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3 Things Organizations Can Do to Create an Ethos of Transformation

Mark Fields talks economic uncertainty with CEO Razat Gaurav

Published By Liz Llewellyn-Maxwell
3 Things Organizations Can Do to Create an Ethos of Transformation

There’s no question that the last few years have had a tumultuous effect on businesses worldwide. Economic stimulus efforts, a global pandemic, global tensions and geopolitical issues, societal unrest – all of those events have altered how organizations bring their products, goods, and services to market.

Many companies have responded to this era of intense uncertainty with massive changes of their own, from enacting new operating models to architecting new customer experiences, and more.

Starbucks, L’Oreal, and Walmart are just three examples of brands that have largely embraced the opportunity to adapt through ongoing digital transformation efforts. Market intelligence firm IDC predicts more companies are eyeing greater adaptability and flexibility through transformation, and will continue to do so.

  • Direct digital transformation investment is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 18% from 2020 to 2023. 
  • By 2023, investment is expected to approach $7 trillion as companies build on existing strategies and investments, becoming digital-at-scale future enterprises.

So, what can you do to create and maintain an ethos of transformation at your organization? Planview CEO Razat Gaurav sat down with Mark Fields, former CEO of Ford and new Chairman of the Board of Planview, to talk about what he sees shaping up in the world around us and the actions you can take to adapt.

Read Next: The Definitive Digital Transformation Guide

Develop a game plan for predictable changes and communicate it

It’s imperative to take a look at the main trends and forces that will affect your business’ industry, specifically. What are the customer, technology, and competitor trends that you already know are coming? Then, take a look at those and take time to discover what impact they are going to have on your business—not only today, but a few years in the future as well.

“Develop a plan that says, based on those macro trends, where do we want to play and how do we want to win?” says Mark. “Married to that is the importance of every leader communicating that to their organizations.”

That’s the biggest takeaway we want to highlight: It’s important to create a game plan for these predictable changes, but it’s even more important to communicate that game plan to your employees. 

Provide context to any strategy that comes from management that details why the business is going in that direction, which plans and systems will change and which will remain the same, and any other context you need to provide. This will only make the process of transformation smoother for everyone.

Plus, if you think you’re overcommunicating your plans, you definitely aren’t. Communication can be easy to overlook, especially while your business is adapting quickly; be sure to over-index on employee communication and be as transparent as humanly possible.

Read Next: Dynamic Planning in the Face of Uncertainty

When transforming your business, pick your shot

When your business is facing any kind of change or transformation, it’s easy for anyone to get overwhelmed. And when everyone is trying to be the loudest voice in the room and affect the most amount of change, things don’t quiet down for a long time.

The toughest challenge of the digital transformation process is resisting the allure of doing everything at once.

“Don’t try to boil the ocean. As you’re looking to transform your business, pick your shots. Don’t try and do everything; be really clear up front on what the problem or opportunity is you’re trying to solve for,” says Mark.

Don’t expect the things you do choose to go perfectly, either. “Some days you take a step forward, and some days you take two steps back. You can’t go through a day without living those emotional highs and lows. You have to keep an eye towards where you are heading and what you are trying to achieve above all,” says Mark.

Especially in times of global economic downturn or geopolitical conflict, your business is not the only one going through these changes, either. Your competitors will likely be picking their battles instead of trying to accomplish everything, and you should too.

Read Next: Digital Transformation Strategy: What You Need to Know

Focus on the destination without getting caught up on the journey

Just like your business needs to be adaptable and flexible, the way you respond to those changes needs to be flexible, too. Many businesses get caught in the trap of sticking to their original plans for change, even if those plans don’t serve the current business or global environment and economy.

“You have to be cognizant of the clock speed in the world around you, and then make sure that you have a process in your company to make decisions in a pretty quick way,” says Mark. “Once you decide on a course of action, it doesn’t mean it’s set in stone. I don’t mean you have to switch plans all the time, but you have to course correct. There are going to be issues that affect your plan. What tweaks do you have to make so you can ultimately end up on the destination you want to be?”

In order to change your course of action appropriately, keep an eye on the global market and your employees; ask for feedback and adjust as necessary.

This wasn’t all Mark had to say about the current state of the world and how to create that “ethos of transformation” — check out the entire conversation in Episode 2 of Connected Conversations.

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Written by Liz Llewellyn-Maxwell Sr. Content Strategist

Liz is a content strategist at Planview. She worked at LeanKit prior to the company being acquired by Planview. With more than 7 years’ of Agile experience, Liz passionately believes in the transformative power that practicing Lean-Kanban principles can have on teams and organizations.