- Building a new model and realizing you don’t have the people capability to run it
Whenever I am working with a client, I am asking them to design for the aspirational model they need by a chosen timeframe (e.g. 12 months plus),” Brophy said. “This ensures they get out of the immediate challenges of today, but it also focuses attention on the fact that without significant investment in people – whether hiring new or developing existing staff – their aspiration will not become reality. Too many people are not thinking strategically about their workforce planning, which is leaving massive capability gaps especially in a labour constrained market.
- Initiating large-scale change when it isn’t warranted and/or failing to focus on continuous improvement to avoid periodic big-bangs
Organisations need to be continually ‘auditing’ how aligned or not the different parts of their business are to the strategy and iterating as you go. That way you avoid the massive change events (outside significant strategic re-direction) and ensure that you have a myriad of people across the organisation focused on optimising what they do day-to-day.
- Focusing on step one rather than the full transformation journey
Leaders need to think about the whole transformation journey, which could easily take 12 plus months, and all the elements outside structure that change the nature of how work is done, such as process, systems and capabilities, if they want their transformation to be successful. Announcing the new structure is only the first step if that is your ‘go to’ solution.
- Functional teams focusing on the outputs of their work, not the business outcomes
Functional teams are being asked to show greater value, do things more efficiently and, all going to plan, have time to strategically support their business leaders. The challenge for many is that, if they are just focusing on what is right for their outputs, then it might not actually be of value for their customers. In a recent HR project I had exposure to, the team swapped out their recruitment system and were stoked by the internal efficiencies it gave them. But there was no improvement to the ‘time to hire’ and people leader involvement from a business perspective. Was that really a successful change?
- Treating change as a cost out exercise and ignoring the impact on value creation/ destruction
It might serve an immediate need but too often I see businesses strip out costs, often through headcount, but fail to change the nature of the work needing to be done. As such, you either burn out those who remain and/or hire people back into the business within six months. Quarterly reporting drives a short-term focus, and this creates a challenge. Businesses should go back to designing for the aspiration, plan out all the required steps and show where the sustainable cost savings will come.
Read More:10 organisational change trends to watch out for