The Influencer Circle discussion at the TechHR Conference saw the attendance of Arvind Gupta of Ideas Wall incubator; Suresh Narayanan of Nestle; Kate Sweetman, author; and Lucia Real-Martin of ACCA, who discussed the mechanics of change and transformation in organizations, while laying emphasis on digitally disruptive technologies.
Kicking off the session, Ester Martinez, CEO and Editor-in-Chief at People Matters, pointed out that “change today is not just about digital technologies but also about a shift in business models.”
Arvind Gupta, while pointing out that in a lot of cases there is no alternative but to change and transform as it becomes imperative for survival, he cited the example of the Indian Government having adopted technology in a big way through successfully implementing disruptions like GST and demonetization, both events that were supported by a robust digital infrastructure.
While discussing transformation in the digitally disruptive business ecosystem, Suresh Narayanan from Nestle listed out 3 aspects of change — leadership, communication, and storytelling, and he also outlined the benefits of change for every person involved. He commented that the most important input that leaders need to communicate to each and every person in the organization is “What’s in it for me?” A belief in the personal benefits of transformation is essential for success. If properly implemented, the journey of change is more interesting than the destination.
Lucia Real-Martin of ACCA traced the origin of digital disruptions as a cost driver to a strategic imperative in business operations. She highlighted democratization of education as a fine example of digital disruption, which has enabled people from all to enroll in courses, which has now exponentially enhanced the reach of learning to remotest corners of the country.
Kate Sweetman, on the other hand, mentioned that 'Fearless leadership' is the most important element of any transformation. She went on to state that a leader has to do a careful and deliberate study of the cost of change vs. the benefits of the change and ensure that all stakeholders are convinced that the benefits outweigh the cost.
Transformation in processes and behaviors has to be supported by changes in the work environment in terms of tools and skills required by individuals to perform their jobs better.
On implementing change while preserving business results, the consensus among all panelists was that the need for transformation has to be developed from within the employees rather than driven from the top. It is also not necessary that all parts of the organization will need to change at the same rate and or the same extent and communicating the transformation process is the single most important activity that any leader needs to carry out. A successful change or transformation is possible if the C-suite believes that it is the most important task for the organization and is able to instill this conviction in each and every member of the organization.
The clear takeaway from the session was that 'change' is a 24x7 process that has to permeate all levels of an organization, instead of a switch on/off activity restricted to the top echelons.