Tommy Linstroth is founder and CEO of Green tiea leading SaaS provider that simplifies sustainability and ESG in the construction industry.
The ability to quickly reimagine how we get things done is perhaps one of the most important strengths of tomorrow’s successful businesses. And shedding our natural reluctance to change could be one of the greatest benefits we will attribute to the past few years of global turmoil.
For centuries, the work process has changed constantly, often very slowly from generation to generation. However, new technologies, global competition and evolving customer requirements are all driving rapid, even radical, changes in today’s work environment. Not only are we dealing with micro-changes in the way we do our jobs on a daily basis, but society is also adapting its way of “thinking” about work, from test runs reduction of the typical work week to riots in France change of retirement age.
It is clear that the pandemic has been a huge driver of rapid change, including a moving to more remote and hybrid work, technological advancement with far-reaching consequences and more attention to well-being of the employee. But despite profound promises to make us more productive, more agile, more connected and even more fulfilled, innovations also bring new challenges in the workplace.
Managing change is quite difficult to predict, and change tends to cause disruptions before delivering results. By comparison, legacy systems and the status quo can feel safe– it is what we clearly see, what we know to be true. Unfortunately, this false sense of security can lead managers, companies, and even entire industries battling change, to struggle to attract and retain top talent and ultimately lose market share to more nimble competitors.
I think in this new working era we need to manage our time even more effectively, streamline important tasks and let go of outdated processes. Managers and leaders must find ways to break down traditional silos (both between employees and data systems) so teams can communicate across departments, share key analytics, and collaborate more effectively.
On the hunt for efficiency
Identify areas for improvement with questions like these to stay competitive.
1. How can teams be reorganized and what tools do they need to accelerate and simplify cross-departmental collaboration?
Here less is more. I’ve found that a simpler structure with fewer boundaries is often more agile and can promote better business decisions. Changes can also improve your customer’s experience and build loyalty. And well-connected teams are typically better suited to address increasingly complex business challenges, such as compliance, innovation, and resource management.
2. Can AI solve productivity bottlenecks?
Advances in machine learning and artificial intelligence can often automate tedious and repetitive tasks, improving efficiency. Areas such as customer service, data analytics and fraud detection are good examples of this. This can free up employees to focus on more strategic work with higher margins and profits. And it can help keep your staff more engaged and happy and less likely to leave for another opportunity.
3. Should we review our current project management process?
By redesigning current processes, teams can focus better and improve goal completion. For example, applying a new methodology such as agile, scrum, kanban or design thinking can improve collaboration, streamline workflows and improve productivity.
Useful advice for implementing changes in the workforce
If you have change in mind and are navigating this dynamic, here are some of my lessons from helping companies adopt new technology and update outdated processes.
1. Start by creating a compelling case for change. Build the necessary stakeholder buy-in and communicate effectively. Make sure everyone in the company understands the need for change and what the changes will mean for them.
2. Be transparent and willing to admit it openly unlearn the old process will take work, but smarter ways to get from point A to point B will pay off in the end.
3. Create a culture of change where employees are encouraged to break down silo walls and come up with new ideas. Be open to feedback and willing to change your mind. Involving your end users throughout the process, from evaluating options, mapping out the change and adapting on the fly, gives them ownership of the change and is more likely to support it.
4. Accept the risks. Change has downsides, but it is often necessary. Analyze often, learn from experience and revise quickly.
5. Start small and don’t underestimate the need for ongoing training and support.
6. Celebrate successes. If you make a change that works, be sure to celebrate. This can help build momentum and encourage others to embrace change.
7. Be patient and persistent. Change often takes time, but rewards follow.
Many will push back on change and point to obstacles such as tight regulations and compliance (such as in government and manufacturing), rapid turnover and tight margins (such as in food service), or long, complex project cycles with outdated technology (such as construction, where my company operates). is). But with greater demands on efficiency, increased reporting responsibility, increased competition to keep top talent engaged, and more scrutiny over metrics, I think it’s more important than ever for companies to adapt and be proactive to succeed.
There are significant risks involved in shaking up the status quo, and the headwinds are indeed real. Don’t forget that it’s also dangerous to evolve last.