The reinvention problem
The business world today, much like the rest of the external world, finds itself amidst a storm of change. Technology, globalization, economic shifts, geopolitical shocks, and evolving industry best practices have over the years have, in different sets of permutations and combinations, created a business environment which is constantly evolving. These factors have contributed to many sleepless nights that business leaders have had strategizing for the future. From the onslaught of radical, discontinuous change to tweaking simple processes due them growing obsolete, rapid change has been the defining feature of the business environment in past couple of decades.
To keep pace with incoming forces of change, the ability to reinvent becomes a necessary skill for survival. A task which seems daunting enough for an individual, let alone companies with huge, diversified workforces. So is there a rule of thumb for companies to deal with the barrage of changes that a business might face in the coming future?
Although there is still time in the markets witnessing a wholesome solution, many industry leaders and leadership mentors have created various templates to enable companies to prepare for what has often been coined as the ‘age of disruption’. The Masterclass session on “Decoding the Reinvention formula” during Tech HR 2017 had Kate Sweetman, an emerging leadership guru, explain a nuanced formula through which corporate houses can create a framework to reinvent processes, both at the local and institutional levels.
Leaders, by virtue of their roles within the company, have to be at the helm of any reinvention process within the company. According to Sweetman, "The two key features within any reinvention process is the ability to shift mindsets and create synergies.” And having a multifaceted approach that creates the right changes within the company culture to support and facilitate such mindset shifts, are indeed the need of the hour when it comes reinventing process. A culture which supports dynamism and change. “It often not just about the change but more about how one guides the company as one unit through that change is what matters,” explained Kate. Hence a company’s ability to successfully reinvent itself in the face of incoming changes critically hinges on the leader's ability to guide the company through such a reinvention process. To do this, Kate proposed the taking help from the following reinvention formula
(D x F x A x E)L > C
Where the letters have the following meaning
D- Are employees dissatisfied with the current state of affairs?
F- What future alternative is the best fit for the company currently?
A- What aspects within the company need to change in order for it to align with the vision of change?
E- What concrete steps will help the company execute its reinvention process?
C- What are the costs of the reinvention process?
These factors together form what is called the “change quotient”, the collective aspects of any reinvention process which is under the control of the leaders to carefully look at. By ensuring that employees dissatisfied with the current state of operation, the leader creates a natural incentive within many to accept change the company is trying to bring about. The resistance that most companies face from their workforce during transformation/reinvention process is often because the workforce is usually a passive inheritor of the vision of change. Gauging the dissatisfaction levels helps the company create a good platform to start the process of change. The next step then is to figure out the most suitable future alternative, while also figuring the key areas of change creates a clear path of where the company wants to head. And finally, leaders need to figure out the steps necessary for the on-ground execution. This then needs to be compared with perceived costs to take a rational decision on what is to be the best course of preparing for the future. Only through a properly thought out and executed leadership intervention can the overall “change quotient” be more than perceived cost of change. By breaking down the formula into its essential bits and building strategies accordingly, can help business leaders maximize their chances of creating a future ready company.
There are more such company insights in her new book 'Reinvention: Accelerating Results in the Age of Disruption.'