By definition Business Transformation is transformative!
Manual processes are automated, human interactions taken online, old routines are eliminated. All to achieve a better customer experience, lower cost to serve, or improved compliance.
Even for those staff who accept the reason, adapting to the consequences is often challenging. And for those who don’t, or will lose their job, it’s worse.
Leaders who have been successful in their roles for many years can suddenly find themselves in uncharted territory, and expected to have all the answers.
It’s nobody’s fault.
Strategy without psychology is simply expensive Powerpoint!
It takes an enormous amount of effort to start a transformation project. A business problem has become large enough that there is finally complete commitment to fix it.
The strategy is agreed, a business case has been written, re-written, presented, amended, argued and finally funding is secured. The CIO has allocated (already busy) resources, a Project Manager recruited, etc, etc…
Despite all best intentions, managing the human consequences of the planned transformation are either forgotten or the effort under estimated.
In our experience those who are great at the ‘what’ are often extremely poor at the ‘how’.
Change Management is a false promise
As an accredited Change Manager, I am massive believer in the profession, except for its title!
Simple change can be managed. Transformational change requires something far more powerful.
At it’s core, Change Management identifies the human impact of change and seeks to manage that. Management often involves communications, consultation, training and other crucial ingredients.
It often fails by turning empathy into a structured process and hence de-personalising it.
“Your life is about to completely change, but don’t worry because we’ve already designed a new life for you(!)”
Compassion is the missing ingredient
It’s not that there is anything fundamentally wrong with Change Management, it’s simply that it does not go far enough.
Compassion does not mean soft, or shirking difficult decisions. (Clients have employed Compassionate Business Transformation on projects involving multiple redundancies).
Compassionate means establishing a culture of respect and true understanding, a precursor to trust and commitment. It is leadership, not management. And it works.
The project to date has remained on track, on budget and its key milestones have been met.
Mark O’Neill, General Manager, Coal Services Health
When to consider Compassionate Business Transformation
- The change will have a significant impact on your people, and is mission critical;
- Your people are critical to success, and you anticipate adoption challenges;
- You and your leadership team are open to receiving support to strengthening change leadership skills;
- Your organisation does not have a history of successfully delivering transformations like this.
- The change is small and/or not mission critical;
- You are confident that your people with adapt with minimal issues;
- The leadership style of you and your leadership team is good enough and you don’t need to improve;
- You haven’t got much time to devote to the project.
What is it?
Compassionate Business Transformation is for leaders who believe that success will be achieved because of their team, not despite them.
It’s core tenets are leadership (not management) and empathy (not sympathy).
Implementation focusses on 3 practices:
- Helicopter vision – reading the psychology of organisational behaviour to your advantage.
- Authentic empathy – routinely creating strong trust by forming human connections based on listening, understanding and appropriate responses.
- Turbocharged influence – successfully leading people to where they believe they need to go (but don’t necessarily want to).
We absolutely believe that certain business transformation projects can and should be compassionate! Is it appropriate for your project?
For a longer read checkout our book Right is Wrong, 8 essential steps to avoid the pitfalls that smart people make when transforming their organisation.
Too busy to read? Checkout our Smart Business Transformation podcast on iTunes, Android and the web!
Ben Ramsden supports transformational leaders in market challengers, not-for-profits and institutions to create enduring breakthroughs.