2021: What comes after change?

John O'Neill

Towards the end of 2020 and into 2021, we’ve been helping a few of our clients work through changes in customer expectations post Covid-19. When the commercial environment lurches as far and as fast as it did in 2020, reacting to the change itself is only the first challenge organisations must meet. The next is to bed down in the new world – get used to it, adjust to it and keep doing things differently instead of defaulting to old ideas and ways of working. This is a challenge for consultancies, too – especially those like Komosion who implement as well as devise; build web solutions as well as customer experience improvement strategies. 

The fact is, most programs of change in (particularly large) organisations flounder or fail because implementation is underestimated, or tacked on at the end. In 2021, baking implementation of new strategies and systems can start from the first ideas meeting. Here are some of the ways Komosion has observed improve the chances of successful change:

  • Start creating change management artefacts from the beginning. Record verbatim quotes in ideas meetings. Take short videos of participant reactions, so those who have to change the way they work, but were not part of the decision-making process, can walk the path that led to the strategy.
  • Train, train and train again. It’s not a new idea, but it’s also impossible to underestimate how much support and learning people may need. Changing a company mindset to recognise customer experience as a more important revenue driver than price, for example, is not going to happen with an infographic and a webinar.
  • Give employees control. I have been looking into this over the break – what drives employee happiness at work. Control and autonomy are, as far as I can tell, the most important variables. Often big restructures/sales pressure/consultant-led organisational changes remove control, or turn jobs into monetary values only, which leads to employee disengagement, unhappiness and presenteeism. 

We say, give people goals as well as freedom to implement them however they want. Take any flexibility working from home has created and make it permanent. The more autonomy your workforce has, the more likely it is they will be ready to tackle 2021.