The business transformation checklist

Why process might be holding your business back.

In an earlier blog, we discussed our approach to Agile and the importance of creating user stories to deliver change. Now we’d like to expand on that, by looking at some of the practical steps you can take to move from strategy to implementing change in your business.

Step one – How well do you really know your business?

In the world of business consultancy, we use the acronym ‘BOM’ to describe the way in which businesses currently operate. Your ‘business operating model’ defines every aspect of your business, from the boardroom to the shop floor.

And yet, chances are, this model has evolved organically, without ever being formally planned or committed to paper – and this has to change if you are serious about reinventing your organisation.

Step two – What do your foundations look like?

It may be necessary for you to put together a quick plan to document your current business operating model, if you haven’t already done so. Yes, the process is back to front, but it needn’t take long – a couple of workshops, a good template, and a couple of weeks’ planning should do the trick. You need to be clear about what you want to change before the process can begin.

Step three – How will your business operate differently in the future?

The future state of your business is often referred to as the ‘TOM’, your ‘target operating model’. This is your new strategic direction – the ‘new you’ – and it needs to be carefully planned and executed, with the full support of your key decision-makers and the top brass.

The success of your change strategy depends on a clean transition from your current state (BOM) to your desired state (TOM).

Step four – Appoint a change leader

Now you have your transformation plan set up, the key is to make sure that governance and controls are in place so that decisions can be made quickly. This means appointing a member of your exec team as your change management champion, whose role will be to ensure a clear sense of purpose, identity, and responsibility throughout the entire organisation. This person will be the standard-bearer for what your business has the potential to become.

Step five – Get the transformation started

With a well-defined ‘BOM’ and ‘TOM’ under your belt, you’re ready to start on a transformation plan for each and every impacted area of your business, with cross-departmental issues being managed at programme level. At this stage in the process, we like to use a T-map (transformation map) to make sure your transformation journey takes you exactly where you want to go, and helps monitor the transformation as it begins to take shape.

If you have used a T-map, then it’s pretty clear by now what needs to change – so it’s time to start looking at the critical processes that will be affected.

Step six – Be clear on what is changing and why

Remember what we said earlier- about making sure your understand your existing business model before attempting to change it? The same thing applies to your existing processes – you need to understand these clearly before changes can be made.

We recommend you begin by agreeing on your most common business scenarios first, allowing you to establish a baseline for the processes you are looking to change.

This is the Smart Tips way – we look closely at your most likely business scenario first, before we extend our analysis to exceptions and less typical scenarios and processes. The Smart Tips concept of the ‘Sunshine Path’ is a valuable tool for achieving this, without getting side-tracked by exceptions.

Step seven – Smash your silos, make your changes!

Creating new processes should be an iterative process in which you fully understand the end-to-end Sunshine Path before adding exceptions.

Defining these processes will enable you to communicate a singular vision that is adopted and accepted across all departments. It will enable you to smash the silos in your organisation, embedding your changes, and re-opening channels of thought and communication.

Step eight – everyone on board?

So you’ve made the transition to your new operating model…but did you stop at any point to think how the changes were affecting your staff? Moving from a familiar environment into unknown waters can be scary; people don’t always understand the value of doing things differently and they might even be worried about losing their jobs.

Good leadership and communication makes all the difference, helping your staff to understand and embrace the changes, keeping morale and productivity high and upheaval and uncertainty low. Make change a good thing – and help your staff to see it that way!

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