, we have to offer them future prospects: here again, training plays an important role.
Complete consensus is illusory
The ideal situation would be that we manage in this way to convince everyone before starting the Transformation. But be careful of other-worldliness!
No matter what efforts are made, we will always find three types of population in the Enterprise:
1. The positives state that they have been waiting for this change forever, they do not understand why it was not done sooner.
2. The inconstants do not have a firm belief and waver from one side to another according to the successes or failures of the Transformation.
3. The negatives refuse the change and efforts made, declaring that it will never work, that things are complicated enough today as it is, that there is already enough to do without spending energy changing the Model...
The proportions of the 3 groups depend
- on the Enterprise Culture: digital Enterprises that continuously evolve their Offer accept change more than traditional industries
- on the status of the employees: if job security is guaranteed, the 3rd group is powerful; if, conversely, everyone's job depends on the success of the Enterprise, the first group is important
- on its history: in particular, previous failures
can increase the 3rd population.
Experience has shown that we cannot convince the 3rd population in the preparatory phases of a Transformation, which must not stop us from informing them like everyone else.
If we look for a complete consensus before beginning a Transformation, we risk never starting it.
It is recommended to rely on the first group, for the initial phases which are generally the most difficult: we accumulate Building the Enterprise Architecture, the Components, we teach the new Transformation team to work together and we try out the first Models.
The "positives" will have to put up with the initial problems.
If successful, facts are stubborn and the inconstants will rejoin the first group.
If success is confirmed, we will no longer hear from the diehards. Some of them will even recognize that the Transformation has been a success.
The story of George the Baker is made available under the terms of the
Creative Commons Attribution - NoDerivatives 4.0 International license.