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It’s time to start tailoring an approach to New Ways of Working

04th October 2020

Author Steve Ferguson

A five-step approach for sustained, successful change

Organisations are embracing change at an ever-increasing pace, exploring new ways to work to deliver better outcomes and to engage more deeply with employees and customers. In recent years the introduction of methodologies such as Agile have challenged how organisations deliver, creating an “arms race”, with seemingly every executive team rushing to Agile, which is often badly executed or met with poor results.

Whilst there are merits of adopting “Agile” as a mechanism to deliver change, along with other methodologies, these specific approaches alone are not the silver bullet for sustained change, and require a broader, more holistic approach for real success.

The events of 2020 have demonstrated this, forcing change not only on organisations and customers, but whole populations. Working from home, video meetings, and limited face-to-face team time have all challenged existing norms. The random water cooler chat with a colleague is now a rare thing, but at the same time we’ve proven we can work effectively in a remote way and serve our customers.

All of this means that the workforce rhythms as we know them, and the ways we engage and deliver, may have changed forever. But with this comes the opportunity to successfully evolve how we work and collaborate, build cultures and customer interactions, in the new normal.

Now, more than ever, is the time to tailor an introduction of New Ways of Working in your organisation.

Successful organisations embrace change at a leadership and cultural level, tying together culture, leadership and strategy as “the why”, and supporting this with clear prioritisation and methodologies in “the how”.

Too often, leadership teams rush to the latest methodology and are left with a smoking gun of failed promises and deliveries, without telling the story of why change is needed or showing how to make this change a reality, with the team onboard and part of the journey.

 

Experience shows that a deliberate five-step approach to New Ways of Working is a must for sustained, successful change:

1: Perform a Strategy Health Check: Assess your strategy and ask if it still relevant. Will it achieve your long-term goals? Is the financial and people capital available to enable your plan?

2: Get clear on the leadership premium required to effect change and instill the right leadership capability.

3: Build a culture of inclusiveness, transparency and empowerment.

4: Streamline governance and prioritisation to enable outcomes.

5: Introduce the right methodology or suite of methodologies to deliver outcomes. Introduce these in pilot form, test and learn, demonstrate success before wider implementation.

 

Each step is a critical enabler and ultimately can’t be skipped but can be introduced in unison with support of a dedicated team and engaged leadership.

The organisations that have successfully introduced New Ways of Working understand that, like a new pair of Levi’s, change is uncomfortable at first. But with a clear plan, starting small, maintaining internal profile and developing the change with ongoing practice in all five areas, stickability and acceptance occurs over time.

Setting up the change in a structured fashion lends credibility, as does regular, visible executive support which will embolden staff over time as success milestones are achieved. Being prepared to front the failures or missteps – and there will always be missteps – is also an important part of embedding and owning the change together.

International research shows that successfully introducing New Ways of Working takes, on average, 2.7 years of dedicated effort to embed. Moving to New Ways of Working is difficult but the benefits to staff and customers and the “health” of the organisation can be significant and are well worth the effort.

Charles Darwin said, “It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.”

2020 has demonstrated that even the best plans can be thrown into turmoil. Perhaps 2021 is the year to reimagine your organisation and embrace New Ways of Working.

 

Stay tuned for an upcoming webinar on this topic, where we will talk about what organisations should be thinking about when they plan for New Ways of Working. In this session we’ll share more detail on these five steps and how they can be practically adopted and implemented for sustained, successful change within your organisation.

 

Steve Ferguson is Davanti’s GM Consulting & Transformation.

Steve’s leadership style reflects his passion for people and performance and is driven by core beliefs that a strength of vision, empowered people and the creation of an energised team will always deliver great results.

Steve Ferguson