In January 2020, when COVID-19 first emerged, if someone had told me that come two years I’d be working remotely and wearing a mask every time I went grocery shopping – I’d probably have told them to cut down on Black Mirror episodes. But alas, such is the nature of change and disruption. It’s hard to believe until it happens.
Over the past two years we’ve been plunged into a global crisis. For most of us, it’s impacting every aspect of our lives in some way. It's become the one thing we all have in common – this shared experience of major disruption. However, the magnitude of this change and the way that we handle it varies significantly from person to person. The same can be said about businesses. Some organisations have completely transformed, while others have battened down the hatches and tried to weather the storm.
This blog will explore transformation through disruption. What is business transformation? How should I prepare for it? When does it occur, and how will it impact me? These are the right questions to be asking – no matter where you sit in your organisation.
What is business transformation?
Anything that makes a fundamental change to how a business or organisation runs can be considered business transformation. It’s a broad, umbrella term that is often used to accompany new strategic endeavors and change management initiatives.
In the past, business transformation has been something that an organisation would choose to do. For example, a company implementing their new operating model would be undertaking a planned business transformation journey.
Over the past two years, every business has undergone some degree of business transformation. From large-scale corporates to small-time hospitality venues, we've all had to make significant changes to the way we operate. For the most part, this has meant going digital.
How should I prepare for business transformation?
One of the biggest pitfalls for transformation and change is being underprepared. This is already a common obstacle during planned transformations, let alone during an unplanned global disruption. Over the past two years, the three key takeaway’s I've learnt about preparing for business transformation are:
1. Invest in your digital ecosystem
Outside of the rare exceptions, a stable digital working environment is imperative to business continuity. Whether you’re a SaaS company, a retailer, or a hospitality venue, digital tools enable your staff to better serve your customers.
2. Keep lines of communication open
Regardless as to whether you’re leading the charge or a newly joined graduate, communicating with your colleagues is imperative. Change makes people uneasy. Businesses that successfully transform do so because they have brought their people on the journey.
3. Know what's happening in your market
The pandemic is one thing we all have in common. This means that you don’t always need to reinvent the wheel to find a solution or a path forward. Do your market research, how are my competitors handling this change? What sort of policies and processes have they implemented? How are they supporting their staff? Take the things you like and drop the things you don’t.
How will business transformation impact me?
We’ve all had to adjust to new ways of working. As an employee, you’ve likely come across a slew of collaboration apps (Microsoft Teams, Jira, Miro) to wrap your head around. While many are enjoying the newfound flexibility that comes with remote work, the technology change has been huge. Many employers have had to implement new policies and procedures that support these changes. For example, establishing remote working protocol, implementing additional IT requirements, and providing COVID-19 leave concessions. All of these changes impact us and our clients. The path to success will see many of us trying new things, listening to our clients, and sharing our learnings.