Managing Change

May 12, 2015

Posted by: Peter Marcum

Managing Change

I recently read an annual survey of corporate chief executives for 2014 from PwC which stated: “As CEOs plan their strategies to take advantage of transformational shifts they are also assessing their current capabilities – and finding that everything is fair game for reinvention.”  It made me feel good since everything at DevDigital has been changing rapidly, and for a while I thought maybe we were changing too fast. I then realized that actually, we weren’t changing fast enough.

This is why.

In 1990 Peter Drucker said, “In a matter of decades, society altogether rearranges itself – its worldview, its basic values, its social and political structures, its arts, its key institutions. Fifty years later a new world exists. And the people born into that world cannot even imagine the world in which their grandparents lived and into which their own parents were born. Our age is such a period of transformation.

Have you looked around lately?  Everything is changing and sadly we are still struggling to catch up with the future, which defines itself daily. How should managers alter their approaches to fit the times? Here are six aspects of running an enterprise that should now be front-and-center:

What information is really needed?  This is especially true for executives. The trouble is, even in a hyper-connected world where endless amounts of data are literally at our fingertips, many rely on the producers of the data – the bean counters, the sales force, and the IT department – to serve up the numbers they believe are most relevant. And these folks don’t necessarily have a clue. For example, a 2014 McKinsey & Co. survey found that fewer than 20% of IT professionals say they are effective at targeting where they can add the most value inside their organizations. Drucker once said “An adequate information system must lead executives to ask the right questions, not just feed them the information they expect. That presupposes first that executives know what information they need.”   Don’t just create technology in a silo, create technology that connects information and answers the right questions for you and for the customer.

Upgrade Human Capital. Human capital is the core of every organization. Some people grow while others stay stagnant. A growing business needs new ideas, new talent that still provides opportunity for those who created the old ideas, those who have old talent and those who don’t want to grow. This is the toughest job of any leader and manager. Growing the business while finding the balance between those who have been there since the beginning, but whose talent and value cannot keep up with the demands, and bringing in new talent and value that can propel the business forward. Every business leader faces this dilemma and it boils down to whether you are striving to serve the interest of the business, or simple the interest of a few individuals. The answer seems obvious but the execution can be very painful.  Someone once said “People don’t resist change they resist being changed,” and if any of you have experienced organizational change I feel sure you can relate to that statement.

Learning how to Manage Change

As DevDigital experiences rapid growth, change is inevitable. One of the many things I love about our business is the ability to learn about each client’s challenges and then study and create the innovative solutions to solve those challenges. Nothing could be more rewarding. Having done that for more than 800 clients over the last eight years we continue to experience an 84% referral rate in new business—with little, if any, formal marketing.

Over the last few years we’ve added new personnel with specialized skills and we’ve significantly increased our technical staff to accommodate the demand in programming. This has been both beneficial and painful at the same time. The benefits have been from profitable growth and recognition in our work. The pain has been in recognizing that the business is growing faster than some of our own people, which is a struggle for me personally.

This struggle has led me to aggressively study the subject of organizational change. The first two issues, Having the right Information and Upgrading Human Capital, have become paramount during our changes. I intend on sharing what I am learning with all of our clients, employees and friends, and hope you can relate to the same issues. Please feel free to share your own experiences as well.

Stay tuned for next month’s story on Managing Change.

*Image via Changemakers

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