Success with Transformations During the Time of COVID-19
Change management processes have proven to be effective at a time even when so many have transitioned to remote working. It’s easy to assume that change processes require all participants to be in the same room, converse interactively, and collectively align around the objectives of the transformation. In our pre-COVID working lives that may have been the case, yet we’ve learned and experienced quite the opposite since March 2020 and have a few tips to share.
Let’s not kid ourselves; being in a room together is the optimal situation. Observing body-language, sensing engagement levels, and perceiving the degree to which people are ‘present’ are all key feedback indicators in transformations.
It’s true that brainstorming and holding workshops together in a physical room give us immediate insights into participation and engagement levels. Yet throughout the pandemic we discovered that leading transformations remotely and digitally has proven to work well.
The remote-work environment offered new ways to gauge the levels of commitment of team members, sharpened our focus, and gave us new techniques with which to implement transformation.
Getting motivated in a digital world
Team buy-in and commitment are essential ingredients to a successful transformation. Even when working remotely, the small actions required from the project meetings can help team members get moving. With each project meeting and with each small action undertaken, we steadily reached milestones, which in turn gave the teams a sense of accomplishment. Commitment grew and the speed picked up – a clear indicator that the commitment level was positive.
Today’s digital tools are exceptionally useful to facilitate focus, give transparency, monitor progress and keep momentum in the transformation. From project management tools, to instant messaging, to video, our worlds became digital. We were surprised at how effective we were with video conferencing; meetings seem to be much more focused, to the point, shorter and everyone was more prepared – compared to when sitting around a conference table together. We saved a lot of time and had more focus.
Successfully completed transformations during 2020-21 have convinced both us and our clients that transformations are effective while working remotely. All companies have remote data storage systems that are easy to log into – and with new video software products we can discuss and meet almost like we did before.
Work patterns have changed, and many new ways-of-working can be used to our advantage. They give people more room to get their tasks done, have a shorter tempo in tracking actions, ensure clear documentation and help continuously monitor engagement.
Practical take-aways from our last on-line transformation project:
We executed our transformation workstreams through video meetings in large and small groups. The following are key take-aways:
- Keep the meetings short – 45 minutes or less
- Have a clear, short agenda – better to have more short meetings than fewer longer ones
- Allow work to be done by individuals on their own schedule, yet agree on a clear due date
- Use the video software’s feature of ‘break-out sessions’ to give time to discuss in smaller groups
- Be disciplined about keeping notes, recording decision points and milestone progress
- All Hands meetings – use presentations and assign team members to present
- Most importantly, store your documents in an easy to find place on the intranet
Covid-19 is not a reason to delay a transformation. Change can happen remotely. Taking the decision to transform a company has proven time after time to be the most efficient way forward, putting established small and medium sized tech-companies back on a growth trajectory. COVID 19 has shown to be no excuse to hold back on such an important company project.