Everyone talks about transformation, but is it really transformation they are pursuing? Or could it be that it’s “just” change?
Don’t get us wrong, change is sometimes enough, but the problem is that change often isn’t enough, or the efforts put into change are not impactful enough and therefore don’t really change anything other than what’s on the surface. People fall back into old habits – as habits die hard – we all know that. A bit like how an ice cube can melt and change into water BUT it can also be put back into the freezer and return to being an ice cube.
Transformation, real transformation, is a marked, significant change, where the change is so thorough, so disruptive, so – well, yes, transforming – that it can’t go back to what it once was. Just like how a butterfly can’t transform back into a caterpillar. The change is complete and persistent.
Real transformation requires more than a well managed project (to change for example processes, digital tools or organisational structure), it requires a transformation of mindset, habits and culture.
And that transformation must be led from the top, where leaders themselves transform how they lead the organisation, how they behave, what they prioritise, what actions and behaviours they ignite in others.
Transformational change happens at a behavioural level. If the behaviours and habits within an organisation don’t change, nothing really changes.
Without it, it’s unlikely that transformation will happen and you end up with what we call Boomerang Change.
This is where people never fully get onboard with the change, stick to many of their old daily habits and the change efforts and investments never really pay off. It doesn’t matter how many great collaboration tools you implement to make a hybrid workplace function, if people don’t trust each other and want to work together, those tools will not give the desired effect or payback.
So, if you are serious about your business or digital transformation, take a moment to reflect on how you can bring all the pieces of real transformation together – the WHY, the WHAT and the HOW, keeping in mind that real transformation is more about people, mindsets and habits than processes, projects and tools.
It’s about connecting with people, with their hearts and minds. It requires vision that makes sense to people, and hope about what the transformation will bring and what role each person will play in that. It’s about bringing people with you on the journey, not just giving them a fait accompli about a change.
It’s about CHANGE LEADERSHIP not just change management.
Change leadership is about giving direction, setting the scene, giving the context, taking people on the journey with us. Management is different; it’s more of the execution – how we are moving in the right direction. It’s about keeping track, checking boxes, ensuring we are on the right route. We need both but in times of change, leadership comes first.
How could we start managing something that hasn’t been given enough direction? We might end up anywhere! And not necessarily where we wanted to be.
Think about how you can ensure real, well-invested transformational change. How you can best achieve sticky change.
- How will you behave?
- What will you create in others, how will you make them feel?
- How will you connect not just with people’s minds but also their hearts?
- How will you engage, communicate and collaborate with others?
And maybe Einstein said it best…
If we want real, sticky transformational change, we need to do things differently. We need to think differently about change and we need to think about the power of habits and behaviours. That’s where the rubber hits the road.