Becoming Familiar with a Transformation
Absence makes the heart grow fonder and familiarity breeds contempt. In a Pandemic impacted world, we are all likely a bit contemptuous over the technologies that allowed businesses to continue operating remotely in a high capacity.
Many people reading this article have already had at least one virtual meeting today. If not, you more than likely have one scheduled. Prior to 2020, the thought of conducting so much business via video conferencing was far from our minds. But now, video calls are industry standard across every major employment sector. Why? Because there was a major sea change that forced this adjustment. Remote working has become the norm for more than 50% of the workforce. This requires rapid adaptation in order to remain competitive. Managing this transformation requires adjustments.
This is just one example of getting out of the way of change and realizing that there’s value in said change for everyone. The question becomes, “can you manage it?”
Leading from the Front in Turbulent Times
Make no mistake about it, these are turbulent times across the supply chain landscape. As our friend Stacy Green, SVP at Keurig Dr Pepper, said on our Supply Chain Careers podcast, “staying calm in turbulent times and not throwing fuel on the fire during transitions” is essential and a necessary trait for effective leaders. We’ve got to always manage change calmly.
- Lead from the front.
- Communicate consistently.
- Support the team.
- Set the tone that supports those who bring “off track” items up early.
- Don’t punish team members who bring up problems, reward them.
- Coach accountability.
- Plan for things to go wrong.
- Remain agile.
Can’t fix problems that you don’t know about. The good leaders will reward transparency about mistakes and all the “red lights.” If you’re on top of those, then you can only fall so far. But if your team is afraid to come to you with problems, mistakes, errors, or poor performance schemes, then said red lights can metastasize. Reward both good work and the attention to bad work.
Change doesn’t happen by only doing what has worked in the past. Change happens by looking around the next curve for anticipated obstacles and adjusting current tactics.
There’s a Formulaic Science to Change Management
It’s like antibiotics, if you take a course, you’re gonna get better. If you follow the scientific standards of change and program management, things will get better. This is why you engage with professionals who have done this for a living. They can guide you through this and customize a change management plan for your specific needs. Just as you won’t use a plumber to reconstruct your ACL in your knee, you need specialized and experienced people to help create this path. But, the numbers don’t lie: use this proven process and change will be done right.
20 years ago, flip phones were barely coming on the market, the Motorola RAZR being the height of this technology.
And just 10 years later, smart phones had taken over. The radical and rapid disruption that technology has placed on our worlds has forced change on all of us. This same rapid disruption impacts supply chain in major ways. Change doesn’t always come gradually, and more of it was forced upon the world with a global pandemic.
Now, we live in a very disrupted world. That means change is ever present. How we handle said change and manage it on an enterprise level can be the difference between success and failure. We can collect buy-in from every stakeholder, from bottom to top and have synergistic transformation or we can rule with an iron fist and hope for the best.
Whether its a smart phone or an electric vehicle, the world is changing and supply chains with it. Our adaptive capacity rests with our leaders. How will said change be guided and “what’s in it for me?” Success sometimes hinges on a leader’s willingness to relentlessly sell the value of the change, especially when external factors drive compressed change.
It’s good to consult experts on this topic if your organization is looking to make fundamental shifts and transformations. Some books on the topic to consider include: Heart of Change and Leading Change.
Change Management Certifications are also available via ASCM’s certification process.