Drivers for the Change

“But we announced it to our personnel”, says the most common counterargument when analyzing why a change of any kind has not occurred. Companies keep on announcing, employees keep on following their own old paths.

Most of the strategies, 3-year plans, initiatives and synonyms alike tend to disconnect from humans. Strategy papers are complex when simplicity wins in a fast-paced society. They are boring when good stories grasp the attention.

For a decade or few, becoming customer centric has been one of the change hurdles businesses are facing. According to studies 94 % businesses expect to become customer centric, yet only 34 % are investing on it. Not to mention that only as few as 7 % companies have even a shared language about their customers needs. That counts for plenty of changes to be processed in corporations.

Several academics and consultants have dedicated their lives for defining the framework of a perfectly managed change. Those include many unquestionable jewels but tend to forget the three most important drivers for the change: being human, relevant, and radical.

Human. Strategies are either owned by people or just given to them. the Latter obviously being the corporate standard, resulting in slower or only forced implementation. Ownership introduces excitement, energy and endurance to the process. Moreover, great strategies grasp customers as human beings, giving personnel a fair reasoning to whom the value should be create to.

Relevant. Strategy is either outcome-oriented or not a strategy at all. Going back to its etymology, strategy is a plan to align the resources at hand to achieve a goal. Yet, today, too many papers are filled with obvious imperatives (“our corner stones are customer experience, operational excellence and responsibility”) for which many may nod an approval, but which won’t steer the direction any given day. Imperatives are irrelevant for too many, and eventually for the business itself as well.

Radical. To create something worthwhile to capture the attention, one must question and challenge the status quo. Hierarchies make managers to easily believe that their messages overrule social media stimuli or deep learned habits. True leaders convince with stories worth listening, amidst of walking the talk.

At the end of the day, being human, relevant, and radical requires no sweat, nor magic. But it takes courage in the midst of grey suits.

Roope Ruotsalainen