Any company in today’s market has to stay competitive and in order to do so you have to stay ahead of the curve on what the customer wants. Your “Business as Usual” is focused on getting the tasks at hand done through standardised working patterns aligned to different requirements, whereas transformation projects introduce change.
As consultants we see a common phenomenon in our clients, where the organisation moves from one transformation project to the next. The term TAU “transformation as usual” got developed and is shaping employees’ lives more and more. But how can TAU successfully be executed? A few things to keep in mind:
source : 4C Transformation As Usual Life cycle
1. Maintain the status quo in your TAU
It is important to understand that your current level of BAU performance must not be affected by a transformation project. If this does show up as a risk, it means that the transformation approach needs to be revised. The customers should only experience improvements through it. (most likely the key reason the programme was started in the first place) On the other hand we have the employees of the company. These will always be affected by a transformation programme as they are the ones who will take over the transformed BAU once the programme is over.
Read: ‘Transformation as usual’ is here to stay. In a business environment moving at breakneck speed, every company needs a change program operating at some level.
We noticed the common pattern that the bigger the company, the poorer the communication to the wider employee population. Humans tend to be creatures of habit and are reluctant to change. Being left out of communications and not feeling included makes the acceptance of change even harder. Imagine Donny being the COO of a major corporation who is managing a transformation project which will change the ways of working for Bob. Bob is a regional logistics manager and has been with the company for 10 years. Bob and Donny have never met or talked but suddenly Donny expects Bob to change his ways of working tomorrow by sending him one standardised email. How would Bob feel? Like he is not part of a community and reluctant to change something that has worked for him so far...? And why should he? Because of one email from Donny? Don’t be like Donny! Communication is key in any relationship, including your workplace and it does not matter how close or distant the work relationship is. If someone is affected by a project, lead them towards it slowly. Change is always difficult at work, but a company would not introduce change if it wasn’t for the better – or at least shouldn’t. Securing this message in a structured manner is essential for the project’s success. Let people know about the wider picture, why things are changing and why the old ways of working will not make the organisation a success in the future! In my experience, people are more likely to accept improvements if they can understand the rationale behind.
Read: The What and Why of Business Transformation in 2019 – Business transformation is about intent; identifying what needs to change and strategically updating from within in a focused way. ‘Why Business Transformation is Crucial’
3. Accept change
Looking at the scenario of Transformation as Usual, the line between handover and BAU starts being blurred. Colleagues need to expect that there is constant change going on in their standard ways of working and adapt to new procedures, guidelines and systems quickly. When a new policy is introduced, the 2.0 version of it is probably already in the making. For a company it is important to stay patient with their employees. Effective change does not happen overnight but is a gradual process that needs to be respected. When practising Transformation as Usual there needs to be a constant support for the employees to adapt to the new ways of working with an actual person to speak to rather than a faceless “do not respond to this automated email”. This leads back to the point of feeling like being part of a community.
To conclude, Transformation as Usual will be the way forward for a company to be successful and we will see it more and more in the future organisational landscape. A transformation should never endanger your current situation and unconsciously make it worse. To keep your people engaged make sure to build a strategic communication plan for each project so they are not overwhelmed by several different projects running in parallel. Guarantee that the message gives something back to them and change is good! Here at 4C, we have an excellent track record of managing transformation projects and introducing change. We can help you to make this transition happening as a positive experience for everyone involved and keep your TAU on track.