Head of Change Management & Adoption, Storm Technology
CEO, Storm Technology
To make digital transformation a success, you’ll need to manage change properly. That means having a clear sense of why the change is taking place – and who it will impact.
So, you want to make a change in your organisation. Whether it is technology or process related, there’s no point in changing just for the sake of it, says Catherine Finn, Head of Change Management and Adoption at business technology consultancy, Storm Technology. To implement change successfully, you must understand the bigger picture.
That’s why the first thing Finn asks customers is: why do you want to change? And what will that change mean for your staff and the way they work? “Often an organisation hasn’t quantified that,” she says. “So, we ask them questions that help define the change. Once they find their vision for change, we can help them get to where they need to be.”
Making changes that will be fully adopted by staff
Successful change management isn’t rocket science, admits Karl Flannery, Storm Technology’s CEO — but there is a discipline to it. Do it right, and change will be well-adopted by your workforce, helping you achieve your business goals. Do it wrong, and changes simply won’t stick. “Poor change management is expensive,” he says.
Your staff are the people who will be at the sharp end of the change. They know how they work best and where their business pains are on a day-to-day basis.
It’s vital to bring the organisation along with you, insists Finn. “Change management is about involving and consulting staff,” she says. “It’s not about getting their permission, but you have to let them know why the change is taking place, how it impacts them and helping them see the benefits to both them and their organisation.”
Why a change manager needs strong listening skills
Staff need to feel supported and that their voices are being heard. “One of the key skills a change manager needs is strong listening skills,” says Finn. After all, your staff are the people who will be at the sharp end of the change. They know how they work best and where their business pains are on a day-to-day basis. Always be open and upfront with them and — when changing tech — demo the new system to highlight its capabilities. If there is resistance to change, it’s important to identify and understand where it’s coming from.
“Along with having a desire to make a change and clarity on the reasons, staff also need to have the skills to make the change,” says Finn. “Training plays a key part of the change process, however training alone is not enough to build your staff’s proficiency in the new technology, ongoing support is crucial, particularly in the early days of the change initiative.”