Who wants radical business process change?

Photo at blog from webmaster - 27/10/2010 - 07:11

Engaging with a smart group of experienced managers with a variety of backgrounds in the IT industry, we discussed the viability of a radical change focused team. Not just the next standard times & materials based consultancy organization but a result focused and rewarded team that creates breakthrough results. For me the prime question is if there are business managers waiting for radical change agents.

When is for radical change an option? Simplified when the following situation occurs:

  • Business processes seem to get ever more complex and expensive
  • Results are under pressure, both qualitative and quantitative
  • The organization is more looking inward than outward
  • Just doing the current things better will not break the vicious circle
  • Real change is eminent but not obvious
  • There is a compelling event to start acting
  • There is still time/money to change

The first natural reaction to the above is to yet another project to improve something. We have seen them all: from TQM to customer surveys, from CRM introduction to defining a new org chart. And if the problem at hand is not to structural, improvements are often realized and if well managed the investments show a proper ROI. But when the problem has multiple aspects and the course of (non) acting will decide if the organization will remain a commodity player, will go out of business or will grow to a next level, a more radical approach is needed.

What is radical change according to my definition?

  • Anything can be discussed: product, market, geography, organization, etc.
  • Executive sponsorship for the change: even if this means that the sponsor could be impacted
  • Interdisciplinary change: marketing, technology, sales, delivery, people, etc.
  • Innovation as leading theme: don’t change to become commodity
  • Outside catalysts/inside champions: a radical change team can facilitate but need executing power from within
  • Sustainable solution: the drive and organization for the next 3-5 years
  • Re-build during shop hours: until the change has been implemented and generates results, the current organization has to survive

So, who is waiting for this? My guess is that 80% of the executive managers is not interested at all and will remain doing what they are best at: avoiding risks and maintaining their position. Another 15% is interested but will not embrace the approach because of reasons like lack of time/money, fear, overruled by board of directors, risk assessment outcome, merger & acquisition alternatives or simply another less radical solution which they think will result in solving the problem.

The remaining 5% is seriously contemplating radical change. For them the first step is to find the right partner to help them. Not that easy: trust, understanding, innovative skills, in-dependency, willingness to take risks, result based renumeration are just a few of the elements to consider. Only after thorough analysis and prototyping the final decision to implement the radical change is to be taken.

Do you think radical change is in demand or are you a business manager in need for it? Please let me know your thoughts.


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